Education in Second Life

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Second Life is used as a platform for education by many institutions, such as colleges, universities, libraries and government entities.

Impact and current status[edit]

There are over one hundred regions used for educational purposes covering subjects such as chemistry[1] and English.[2][3] Instructors and researchers in Second Life favor it because it is more personal than traditional distance learning.[4] Research has uncovered development, teaching and/or learning activities which use Second Life in over 80 percent of UK universities.[5] As of 2008, at least 300 universities around the world teach courses or conduct research in SL.[6] New educational institutions have also emerged that operate exclusively within Second Life,[7] taking advantage of the platform to deliver content to a worldwide audience at low cost.[8]

Due to the announced closure of Teen Second Life in 2010-2011, many derivative OpenSimulator grids have been established for hosting educational projects.[citation needed]


Info Islands uses library programming sponsored by the Illinois' Alliance Library System and OPAL currently offered online to librarians and library users within Second Life. Another virtual continent called SciLands is devoted to science and technology education. While initially centered on the International Spaceflight Museum, it now hosts a number of organizations including NASA, NOAA, NIH, JPL, NPR, National Physical Laboratory, UK, and a host of other government agencies, universities, and museums. In December 2008, the United States Air Force launched MyBase, a Second Life island overseen by the Air Education and Training Command.[9]

Second Life's usefulness as a platform for pre-K–12 education is limited due to the age restrictions on the main grid and the difficulties of collaborating among various educational projects on the teen grid. New approaches to fostering collaboration on the teen grid, such as the Virtual World Campus, offer some hope of overcoming some of these obstacles. For now, however, the primary utility of Second Life for pre-K–12 education is in the education and professional development of teachers and school librarians. Still, K–12 educators use Second Life to meet each other and to create objects and structures that help them develop curriculum, as does with its Sustainability Energy Science Lab.[citation needed]

Educational disciplines[edit]


Ernst & Young made a $500,000 donation to the North Carolina State University Accounting Department to implement Second Life into the curriculum in 2009.[10] This funding was utilized by Frank A Buckless along with Mr. Scott Showalter and Dr. Kathy Krawczyk to create a virtual warehouse for their students to audit.[11][12] The data collected from this study showed that students improved “inventory observation knowledge, interviewing, audit documentation, critical thinking, and group work skills”.[13][14] This project follows incorporation of cost and financial accounting activities in virtual environments.[15]


Language learning is the most widespread type of education in virtual worlds,[16] with many universities, mainstream language institutes and private language schools using 3D virtual environments to support language learning.[citation needed]


Second life has been utilized in nursing education to provide meaningful care experience without risk to patients.[17]

Dr. Constance M. Johnson received a R21 award to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of using a virtual environment to provide self-management interventions to people with type 2 diabetes.[18]

Dr. Estelle Codier (University of Hawaii) received an National League for Nursing grant award to study learning outcomes for student nurses in Second Life. Her book, "Teaching Healthcare in Virtual Space: Best Practices for Educators in Multi-User Virtual Environments" provides an outline of the pedagogical basis for teaching in MUVE, as well as chapters on development of MUVE teaching skills and others on how to develop learning activities in Second Life. July, 2016.


Ban of educational institution[edit]

Woodbury University's virtual campus

Second Life has twice, in 2007 and 2010, banned a California educational institution, Woodbury University, from having a representation within Second Life. On 20 April 2010 four simulators belonging to the university were deleted and the accounts of several students and professors terminated, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Dr. Edward Clift, the dean of Woodbury University's School of Media, Culture and Design, stated that their campus "was a living, breathing campus in Second Life", that included educational spaces designed mostly by students, including a mock representation of the former Soviet Union and a replica of the Berlin Wall. As Dr. Clift told The Chronicle of Higher Education, the virtual campus did not "conform to what Linden Lab wanted a campus to be".[19][20][21] Linden Lab said their decision to ban Woodbury University in April 2010 was "based on historical and recent events that constitute a breach of the Second Life community standards and terms of service."[20]

The university has since moved to a separate, dedicated OpenSimulator grid.[citation needed]

Second Life Educators[edit]

Annabeth Robinson[edit]

Main Article: Annabeth Robinson

Annabeth Robinson is a Second Life performer and educator who lectures at Leeds College of Art.[22] She develops tools and techniques for improving virtual environment education including the widely used MetaLab Whiteboard. '[23]

