Monday, May 17, 2010

Teen Second Life - My Thoughts...For Now

After viewing "Education in Second Life: Explore the Possibilities" (2007), I began to consider taking my students on virtual field trips or performing Romeo and Juliet with avatars.  I thought about creating a virtual classroom where my students could visit and share resources.  I considered the collaboration with people from around the world.  Then, I was grounded by the reality of introducing a new social networking medium to my students. 

If I were to use Second Life with my ninth and tenth grade students, I would use Teen Second Second Life. My teenage students would be able to register for accounts, and I could apply for an adult teacher account.  Teen Second Life has added safety features which are unavailable in traditional Second Life.  According to "For Parents" (n.d.), "Teen Second Life will always be staffed with Liaison coverage during open hours" (para. 3).  I also discovered the "Teen Second Life Community Standards" (n.d.), which outline an acceptable use policy and discipline plan (para. 14).  It seems that Teen Second Life contains "the norms" of online safety features.  However, it is still possible for an online predator to simply lie about his or her age. 

Despite their good intentions, I am unable to completely trust Teen Second Life's ability to control all aspects of their virtual world.  I regularly use free online social media in my classroom, any of which could lead to a potential online safety issue.  However, none of the sites I use have a next step program that includes a vice-filled adult world.  As simply stated by Kristin Kalning (2007), Second Life is a place to "Buy stuff. Sell stuff. Gamble. Listen to music. Buy property. Flirt. Play games. Watch movies. Have sex." (para. 2).  I teach my students to be responsible; I would be a hypocrite if I introduced them to an online world that exposed them to these types of temptations.          

Even though Teen Second Life provides a more secure world than Second Life, it seems as if it is designed to build create a captive audience who will eventually graduate to Second Life.  Second Life seems more like a business than an educational technology tool.     

Education in Second Life: Explore the Possibilities . (2007, May 29). YouTube . Retrieved May 14, 2010, from
Information for Parents. (n.d.). Teen Second Life. Retrieved May 14, 2010, from
Kalning, K. (2007, March 12). If Second Life isn't a game, what is it?. MSNBC. Retrieved May 14, 2010, from
Teen Second Life Community Standards . (n.d.). Teen Second Life . Retrieved May 14, 2010, from

No comments: