How I started
I learned about Second Life in 2006 with the Webheads, a global language teachers’ community, and started visiting out of curiosity. It was in 2007 when I was invited by Languagelab to teach Spanish in SL. Since I had never taught in this environment, I was hired because of my experience teaching elsewhere online. I had to learn all the ins and outs with friends and on my own, using video tutorials. Once I started teaching, I was hooked on all the possibilities this platform offers. Since then I have been teaching different levels of Spanish and English. I have also trained fellow teachers how to use SL for language teaching.
Why learn language in SL
Second Life is a free, online platform where users interact with each other, the environment and objects. Students can live any real-life setting which cannot be done in a classroom or another online environment. Students feel sheltered because they move and talk through their avatar and they may well be more confident speaking the target language, with less fear of making ‘mistakes’, than in a physical classroom. SL is full of free and paid educational resources and teachers can also build their own. Teachers are able to use not only the learning features provided by SL, they can also apply other online resources such as videos, recordings, documents.
The student experience
“It was very interactive and the topics of each conversation were relevant to what’s happening in our world right now.”
“I wasn’t looking forward to it but I actually enjoyed it.”
“My experiences positive because I did not feel at all nervous if I said the wrong thing and felt that it was a simple and easy way to learn and speak Spanish.”
“It was a relaxing environment.”
“It is better then sitting in a classroom”
“I enjoyed the sessions because it was a nice and simple way to have conversations with a native speaker from another country and I liked the fact that we were able to speak through avatars.”