Are you planning to teach in SL? Do you have the skills it takes to be able to do so?
Chris Collins or Fleep Tuque in SL, a very experienced SL educator, has shared her first draft of a teacher “self-assessment” quiz “to help faculty determine if they’re ready to bring students in world” and asked other SL educators for feedback. On the SLED list, she points out that: “It’s not meant to be an exhaustive test of competency… but more in the spirit of those “personality tests” that give you a sense of where you fall in a spectrum.”Chris says she used the Global Kids Second Life Curriculum (an excellent resource!) as a guide for this quiz.
In the the feedback received from the SLED list and Twitter, some asked questions like “does one really need to be able to manage land in order to be a good SL teacher” or “just because I don’t have anything in my picks tab does not mean I don’t know how to do that”.
But the most important question is does scoring well in this skill test mean that a teacher is pedagogically ready, too.? Skills are one “side of the coin” and are important but pedagogy is “the other side”. We can’t simply transfer face-to-face or even online teaching pedagogy to Second Life (or any other virtual environment for that matter). A question could for example be:
You want to introduce the topic of world religions to your students. Do you…
a) have the students sit in your virtual classroom and lecture about the topic?
b) invite an expert who gives a slide presentation?
c) have students find out about different religious themed places in SL, take snapshots, come back and report to the class?
d) have students do c) and meet SL residents who subscribe to different world religions, interview them and then, create an interactive exhibition?
Chris is revising the skills tests (and also looking for a new home for the quiz). I think the test is a brilliant idea which gives educators a quick overview of what SL skills they need and where they are standing. I hope she’ll add some pedagogical questions to it or even better device a separate quiz for that purpose. This might even be a collective SLED list educators’ effort.