Listened to a very interesting conversation between eyebeams (Leon Cych) (Learn4Life) and Peter Twining about the Schome Park Project. Wrote this response: (recorded here in case it doesn't work!)
Many thanks for this... seems like it has the potential for a safe experience of 'Lord of the Flies'! (sure that's not an original comment!)
I am interested in what this world has to offer for 'a problem which technology allows you to address' .. i.e. English speakers getting to know and feeling as if they have 'met' non-English speakers. Distance, timetable, cost constraints,legal requirements .. quite apart from not necessarily having a common purpose ... can make this difficult and you have helpfully picked out many elements which could help to address these e.g.
- use of avatars (overcomes the fear of approaching / talking?),
- collaboration on a project (goes beyond the first initial enquiries for info on personal life)
- independence from the teacher
However, I feel there would have to be a teacher imposed 'structure' initially to ensure maximum incluson and minimum drop-out .. not sure you'd approve of this!!! And there would have to be some guidance on content to ensure that learners had the minimum langauge needed to collaborate on whatever project was done. (No such thing as content-free language learning - we need to understand and use words! Process skills often depend on language skills. (Discuss!!))
I'd be interested in pursuing this with you - will visit site again!
aka Karelia Kondor in Second Life!