A few posts ago I noted that Clutha will now be recognised as NZ’s first fully virtual school, after a consortium of southern secondary schools and polytechnics, led by Catlins Area School at Owaka, was one of five applicants chosen to open trades academies in 2011. I thought it worth another blog post to recognise the establishment of what is claimed to be Australasia’s first “complete” virtual school, New Zealand Virtual School, due open in 2011 and cater for Year 9 to 13 children and adults from across the country and around the world.
Today’s post on the Second Life Education New Zealand (SLENZ) blog provides useful background to this exciting new initiative which will almost certainly become something of a poster-child for developments in virtual schooling and for major initiatives like the KAREN network which will make participation in second life virtual worlds more tolerable.
One observation I have to make, however, is the depiction of what this virtual classroom will look like in Second Life. While the concept of virtual education, with its promise of anywhere, any-time and any-device participation excites me greatly, I can’t help but be bemused by the fact that the ‘virtual classroom’ is depticted as looking like the same sort of classroom I sat in through school – chairs facing the front, desks in rows and shelves of text books in the background – and presumably teacher located at the front – all suggestive of the sort of didactic, teacher-centric pedagogy that we keep being told we should be moving away from.
Tell me I’m missing something here?