There are some amazing resources emerging regarding the use of Second Life for Language Learning. There are in world virtual schools dedicated to a range of languages, most notably English, Spanish and French. There are also groups which are dedicated to language learning.
- EDUNATION – This is the island set up by the Consultants-e. It’s a great place and there is a lot going on.
- CALICO – This is a Ning Social network for the CALICO/EUROCALL groups’ Virtual Worlds Special Interest Group
- AVALON – A group funded by the Lifelong Learning Program. There are some great events and discussions here.
To name just a few. If you are not already in Second Life then I would recommend that you go in and have a look for yourself. Flying around in the virtual world can be quite demanding on your computer if you don’t have a good graphics card, but I would recommend it nonetheless. It might be some time before the computer labs in schools catch up enough to fully support entire classes using SL, but to be honest that’s not how I see it going. For example, I went in last night and found an island where Japanese people hang out. I went up to a couple of guys and introduced myself, then tried as hard as I could to follow the conversation and join in using VOIP. This is a great way to practice authentic communication with real speakers. The value of this is particularly apparent if you are learning a language in a Foreign Language context (ie. there aren’t many speakers of the target language in your country).
Has anyone else had any experiences in Second Life? How did you feel when you were in there? Can you recommend any good places or groups?
For anyone interested my Avatar’s name is Richard Spiritor.