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 Teaching Languages in SL


Ohio University - COULD 2008


May, 10  2008


Second Life

Location: TELRport Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/TELRport/71/132/23/?title=Amphitheater%20on%20TELRport


Panelists in SL - Audience in Auditorium at the university








Panel organized by Christopher Hill


Summary of Research on SL for Language Learning




Presentation Proposal – COULD 2008


Title: The state of the virtual world: using Second Life for language teaching.


Second Life is an internet-based, multi-user virtual world. The Ohio State University is currently piloting a project to explore ways Second Life can be used in an instructional context. This panel of real people and Second Life avatars will discuss current research, and the methodologies and challenges for language teaching.


Second Life is an internet-based, multi-user virtual world. The Office of Technology Enhanced Learning and Research (TELR) at The Ohio State University is currently piloting a project aimed at exploring ways Second Life can be used in an instructional context. There are five participants in the pilot project, but I am the only participant with a focus on language learning, specifically English as a Second Language.

Synchronous computer mediated communication (CMC,) or text chat, has been studied in several contexts and has been found to have positive effects such as an increase in target language production which can result in improved oral fluency (Lee, 2005). 

Within Second Life, participants adopt the persona of an avatar which they direct around a virtual world. Avatars can communicate with each other by CMC or orally if both participants have microphones and speakers. The former is very much like synchronous CMC described above, while the latter is much closer to real face-to-face communication. Both techniques are currently being explored as vehicles for language instruction.

There are technical limitations in this software. Computers running Second Life need to have fast processors and use a lot of bandwidth, both of which may limit how widely this application can be used. But Second Life does present many interesting opportunities for language instruction which many be enhanced because physical limitations of the real world can be manipulated or eliminated.

This panel discussion will introduce Second Life, describe ways in which it is being used to teach languages, and highlight the pros and cons of this technology. The presentation format will be a panel of two real people and 2-3 people who will be present as Second Life avatars, if technologically possible.


Lee, Y. (2005). Implementing synchronous chat-based curriculum in an advanced-level ESL classroom. Thesis (Ph.D.)--North Carolina State University. http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/theses/available/etd-10262005-091645/unrestricted/etd.pdf.





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