When I read in the New York Times about the survey that “Finds Teenagers Ignorant of Basic History and Literature Questions,” I couldn’t help but think what their knowledge would be like if they learned about those subjects while in an immersive environment. In January 2008, the Land of Lincoln island on Teen Second Life came into existence as a result of a vision from the Alliance Library System. Even though the title is about Lincoln, the focus is a bit broader, covering the 1850’s and 1860’s. Right now it is a wild west theme. Teens are designing structures such as a gold mine and bank, objects including horses and soon clothes from the time period. It’s not simply the fact that being in an immersive environment might make information stick, it’s because of the way knowledge can be shared and collaborations take place. Teens that build might rely on another teen to do the research, add the computer programming language to make the horse move, design a sign for the stable. All of those things engage the teens because they are working on this together-sharing their previously formed knowledge and learning new information as a result of working together.
Posted by Kelly Czarnecki