Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
Second Life is a fun way for colleges to engage, connect, and keep costs down – and that’s good news for everyone! It’s no wonder that it is quickly becoming the go-to platform for colleges to reach out to the higher ed community.
From interacting with the world or just a select few, Second Life lets colleges choose who has access to what, which makes seminars and classes possible — and stops griefers (a term to describe attention-seeking, and unwelcome, SL users).
Colleges are incorporating elements of campus life into Second Life. The University of Kentucky isn’t the only college to embrace the possibilities of Second Life. For example, The University of North Carolina Pembroke has over 50 different Second Life locations that range from a wheat field to an art gallery in addition to the usual computer labs and classrooms.
The University of California Irvine has created a virtual library on Anteater Island, which faculty and students have integrated into University of California Irvine college classes, like Reasoning and Modeling with Graphical Models and Computer Games as Art, Culture and Technology.
Sometimes higher education takes Second Life construction beyond anything you would find on campus! You can view the beauty of the Sistine Chapel without ever leaving home – if you head to the Sistine Chapel on Vassar Island. Indiana University, and the IU-based Synthetic Worlds Initiative, has created a slew of virtual reality worlds, from Shakespearean Arden and the Victorian-era LondownTown, to Greenland, which investigates trade and diplomacy in the Stone Age, and United Islands, a more modern look at government.
Unusual or everyday, the main point of higher education on Second Life is to enhance learning. As the University of Oregon (and its partners) know, learning languages can be rough, especially with a tonal language like Chinese. So – they created MyChina Life, a Second Life world to help students study the Chinese language by actually interacting with Chinese speakers!
Second Life is becoming almost indispensable to Health related industries. In a very real, as it happens kind of way, the platform provides a way to test trainees on reaction and knowledge. The University of Kansas Medical Center’s uses Second Life simulations for its Nurse Anesthesia Education Program.
The University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health created a program to test public health officials at their ability to handle various disasters (think small pox or anthrax). Idaho State University uses SL for its bioterrorism awareness and preparedness program – testing response reactions to man-made or nature related crises.
Want more? The University of Texas purchased over 50 Second Life regions in 2009 for a campus-wide (and beyond) level of learning and sharing – and to help the university “go green.” Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Buena Vista University, and Montana State University’s Creative Research Lab are a handful of other colleges that have become a part of Second Life! The State University of New York doesn’t have a campus wide presence just yet – but they do have plenty of sub-groups!
Colleges and universities are interested in spreading knowledge too – and host virtual events! Drexel University recently hosted the virtual symposium Education for Everyone. Emerson College provided a place on its island for the Floating 6 Event to take place, an event that encourages discussion regarding art and video games.
There are many ways that colleges and universities are using Second Life – it’s unbelievable! These are just a few examples – know of any others? Share your observations in the comments section below.
Ever heard of Second Life? The University of Kentucky College of Dentistry is on it — and, no, they aren’t racing around, giving Second Life avatars a dental check-up! Instead, tech savvy UK faculty and students teamed up with Texas A&M University’s Baylor College of Dentistry for the Dental Grand Rounds, the first educational Dentistry seminar using Second Life.
After purchasing their own island in Second Life back in 2007, the University of Kentucky got to work building out a virtual UK campus and scheduling events like “Primcutter: An Exhibition of Work.” new student events, even an interview combining real life and Second Life with anthropologist and author Tom Boellstorff – well, UK definitely seems on top of it!
My College Guide wanted to learn more — so we got in touch with the University of Kentucky’s Sandra Challman, the Manager of Information Technology and Dr Mark Thomas, Department of Oral Health Practice Chair and Division of Periodontology Chief to ask, “Why Second Life? Why not use a more traditional approach?”
Dr. Mark Thomas pointed out the more unique features of Second Life, “There is a sense of actually being there…in the form of your avatar (this so-called ‘physicality” mimics, to some extent, the real life situation). It facilitates interactions in ways that can be defined by the users (e.g. in our example, faculty communicated with voice via headsets, while residents/students used keyboards; this resulted in a more orderly and structured discussion.”
“We have a virtual “space” where we can set up and make educational resources available to students and others. All of this can be done from home (as was demonstrated at our Grand Rounds, as a severe snowstorm in Texas prevented some students from coming to school, but they were able to participate on computers from home).”
Ms. Challman shared that “use of the technology matches many dentistry teaching methodologies including peer learning, patient simulation and patient cased-based teaching.” It makes sense – and with college students having access to this technology now…well, it could only help them grow and adapt to technological changes in the years to come!
Bonus: Ms. Challman revealed that there are “several pilot ideas in the works, both in courses in our College and a few with other Dental Schools.” Sounds like UK students will have a lot of interesting – and fun — new options to choose from in the near future!
Second Life is used by many colleges and universities in a variety of ways – and next week we plan to tell you all about it! Subscribe to My College Guide via RSS or email so you don’t miss a minute of our college goodness!
Google Chrome: sleek, fast, and easy on the eyes, the Google Chrome browser is perfect for the Google lover — and the perfect tool for the college bound! While it may lack the pizzazz of the Firefox Browser (download themes to perk it up), it’s definitely minimalism at its best. Simplify and work smarter with our sweet list of must-have Google Chrome Extensions for college — and beyond!
Smooth Gestures — Using arrows to flip from page to page? Slow. Using only your mouse? Fast – and fun! Pictures display your customization so quit playing the guessing game. Brilliant!
Diigo Web Highlighter and Bookmark – Ever bookmark something for a specific reason and then have no idea why (or is that just me?). Highlight the important stuff so you can easily come back and find it. Bonus: add sticky notes to leave yourself reminders for next time!
Tab Jump — No muss, no fuss! There are a few tab extensions out there, but Tab Jump enables you to instantly see your open tabs. It’s subdivided tabs sort recently used and most used making it easy to, um, jump to whatever tab you need!
ChromeMilk — Love Remember the Milk? Access (and add to) your to-do list from the Google Chrome toolbar itself. While it might be a work in progress, for RTM lovers – it’s just awesome.
W.O.T. Some extensions are good no matter what browser they are on. Enter: Web of Trust. Internet addict? Then you, my friend, must install this Chrome extension. See what sites can be trusted – and what sites you need to avoid like the plague!
Shareaholic for Google Chrome – Use your time online wisely, you know, share stuff! Instead of jumping from page to page, make it easy on yourself, and get Shareaholic installed!
RemindMe: Set up multiple reminders on a sparkling clean interface – organize or delete as needed. Oh, and the alarm? It’s almost musical but will still make you jump out of your seat the first time you use it.
Google Dictionary – There are all sorts of complicated words out there just waiting to trip you up. Highlight and right click the mystery word and select the dictionary option. How easy is that?
Download – Download a lot? This one’s for you! Eliminate the extra “click” – this handy button makes it easy to get into your downloads and find what you need right from the Chrome Browser.
UnDoIt – Did you just close that tab you needed? D’oh! Reclaim that accidental closed page with the click of a button…instead of digging around in your history looking for the one without any extras.
Google Similar Pages – Make it easy on yourself. Discover Google’s idea of related pages with the click of a button. Beta or not, it’s a promising work in progress.
Copy without Formatting – Floating button = fun in our book, but if you find it distracting, you can get rid of it.
Okay, so, what did we miss? Are there any “can’t live without” Google Chrome Extensions that we missed? Let the world know in the comments section below.