This is terrific. Steve Thompson at the University of Teeside helped the residents of a small village called Skinningrove with their ongoing campaign to get an old jetty rebuilt by getting the children at a local secondary school to construct a prototype in Second Life. And they all made a film about the opening of the virtual jetty in Second Life, complete with specially written songs sung by the children of the village primary school:
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Teachers TV did a 20 minute piece about the project too, largely focused on the work of the secondary school kids - photographing the old jetty from all angles, learning how to use Second Life, working together designing and constructing the model of the proposed new jetty in Second Life - available at Steve Thompson's blog.
Now I've long been a skeptic about all the hype surrounding Second Life and education. I think the really valuable ed tech stuff is happening elsewhere and all around us. But this is a great example of how virtual worlds, with a bit of thought and effort, can be used in practical ways in education, rather than assuming - like that old chestnut about 'a computer in every classroom' - that it will somehow work miracles just by being there. Modern technology in education, in this case, facilitating community service, photography, observation, analysis, design, development, ICT, engineering, decision making, cooperation - engaging a variety of practical skills and cognitive processes. Great stuff!
Thanks to my colleague Steve Walker for the link.