Learning in a digital world
October 7th, 2006

“They may be college teachers and students, but they’re also pioneers — exploring strange new worlds that exist nowhere on Earth,”USA Today reports.”That’s because their classes and field trips take place only on computers, using an online digital world called Second Life.
Some 60 schools and universities have set up shop inside Second Life — most in the past year. They join a population that includes real-world business people, politicians, entertainers, and more than 800,000 other “residents” of the virtual world.For the first time this fall, a Harvard University class is meeting on its own “Berkman Island” within Second Life (SL). “Avatars,” visual images that represent the students and teachers, gather in an “outdoor” amphitheater, head inside a virtual replica of Harvard Law School’s Austin Hall, and travel to complete assignments all over the digital world. (If SL could be magically brought into the “real world,” it would cover about 85 square miles.)
Some 90 Harvard law and extension school students taking the course, called CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion, can receive real college credit. But anyone on Earth with a computer connection can also take the course for free. Students are participating from as far away as South Korea and China”.

At colleges, real learning in a virtual world

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