Dear Gilli and all,
Thank you for this space where to share ideas on how to make good use of SL as teachers for our students. I am an EFL teacher in Argentina, a member of "Webheads in Action", the online community of practice devoted to the integration of CMC tools for language learning, and even though I am a true advocate of technology and a "pioneer" in my area, where I coordinate the CALL SIG, having done many presentations locally and internationally, I still find SL a daunting place at times, so I can imagine how many other EFL teachers, who have never even tried blogs, wikis and podcasts may feel at the idea of participating in a SL session.
I agree with Bronwyn in that the role of the moderator is crucial, and that liveliness, multitasking, a keen perception of the people´s needs are all indispensable assets if the session is to be successful. Or else members will feel intimidated and will quit.
And I also believe that all online tasks we expose our students to should demand different skills --and cater for different skills!-- from all those other sources traditional education systems have exhausted, to offer and make the most of the rich 3D environments SL --and other Internet programs and apps offer. Again, the process will be slow, to ensure a sense of safety among users, who should find in SL a space where to develop and practice a second/foreign language with ease and confidence.
I am looking forward to reading about activities that engage learners in this phenomenal new environment, but I still believe there is a lot to come and a lot to struggle with before SL becomes a popular scenario for educational purposes.
Humbly and gratefully,