Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2013 EDU: Mexican High School Conducts Class in Second Life

Mexican High School Conducts Class in Second Life
By David W. Deeds, Ph.D.
First Project
Click image to enlarge
Mexico City's Colegios Peterson (peterson.edu.mx), or Peterson Schools, are featuring a Second Life cybercampus as part of the Cuajimalpa campus' Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS) class. ITGS is an International Baccalaureate Organization (www.ibo.org) Humanities Group course, which studies the usage of computers in a social context.  It's more about the meatware than the hardware/software, in other words. Before the introduction of 3D virtual worlds, ITGS students would sit in a classroom and read books about being members of a global society. 
Now they actually ARE members of a global society! 
Group portrait 
Click image to enlarge
Conducting its ITGS class in Second Life is just a microcosmic example of Peterson Schools' overall plan to implement "21st century learning," which entails, among many other things, a student-centric approach to teaching. Sure, it's 2012, but in the average Mexican classroom it might as well be 1912. Teachers stand in front of students and lecture them, writing notes on a whiteboard. 
What Peterson wants to do is put learners in charge of their learning process, and the ITGS class is setting the example. ITGS students manage their own projects. They're responsible for following a strategy, such as the International Baccalaureate's Design Cycle (Investigate, Design, Plan, Create, Evaluate), in order to create their deliverables by the deadlines. 
So far Peterson's ITGS students have completed their first project, designing and building houses. Their current effort is to put on an art/music show. Some students have been tasked with developing the venue, others are producing the content, art (including photography) and music (maybe even a video). 

House example
The idea is to make this a cross-curricular project, involving other subjects and classes. Eventually this type of project will be extrapolated to include other schools in Mexico, then ultimately institutions around the world. The possibilities are...yes, virtually...endless. Making field trips to schools, hosting other learners, visiting the cybercampuses of universities the students might attend when they graduate...wow. The students love it...not all the teachers and administrators get it yet...but they will! 
There's been a lot of cybergriping lately about the demise of Second Life, mainly due to the expense, but maintaining a presence doesn't have to bankrupt your school! Colegios Peterson leases its cybercampus from the New Media Consortium (www.nmc.org), which has been doing a great job of keeping Second Life affordable to schools! Contact Carol  Pfeifer (carol@nmc.org) if you're interested.   
David W. Deeds, Ph.D.
Technology Integration Coordinator
Colegios Peterson, Huizachito 80B
Colonia Lomas de Vista Hermosa
Cuajimalpa, Mexico D.F., Mexico 05720 
Second Life, OpenSimulator: Deed Davids
Facebook & LinkedIn: David W. Deeds
Skype: davidwdeeds, Twitter: dwdeeds, Blog: www.indeeds.com

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