SL Core Competencies

One of the things that has puzzled me for sometime is how people with little knowledge of SL can contemplate bringing students into SL and doing anything useful with them.  I found that it took me some time to ‘learn the world’ before I felt I was ready to start coping with helping others!  I wrote about this (and other early impressions of Second Life) in an invited paper for the Bulletin of Applied Computing and Information Technology (BACIT) last year.   So it always amazes me when someone posts a request for basic assistance on the SLED list,  for example how to open a box in SL, and yet believes that they will be able to function as a teacher in SL.  (I don’t mean that there is anything wrong with not knowing how to open a box or move an object around, we all have to learn these things, – only that you HAVE to know those things before you even think about teaching there!).

So when I came across the Second Life Core Competencies Framework being put together by Chris Eggplant over at EducationUK (RL Chris Swaine), I got quite excited and I have been using it as a an informal list of things that people need to know at different times.  The framework has three levels and is described in the document like this (for practitioner read educator, as that is the context):

  Education in Second Life requires the acquisition of three sets of skills:

  1. A set of core skills / competencies to become an effective SL resident.

  1. To be an effective learner requires the resident core skills, plus a further set of skills / competencies which would enable the use of tools and functionality to support their learning within Second Life.

  1. To become an effective practitioner requires both resident and learner core skills, plus a further set of skills to enable them to identify and setup tools, as well as using appropriate and pedagogically sound approaches to learning and teaching, which support the personalisation of learning. “

A group of interested educators who felt this was a worthwhile project have helped to create a list of the required skills which can be found here (I hope! You may need to register with the EducationUK site to access the pdf.)

I have found this to be a very useful list and I would love to hear what others think.  Unfortunately I can’t find any further work that has been done on this but I will keep looking.  It is a framework that I think we could usefully adopt in our BIG Second Life project that might happen next semester (if we are successful in getting our funding! more later!).

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5 responses to “SL Core Competencies

  1. You are so right!!!Thats why I plug Elluminate – because I am comfortable there. SL just freaks me out at the moment. I need to spend a heap more time before I can be an effective teacher there.

  2. arwennastardust

    Its one of the things I am really interested in – what do we need to know before we can be competent in bringing students into SL. Aside from all the pedagogical issues of course of teaching in a very different environment, what SL proficiencies do we need and how could we design special orientations to assist that. I guess one of my main interests is enabling other teachers to operate in SL. (I hadn’t thought of that before but I think its one of the things that fascinates me!) If you have any ideas on what might have helped you (or stil might help) I would love to know them.
    I’m playing with the idea of creating a list of things to give educators – and say “here is what you need to know – and here is how you go about finding out” Might that be useful?

  3. This sounds great Clare. I feel that some sort of program that guides us through some steps to improve competency in second life would be really useful. I have spent quite a bit of time exploring much of that time I feel has not been used productively. I still feel very new and lacking skill and knowledge, I think this is an issue. Busy people who have limited free time may not be willing to spend the time to gain the skills to be able to support others to use second life as a learning environment. So the potential of this amazing environment, which I am sure exists, may not be realised.
    I am truly impressed with your skill and artistic soul represented by the environment you have created.

  4. Pingback: The Grid Live » Second Life News for March 10, 2008

  5. arwennastardust

    Some good news of the SL Core Competencies project. I have been in contact with Chris Eggplant (RL Chris Swaine) from Education UK and the project is about to go to the next stage of building activities in support of the core competencies that have been identified so far. I am hoping to be able to contribute to the project as we will need to provide some form of introductory package for educators new to SL who either need or want to get up and running quickly. Of course there is no substitute for spending time in ‘learning the world’ – but I do think that a set of graded activities clearly designed to help with those core competencies would be very helpful to many ‘noobs’ rather than the rather ad hoc approach that currently faces them.

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