What a start to the semester! Before I even began any of our major projects, my computer crashed and was out of commission! However, I am back in action just in time for our second life meeting.
I have to admit, I am not the most computer savvy person and not only was I a little intimidated by the course, but experimenting with the "unknown". While viewing the "Project New Media Literacies" website, I was struck by their list of "skills" needed to engage in today's participatory culture. One of the skills listed was "play". This motivated me to make a connection between the students in my class and myself.
When given a "free choice journal", asked to explore a new website during learning centers, or generate their own discussions during literature circles, I often notice that my students are almost at a standstill when they are not given "specific directions" or asked to enter the "unknown". When signing up for Second Life, I felt the same way. I was intimated and nervous to break away from my structured universe. However, once I logged into Second Life I couldn't leave! Although I encountered some frustrations and road blocks, I kept challenging myself to overcome these difficulties.
I began to realize the importance of learning and gaining new knowledge through the process of "experimenting", learning from my mistakes, taking risks, and not being afraid to fail! This method of "play" takes problem-solving to a more advanced level of critical thinking. Being able to participate and function in a highly literate society entails that we not only instruct students to "consume" new media literacies, but promote them to take a chance and gain the courage to become "producers" of media. As the saying goes "Practice what you Preach", I firmly believe that this can only be accomplished when we too free ourselves and branch out into a "second life". See you all in the virtual "playground" tomorrow!
Erika Pavlecka 9/28/09