You'd think I'd have learned my lesson, having lost "everything" from hard drive failure 3 times previously (heck, I've been the one who has had to utter those dreadful words "you really should have had a backup" to many frantic teachers). Oh well...
I've tried Second Life this week, making an avatar and perusing the world. I must log on at the wrong time... it always looks like ghost towns wherever I go. I'm still failing to see the use of this technology. I've perused the resources on Second Life in education, but to me, it still seems like there is a lot of up front work for little reward. Don't get me wrong, there are some neat exhibits, such as the gigantic eyeball you can explore. But, the reality is the model is still a digital model and not the real thing.
More troubling to me is the sense that this is a fad; that membership in Second Life is tapering off and corporate use of it is diminishing. To a large extent, as the business world sees use for technology, that drives a lot of the need for it in public education. There are those tools that don't find as heavy usage in the business world which have withstood the test of time, such as document projectors or elementary photostudio programs, but they are dwarfed by technology that has been shelved (still have one of those laserdisc players and video-editing machines at the school I used to teach at). Tell me I'm wrong, but I see Second Life in this second category.
I'm going to predict that Second Life doesn't exist in 10 years. (Don't panic, Linden Labs... I'm not Nostradamus...) Now, who's to say it is isn't replace by a better virtual world? Perhaps there will be educational value in that. And it isn't to say that there aren't lessons in Second Life already created by some teachers that are great. What I am saying is that Second Life isn't a transformative force in education the way I see blogs and RSS aggregators are.
But this comes from someone who can't take off that annoying typing gesture his avatar makes everytime he chats with someone.