Yesterday, IBM Lotus blogger Alan Lepofsky mentioned an article on teaching in SL: "I Can’t Believe I Just Said That! Shamp Writer in Second Life."
It's a funny report on a NMI professors' first teaching experience in SL. Some quotes:
"But last Friday, I found myself saying things I never thought I would have to say.
“Please don’t sit on the fountain during class. Don’t forget that everyone needs to wear clothes the next time we meet. And, please, try and remember not to fly during class time.”
But the serious stuff is in this quote:
"Sure, Second Life is a little clugy and crazy. But providing a way for physically distant people to interact and experience things together in real time is an educator’s dream that had Socrates tossing in his sleep. SL is a place for minds. It is going to take a while to figure out how we should use it. Frankly, now virtual worlds seem like a powerful creative solution. We just need to find the right problems for virtual worlds to solve. Back in 1994 I felt the same way about the web. It is going to take a lot of patient experimentation to find the best way to harness its potential. And that is why the NMI is there!"
I would add to that: "a way for physically distant people to interact and experience things together in real time " is not only an educators' dream, but of many other people too, wether they are looking for conferencing means, ways of doing business or attending events. This 'togetherness' is indeed one of the true powers of virtual worlds. And yes, it is going to take a lot of patient experimentation to figure it all out. And that's probably going to be an interesting ride..