Ideas for “spaces” in Second Life

CQU has recently invested in an island in Second Life for the purposes of finding out how it might be used within learning and teaching. One of the problems we have to face is how and what spaces do we build on the island.

In this post I wonder if there are some lessons to be learned from the work that is being done to develop next generation learning spaces in the real world. In particular, I’m going to rely on a slide or two from a presentation given by Dr Phillip Long at a symposium at UQ last year.

The slides and (some of) the audio from the presentation can be found here. If there were time I’d be taking a more detailed look at this book on the topic from Educause.

Supporting families of pedagogies

Around about slide 150 of the presentation the suggestion is made that next generation learning spaces should be designed to support families of pedagogies. Then a list of 10 spaces are described. The list is

  1. Thinking/conceiving spaces (spaces for deliberating, brainstorming)
  2. Designing spaces (spaces for putting structure, order, and context to free-ranging ideas)
  3. Presenting spaces (spaces for showing things to a group)
  4. Collaborating spaces (spaces for enabling team activities)
  5. Debating or negotiating spaces (spaces for facilitating negotiations)
  6. Documenting spaces (spaces for describing and informing specific activities, objects, or other actions)
  7. Implementing/associating spaces (spaces for bringing together related things needed to accomplish as task or a goal)
  8. Practicing spaces (spaces for investigating specific disciplines)
  9. Sensing spaces (spaces for pervasively monitoring a location)
  10. Operating spaces (spaces for controlling systems, tools, and complex environments)

The list, at first blush, seems to offer a useful framework for thinking about types of spaces that might be usefully developed within a virtual environment. In particular, it identifies that there are many other types of spaces beyond the “presenting spaces” that many will tend towards.

A problem is that the audio of the presentation appears to give out long before these slides are covered which leads to the need for a bit of interpretation about exactly what some of these spaces may be like.

We have some folk here at CQU into the use of technology to enable group-based work including brainstorming etc. A couple of the spaces above could be well informed by that sort of work.

If this is going to prove useful at all, I believe we may need to find some examples in Second Life of spaces which fit into the different categories above.

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