On Sunday 3oth November on EduNation ll in Second Life Nik Peachey interviewed Kyle Mawer from the British Council to find out about the work he has been doing in the Second Life Teen Grid. http://secondlife4teens.wikispaces.com/
Kyle talked about the about the new British Council island in the main grid and how it is replicating many of the quests from Teen Grid to give teachers and opportunity of visiting, seeing how it works and planning sessions without having to get into Teen Grid, which is almost impossible. The island should be open in February and may give an opportunity for more people to be involved in the creation of quests and resources without having to jump through the hoops needed to get access to the Teen Grid. I am looking forward to visiting that!
Kyle talked about the use of games to inspire the generation of young people who have grown up as gamers. Most of the work for the pupils is in the form of quests where young people have to listen to a story, follow clues and solve problems. Comic strip pages are used to give instructions, and pupils can often write the answers, thus giving opportunities to listen, write, read and speak in English. The main idea is to build an English speaking community to talk to and support each other whilst learning the language. Apparently young people enjoy the quests so much one has done one of the quests twenty-five times.
Kyle was asked how long it takes to build a quest, the answer is it is never ending, There are always more levels that can be added, things that can be changed to add interest etc. Robin Hood started out as a simple quest but has built and built. Sections such as the "odd one out" and "What needs doing" cover different aspects of language development, quests are either past, present or future - so they are all dealing with something different languagewise.
Kyle talked about how he uses games to inspire and gave us access to his wiki: http://kylemawer.wikispaces.com.
It was interesting that even though students want access to the main grid http://arwynquandry.wordpress.com/2008/11/28/notes-for-a-new-grid-pt-2/ . Kyle did not like the idea and prefers it as it is. I would like to see the grids merged but can see all sort of problems that are likely to prevent it from happening any time soon. The feeling from several in the room is that education not censorship is the way to go, that would be my view! Kyle talked about the challenges of keeping the Teen Grid safe with appropriate content, the teens do not help in that respect, having fun, as teens can do, creating and planting naughty bits around the island – they would not appear to need much help from adults at all :-) He still felt that they would encounter too many inappropriate places and content in the main grid.
This was a very interesting session, I have been to several now about Teen Grid and begin to build quite a reasonable picture of the place I am not allowed!
An unworthy adult :-)