Yesterday I went to the mystery destination that Dennis has provided a link to. Overall, it was a great experience for me because I'd been so frustrated in past visits to SL. For the first time in trying out SL, I felt more confident knowing that I had a supportive network of other learners in case I got completely confused! The instructions that Dennis provided were most helpful. I was especially happy to use the information in the sidebar of our wiki to learn how to see my own face!
Great location, Dennis! I had to ask for help to learn how to dance and then even though I clicked the green ball repeatedly I couldn't stop! Not that I don't enjoy dancing, but I thought I would try to teleport somewhere else and didn't want to arrive dancing! I also had to ask for help to find how to hear the music. Dennis has the answer in our tutorial, but I didn't see it until later. I found one person at the location quite helpful. The others seemed deep in their own conversations.
Reflecting on how SL could be used for teaching, personally, I'm not sure I'd ever use it because of the steep learning curve. However, the net generation seems to pick up how to use tools more quickly than I do, so, maybe, there is potential. Perhaps, just the online and offline (if you are in a f2f class) exchanges between L2 students about how to do things might provide good, motivational language exchanges. A concern I would have, however, is that the students might be exposed to unfriendly or inappropriate comments by other visitors to SL. I'm sure that there must be certain "user-friendly" type places. Anybody know of any "safe" environments?
I'm going to try to continue our tutorial. My ultimate goal is to pet the cat at our mystery location.