Parallel session 5: Negotiation; Second Life

by Paul Maharg on 24/01/2009

First session concerned negotiation.  Having arrived late (busy talking to others), I caught the idea that it was focused on negotiation practice and techniques as confidence building, and helping students to engage with each other on legal materials, and with those materials.  Helpful session that gave practical pointers to the session participants.  

Next up were Michael Bromby and Martin Jones, (Glasgow Caledonian U) on using Second Life (SL) in legal education.  Server lag, sleepy connection gave them problems in connecting, but this session was a very useful overview of the uses of SL for legal education.  They piloted a cut-down version of what Seattle Law School were doing, with an avatar called Fizzy Soderberg (see Elizabeth Townsend-Gard over at the Terra Nova blog).  So students were paired up, they registered their avatar, and played around on Orientation Island.  The university’s 'CU There' team helped the students, with SL software distributed on USB keys.  In week 2, Martin & Michael made themselves available to students; but students seemed to be OK.  In week 3, the students were given tasks: they had to find out how legal services were represented in SL, and talk to others with experience of legal services inworld. 

How did it go?  Students sent postcards as evidence that they’d completed the task, and by setting up subscriptions in Google reader Michael & Martin were able to receive evidence from the students, gathered in one location.  Students found that law offices were replicated in SL, eg.  There was acceptance of technology, though some reluctance, as the stats show.  Martin pointed out that there was an open-source version, called OpenSim – more on that in a future blog posting…  Any benefits for on campus students?  Martin mentioned having meetings with externals, and international negotiation competitions. 

Michael and Martin took us through some of the functionality of being in SL, and how it might be used educationally.  Good introductory session, but there’s so much that can be talked about as regards MUVEs and legal education.  For example, when I was at the Serious Games Institute a couple of weeks ago giving a presentation on SIMPLE, my presentation was streamed into SL, and avatars could interact with each other and with me – great example of f2f and DL interaction.  This is pretty ordinary stuff in the SL universe, and there is so much more happening in SL functionality for education.  The SL/RL list is full of it, plus SLED (SL Education list) and many more lists.  

 

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