If you’re familiar with the general Montessori environment in child education, and you’ve been in Second Life for a while, you have to start seeing that your SL space might be ripe for Montessori design. Listen to a couple of descriptions of the method:
“. . . children direct their own learning, choosing among the sections of a well-structured and stocked classroom including Practical Life (fine and gross motor skill development), Sensorial (sensory and brain development), Language, Math, Geography, Science and Art.”
“Montessori is a highly hands-on approach to learning. It encourages children to develop their observation skills by doing many types of activities. These activities include use of the five senses, kinetic movement, spatial refinement, small and large motor skill coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction.”
“Montessori classrooms provide an atmosphere that is pleasant and attractive to allow children to learn at their own pace and interact with others in a natural and peaceful environment. In the ideal classroom, children would have unfettered access to the outdoors. . . .”
“. . . each activity is designed to focus on a single skill, concept, or exercise. . . .”
Generalities, to be sure, these concepts of the method, sound not only applicable to Second Life, but natural to it. It sounds very much like the activities and exhibits that schools have been creating all along, especially the ones related to science, where avatars are self-directed visitors, essentially playing with objects in a “well-structured and stocked classroom.”
The post title takes you to the Wikipedia entry. You can find other information about Montessori here: http://www.montessori.edu/
This gves me a lot to think about in designing an island that is structured and fully stocked with items of interest, in addition to whatever our faculty develop. Are you familiar with this method? Have you thought about whether it applies to adults in higher education? Are new avatars in SL like children in the sense of learning in a new environment?