We had our neighbours round last night. Chris works for IBM and was telling me that he had just been at virtual conference with colleagues from around the world. He had used his own avatar and attended the conference in Second Life on an island which IBm had created.
Checking it our today I found a link which explained what IBM are doing.
It struck me that there is an opportunity here for an entrepreneurial person/business to create a second life environment to meet the needs of the growing number of children worldwide who are home educated. I’m not promoting this kind of education over face-to-face interaction but for some children it might enhance their educational experience?
In 2005 SEED and LTS held a conference to highlight the evaluation of the SchoolsOut Glasgow project (based on Ultralab’s Not.school.net) which attempted to addressed the needs of a group of young people whose learning had been significantly interrupted. It was a tiny sample but it had some interesting and positive outcomes for the individuals and families involved (see Edinburgh University’s evaluation).
Now this was nothing like a Second Life experience, but it was a relatively successful attempt using ICT to engage the disengaged, for whom face-to-face interaction with teachers had become the problem. Linking with an online community could well be an enormous support to those young people for whom life within the school environment has become intolerable.