When you think of school, you may think of students sitting in rows of desks in a classroom while a teacher lectures up front. But, what if you could go to class in your pajamas while lying on your couch? Dr. Michael DeMers is a geography professor at New Mexico State University. While he does teach in a traditional classroom, he also invites his students to join him in an online virtual world called Second Life. At least once a week, their avatars (digital versions of people) head to an island in this virtual terrain to review class notes. Host Scott Simon's avatar paid a visit to this online virtual island to meet with Dr. DeMers, our Second Life guide. While there, Scott asked for a cup of coffee, but what he opened was a can of worms instead:
Produced by Jason Sparks,Thomas Pierce, Sarah Beyer Kelly Weekend Edition
All of this may sound fun, but does it benefit students academically? You can hear Dr. DeMers' answer to this and other questions on Weekend Edition this Saturday, but what do you think? Is this a waste of time or do you think it really works?
Photo by Jason Sparks/NPR Weekend Edition
Host Liane Hansen's avatar strikes a pose on the island.
If you'd like to create your own avatar, go to Secondlife. Follow the steps listed to create an account, download the program, and you'll have an avatar you can customize. Change its hair, body shape, whatever you'd like! And keep in mind...it doesn't have to look like you. Oh, and if you'd like to be friends with Scott, here's his avatar's name: ScottSimon Hansome and here's Liane's: LianeHansen Zeplin