Writing papers, preparing power point slides, giving presentations, working in small groups are all familiar to modern day students in Western educational settings. Students have routinely looked for information to meet these prescribed needs, built on textual and other two-dimensional media. Cheal exposes the ways that Second Life can be used as instructional technology by broadening the ways that students can learn:
Now in Second Life, students can create their own content graphically as well as textually…Simulations, role-playing, creations of educational materials, and testing dangerous situations safely are all possibilities (p.208)
Is such experience-based learning a new, emerging form of information? How might it affect information seeking behavior in Second Life?
Students do not need or like to use Second Life as lecture replacements. So all those auditoriums and classroom buildings may be misplaced effort. Slide shows and streaming video, although ingenious, are also not best when viewed from Second Life, since passive viewing is boring in a world that promises action. Students do like to use Second Life for fashioning personal avatars, for exploring new places, and for group events or activities. So educational examples of activities that correspond to those preferences would be to create avatars of historical figures and have a debate, or explore and interact with a three-dimensional setting of Dante’s Hell while reading the text, or have a class build an art museum around specific themes. The point is that virtual worlds facilitate experiential, active learning and that is what is needed from instructional technology now.” (Cheal, 2007, p. 209)