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Language Learning and Community Building in Second Life

(VILLAGE is an acronym for Virtual Language Learning and Group Experience)








In recent years there has been a great deal of interest in the use of virtual worlds like Second Life  ( hereafter referred to as SL ) as a tool for synchronous communication.. It has opened up opportunities for interactive, immersive language learning through “new kinds of social encounters, new kinds of communities, and new kinds of learning environments''  (Kern, 2010,forthcoming). Indeed Second Life is “the third most popular social software application after YouTube and Facebook” (Gilly Salmon, 2010) and could be used to help improve our learners’ communication skills in the target language. Teachers in turn need to know enough about the technological options available and their suitability to support the authentic communication needs of their learners.

In this EVO session we hope to facilitate this process by helping them to develop basic SL skills which are appropriate for and relevant to teaching and learning foreign languages.We will introduce the participants to various language learning scenarios in SL. We will make them familiar with the affordances of SL such as cross cultural interactions using simulated real-life scenes and cities, recreations of historical buildings, and places which are suited for role play and scaffolded conversation practice.
Apart from exploring this virtual world, we will meet regularly in-world in round table expert discussions, invite SL experienced language teachers to relate their experience and reflect on these experiences in learning conversations in a relaxed atmosphere so as to  take part in the social side of Second Life.





We have identified the following objectives for the course:


  • to help the teacher learners to get to know each other

  • to help them to open a Second Life account and work on their appearance

  • to introduce basicprocedures in Second Life: e.g. sitting & standing; moving fromplace to place, turning round, flying  using voice etc.

  • to visit different spaces in Second Life to explore their potential for being used for language learning

  • to visit some spaces in Second Life where languages are taught to understand how  Second Life is being used or may be used for language learning  and teaching as well as to practice both informally and formally

  • to participate in and reflect on learning conversations with experienced educators in Second Life

  • participants to reflect on what has been experienced during the course and to share their ideas with others in the discussion forum

  • to facilitate formation of an active community of practice.




Target audience


The session is specifically aimed at newbies to virtual worlds. However, we expect participants to have some experience of using Web 2.0 tools in teaching and have access to a computer that is capable running Second Life (This can be checked here: System Requirements). Where possible we will be using voice, so a headset is required. It is also recommended that all participants use the new viewer. Experience of virtual worlds like Second Life is not a pre-requisite for joining this session. There will be ample help and practice offered on the skills necessary to participate in the SL activities of the course. However, those who have experience of using Second Life and virtual worlds in language teaching and learning are also welcome to join this session since we believe that participants can also draw on their experience of using Second Life.



Communication tools to be used


Besides Second Life, we will use the following Grouply for sharing information and facilitating interactions: http://village.grouply.com




Week by Week Outline





Week 1  January 10 - 16, 2011

This week we will be meeting each other and introducing ourselves. Participants will be encouraged to sign up for a basic account in Second Life using the website and provide us with their Second Life name. We will send them an invitation to join our Second Life group VILLAGE  . Then meeting in-world, we will help them change their avatar appearance, and use camera control. We will introduce them to ways of avatar movement (walking, running, flying, sitting, and teleporting), and ways to set up and use text and voice chat.

Second Life Tools and Resources


Week 2  January 17 - 23, 2011

This week we will help them to develop basic ‘navigational skills, e.g creating landmarks & teleporting to other places & map and mini map reading. They will also consider ways of ‘networking’ in SL

using the ‘add friends’ feature; filling in your user profile, and using the IM facility.Participants will try their first building skills, become familiar with the use of various teaching tools and Holodecks on offer.

Exploring Educational Spaces in Second Life


Week 3  January 24 - 30, 2011
This week we will take the participants to different educational spaces in Second Life so that they can form an understanding of the  SL environment. We will arrange meetings with experienced language educators teaching in these places. We shall focus 
 on exploring ‘learner friendly environments’ , and will concentrate  on places where English is taught.

Participants will continue to network for informal get togethers and invite experienced Second Lifers to join us for a learning conversation.

Simulated real-life scenes, role-playing and active communities in Second Life

Week 4  January 25 - February 6, 2011
This week we will focus on simulated real-life scenes, recreations of historical monuments, sites, real life places, and lively, active communities in Second Life.  

There will be opportunities for the participants to experience immersive environments and the challenges involved in learning a language in SL.

When meeting during ‘happy hour’, we will reflect on experiences made and talk about how active communities in Second Life may

be used for language learning. Again guest speakers will be invited

to share their valuable expertise.



Evaluation & wrap-up


Week 5   February 7 - 13, 2011
This is a time to get together, wrap-up and to sum-up the experiences. It is also a time to enjoy each other's company whilst preparing the party.  Participants will be asked to reflect on what they have experienced during the course and to share their ideas with everyone about good practice. People will also be encouraged

to continue learning and sharing through joining in-world groups.




















































Dr. Kalyan Chattopadhyay,  who holds Masters in English Literature, and TESOL and ICT (Leeds), is currently Assistant Professor in English in B.S.College, University of Calcutta. He is Vice-President IndiaCALL (www.indiacall.org), and Executive Committee member AsiaCALL (www.asiacall.org).

SL: Kalyan Horatio 


Dennis Newson M.A.(Cantab), P.D.E.S.L (Leeds) Taught EFL in Africa, Arabia, Norway and Germany in middle schools, secondary schools, teacher training colleges, a technical university and an arts university. He was consultant for short periods in Bosnia and Kosovo and conferences have taken him to Poland, Hungary, Las Palmas, Russia and England. He has developed his interest in SL since alleged retirement.

SL: Osnacantab Nesterov

Heike Philp, head of LANCELOT SchoolTM GmbH

and co-initiator of both EU funded LANCELOT and

AVALON projects. She looks back to more than 2 decades

of teaching experience, amongst others asa German teacher in Japan and England. 

SL: Gwen Gwasi


Maria Pinto is a Bachelor in Education with a major in English and an Educational Technology Specialist.

She is also a specialist in Usability and a web-based material designer. She worked as EFL/ESL professor in the area of ICT in the English language teaching (ELT) at the University of Carabobo. She is currently working as an eLearning facilitator and consultant in her hometown, Venezuela.

SL: Mary Rousell

N Aparicio holds a Bachelor degree in Education with a Major in teaching English as a foreign language. She is a professor at the Chair of Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages, teaching Applied Linguistics related courses.

Carol Rainbow B phil Ed (hons) has taught in theUK for many years but is now in service as an ICT Consultant for Oxfordshire LA working with teachers to make sure ICT plays a key role in enhancing pupil education in Oxfordshire schools. Her main interests currently are using Second Life as a teaching platform

and e-safety.

SL: Carolrb Roux


























































To join this group:


From January 3 to 9:


1.  Go to: http://village.grouply.com/ 


2. Click on the blue button in the right sidebar:   (this is just an image) 


3. Follow the instructions




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