Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Barriers Be Gone: NMC and the Andragogue

I not only have my hesitant moments in SL because I'm just an insecure avatar (Can you say, late blooming Digital Immigrant?). And last week I got to teach in Second Life as part of a course I'm taking called Teaching in Second Life.. Because we weren't able to use voice, I also compressed my text-delivered remarks about the slide show I was giving. Then I froze up. I mean I just couldn't get my avatar to move and other avatars did not appear to be able to move either. So I quit Second Life and re-entered. My co-presenters were admirabley proceeding with our intended lesson. Then I froze up again and had to leave. And return again.

Even though I know the Second Life environment is not always stable, I was disappointed. I mentally started re-visiting Patricia Cross' and others' writings on the adult learning barrier literature--institutional barriers (SL?), situational barriers (like adult lack of time or money, babysitter, car, headset, microphone...), dispositional (lack of confidence), and epistomological (real or learner-perception about the difficulty of a subject--does that include navigating in SL?).

Only a few days before, my friend and colleague Phyllis had sent me the link to New Media Consortium's response to (adult) educators' experiences with SL Orientation Island--Interaction with avatars who were less than appropriate and confusion.


I am happy to see a proposed solution for reducing barriers for entry and comfort level w/ Second Life. Comfort level and enough practionar knowledge to know how to prepare for a Plan B (if the grid gets wonky, for example) will add to how educators use and identify the value of the virtual environment.

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