on 3d classes

Some weeks ago I was talking with Imparafacile Runo on the opportunity of bringing into SL learners of Italian who were already living in Italy. I found the idea an absurdity: they were already living in a 3D, interactive world, full of native speakers. A world that, let’s admit it, it’s much richer than Second Life.

He agreed on this point but pointed out that, for various reasons it’s very difficult for a teacher to bring students out of the classroom and into the real world: permission is to be asked well in advance and is not always granted, due to safety and organisation reasons.

Things are different when the school is small, may be in a small town or village, and – most important – when the management is cleaver enough to understand the importance of direct experience with the language in a real environment for the learners.

That’s the case of Edulingua, a small italian school in the Marche region.

I was talking with its director, Giorgio Massei (Giorgio Kuhn in SL), few weeks ago. Giorgio was one of the pioners in SL when he was teaching in the University of Michigan. Once he went back to Italiy he applied to real life what he learnt in SL.

In his scool students learn to go shopping in the italian town market of Castelraimondo, and when they want to learn vocabulary and expressions related to the house they visit a estate agency and then… a real house!

What an experience for these learners! the language becomes true, their interaction goes further than role play: it’s simulation. they do not ask question to each other pretending to be the seller/buyer: they ask question to a real estate agent, who will speak real, spontaneous italian. The vocabulary they will learn will not be associated to a 2d images on their book but to 3d objects, movements, emotions.

This is a dream for every language teacher, and for every language student. Yet, this way of teaching would not be possible in a large city like Rome or Florence: distances are greater and everything is more complicated. It’s possible in the small village of Castelraimondo, where you reach each destination in few minutes and where everybody knows everybody and the residents are somewhat actively involved in the life of this tiny, revolutionary school.



Filed under education, real life, Second Life, task based learning

3 responses to “on 3d classes

  1. Helen Myers /Karelia Kondor

    I agree .. it all depends on the context and your objectives.

    When I spent a year in Paris as a student, I did not find it easy to find native speakers who had the time and the patience to allow me to ‘practise’ on them much. (Or perhaps I am just a very boring person and they didn’t want to .. I don’t know and I’m not asking for judgements!!).

    In SL there is usually a ‘captive audience’ .. people who want to talk with others, people who are open and friendly, with time on their hands!

    I love the idea of ‘applying to RL what he had learnt in SL’!

    Pre-SL, I would go on holiday and try to speak Italian with native speakers, but the opportunities for conversation were limited.
    In-SL I can find loads of people who will let me practise my Italian on them and I can go on and on and on (as you know to your cost, Anna, o insegnante fantastica!)
    Post-SL, I have more confidence to enagage (and keep) people in conversation in RL.. and I have more to talk about, as they are always intrigued by my SL life (or pretend to be!)

    And, by the way, I can thoroughly recommend Imparare’s land .. lots of wonderful stimulus for conversation, education and fun. Of-course there are great opportunites for all these in RL too, but overall, I’d recommend: ‘go for both’.

  2. antonella

    People in RL usually have their.. lives. We dash from one point to the other and are lucky if we manage to spend enough time with friends and our beloved ones. Don’t ask them to try to understand a poor language learner, staggering with grammar and vocabulary. They don’t have time for it.

    In SL people are… a bit special, and most of them are there to enjoy themselves. They are courious of other people and have time to spend with them. That’s why it’s so easy to get to know people in SL (there are other reasons, but this is a comment, not a post 🙂

    In a small village/town, time has another dimension. People talk to each other in the streets and in bars, they are still courious toward “foregin people” since they do not meet many.

    The drawbacks? Be prepared to wait 1 hour before getting the first course of your lunch/dinner served 🙂 .

    But yes, for language learning, is much better than a big, well known and very touristic city.

  3. antonella

    tbe experience of a collegue teacher in the summer course we attended at Edulingua:

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