The topic of education in 3D virtual worlds has been haunting my mind ever since Prof. Olsen mentioned that the fellow from the New Hampshire state board of education asked if he were doing anything in 3D worlds. The field trips in Corey's "Exploring Middle Earth" in LOTRO are a great example of how virtual worlds can be used to teach a complex subject (to my thinking, the best example ever). That said, in the process of certification and accreditation, I expect that it will be important to know more about what educators are already doing in other 3D virtual worlds. The 600-pound gorilla of 3D virtual worlds, where all of the big boys hang out, is, of course, Second Life. When the folks from the state board of education think of 3D worlds, that's probably what they are thinking of. You'll want to be aware of the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education group in Second Life. They sponsor seminars and webcasts about education in virtual worlds. Sturgeon's Law certainly applies here, but in your travels, it's always wise to pay homage to local gods. At the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Gallery in Second Life Click on the image for a larger version. How to Create a Second Life Account I intend to present a lot more about education in 3D virtual worlds in this thread, but just in case that alone is enough to convince you that it's worth 15 minutes of your time to create a free account on Second Life, here's how: Go to http://www.secondlife.com/ Click on the "Sign Up" link in the upper right corner of the screen Create a free account. (All you need is a name for your character and a valid email address, and that address doesn't even require confirmation.) Pick a starting avatar. Download and install the SL client. (This goes quite quickly compared to LOTRO.) Sign on Work your way through the tutorial that teaches you the basics of avatar movement and such. When you get in-world, send an IM to me, Camden McAndrews, and I can help get other things going. I am logged on almost all the time, even though I'm likely not paying attention to my SL client at any given time. An IM ought to wait for me to see it, but if I don't respond reasonably soon, you can assume that I overlooked the incoming message. As with LOTRO, it is far too easy to lose an overlooked IM. Afterthought Yesterday afternoon, we took a tour of many of the educational places in Second Life; that's coming soon. During our tour, I kept thinking about what else was going on. I'm pretty much housebound in real life these days, and Crystal was quite busy having a baby, all while we were gadding about, visiting a dozen schools in Second Life. Besides the obvious advantage of facilities costs (a full region in SL costs $200/month), our ability to do educational things even in the face of real-life demands that would otherwise make it impossible is the strongest testimonial I can think of to the value of on-line education. Credit Crawl and Amusement The avatars you see in these pictures are me (Camden McAndrews in SL), Crystal (Crystal Edelmann in SL. the blonde), and Rainey (Faraine Rothyra in SL, the redhead). It was Rainey who inspired our little tour. She popped in, and over head was her group tag for "Texas Aggies." That was enough to remind me of all the educational activities that are going on SL, and to highlight the need to share this with you.