Robin Winter[edit]

Robin Winter aka Shukran Fahid / Shukran Serendipity has worked with several organisations including Immersive Education and Imperial College to produce a number of training programmes for schools, universities, the NHS and the Ministry of Defense using both Second Life and Open Sim. Currently the CEO of Warm Winter Arts, he is bringing virtualisation into mobile applications and biological sciences.[citation needed]

Estelle Codier

Dr. Estelle Codier is an Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii who has supervised over 500 health care learning activities in Second Life. Her book, "Teaching Healthcare in Second Life: Best Practices for Educators in Multi User Virtual Environments" outlines a pedagogical basis for teaching in Second Life and provides guidelines for developing teaching skills and learning activities in MUVE. July, 2016


  1. ^ "Chemistry in Second Life". Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  2. ^ "A Real School in Second Life". Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  3. ^ "English Literature in Second Life". Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  4. ^ Lagorio, Christine (2007-01-07). "The Ultimate Distance Learning". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  5. ^ Kirriemuir, John (2007-05-05). "Snapshots of Second Life use in UK HE and FE". Eduserv Foundation. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  6. ^ Michels, Patrick (2008-02-16). "Universities Use Second Life to Teach Complex Concepts". Government Technology. Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  7. ^ Erard, Michael (2007-04-10). "A Boon to Second Life Language Schools". Education. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  8. ^ Cowan, Matt (2008-10-10). "The 'second wave' of Second Life". News. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  9. ^ "AETC opens virtual doors to MyBase". Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  10. ^ Staff (Feb 2, 2009). "Ernst & Young grants money to NCSU for Second Life". Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  11. ^ Khanna, Samiha (2016-02-09). "Research Spotlight: Virtual reality makes auditing come to life: Using Second Life in the classroom gives students hands-on experience.". American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  12. ^ Buckless, Frank; Krawczyk, Kathy; Showalter, Scott. (Mar 2012). "Accounting Education in the Second Life World". The CPA Journal: 65–71. Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  13. ^ Buckless, Frank A.; Krawczyk, Kathy; Showalter, D. Scott (2014). "Using Virtual Worlds to Simulate Real-World Audit Procedures". Issues in Accounting Education. 29 (3): 389–417. doi:10.2308/iace-50785. ISSN 0739-3172. 
  14. ^ Richard M.S. Wilson (29 April 2014). The Routledge Companion to Accounting Education. Routledge. pp. 273–. ISBN 978-1-134-51151-8. 
  15. ^ Frank Rennie; Tara Morrison (4 January 2013). E-Learning and Social Networking Handbook: Resources for Higher Education. Routledge. p. 118. ISBN 978-1-136-32018-7. 
  16. ^ "8D Taps Language Learners, Bots, Microtransactions". Virtual World News. 2009-05-29. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  17. ^ Tiffany, Jone; Hoglund, Barbara A. (2014). "Teaching/Learning in Second Life: Perspectives of Future Nurse-Educators". Clinical Simulation in Nursing. 10 (1): e19–e24. doi:10.1016/j.ecns.2013.06.006. ISSN 1876-1399. 
  18. ^ Vorderstrasse A, Shaw RJ, Blascovich J, Johnson CM (2014). "A theoretical framework for a virtual diabetes self-management community intervention". West J Nurs Res. 36 (9): 1222–37. doi:10.1177/0193945913518993. PMC 4296559Freely accessible. PMID 24451083. 
  19. ^ Andrea L. Foster (July 13, 2007). "The Death of a Virtual Campus". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 
  20. ^ a b Jeff Young (April 21, 2010). "Woodbury U. Banned From Second Life, Again". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 
  21. ^ Jeff Greer (April 22, 2010). "California College Loses Second Life for a Second Time". U.S. News & World Report. 
  22. ^ Hiles, J. "Blended Realities: A Virtual Tour of Education in Second Life" (PDF). Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  23. ^ Kemp, J. "Second Life Education Workshop 2007". Second Life Community Convention. CiteSeerX accessible. 

Codier, Estelle( 2016) Teaching Healthcare in Virtual Space: Best Practices for Educators in Multi-User Virtual Environments. University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu.ISBN 978-0-8248-5800-1

External links[edit]