Pretend classrooms: San Jose State opens active campus on Second Life

With the teacher heading right for him, walking between monochrome desk/blocks sitting atop a poorly textured floor, little Billy had to think fast about why he didn't have today's assignment: "Sorry teach, someone hacked my homework."

Silicon Valley's San Jose State University has opened a simulated campus 16 acres large in the virtual world of Second Life. Why? Some educators find that teaching in a virtual environment with avatars, so students can see one another, is more valuable than your average Internet teaching experience. Online schools, such as the University of Phoenix and UC Berkley, use fake business websites, web videos and podcasts to draw students in, but a virtual classroom would allow students more of a holistic social experience that would help them overcome real-world problems such as public speaking, San Jose educators say.

Will it be effective? Will students simply slip between the cracks into Second Life's seedy underbelly? Only time will tell.

Via Yahoo! News