Q&A at CalState

Posted on 21 February, 2008

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In the early hours of Wednesday morning I attended a Q&A session at the invite of Penny Semrau from California State University, Los Angeles.  The hour long session on the ISTE Island in Second Life was attended by students from the Instructional Technology MA program, most of whom are K-12 teachers by day.  (As a side note it also marked the end of a very long day for me as earlier on I presented at the Journeys into Virtual Worlds conference in Norwich, about which I’ll blog very soon).

Screenshot from Q&A session

Penny had already circulated links to my recent Schome-related work in Second Life, so much of the conversation flowed from that.  The attendees were particularly keen to ask me about details on the teen grid itself, the Schome vision and community, and many issues relating to child protection and how we approached these with Schome and Second Life.  It’s always good to speak to enthusiastic individuals, so this was a lively and enjoyable session.

Musing over this Q&A, the aforementioned virtual worlds conference and a number of recent conversations with colleagues, it is the child protection issue that arises time and time again when talking about education and virtual worlds.  Quite rightly it is something that needs to be taken very seriously indeed.  However there is also a danger that the time, cost and level of concern becomes so prohibitive that we deprive youngsters of the experiences and benefits that virtual worlds can offer.  Education on how to stay safe online is ever more important, as I can imagine countless teen projects never moving beyond the conceptual phase if educators are facing the unenviable and certainly impractical task of ‘policing’ every single transaction that takes place in their virtual environments.

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Posted in: Education, MUVEs