Second Life" for Distance Education

October 11, 2006

Some 60 schools and universities have bought virtual “land” for campuses at www.SecondLife.com, a virtual world created entirely by its users. “Avatars” of a Harvard law class meet on a replica campus, and anyone with an internet connection can join them for free. Teachers of architecture bring their students to SecondLife to build things that would be too expensive to create in the real world. Unlike traditional online education, "Second Life gives us the capability to really have a classroom experience with the students." They can even pass each other private text messages. Real-world businesses are finding SecondLife a valuable experimental space to try out new business models. Several US government agencies have constructed simulations of tsunamis and bioterrorism. (See http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1005/p13s02-legn.html )