I haven't really discussed Second Life on this blog but Brian Mathew's post about Second Life on Friday over at The Ubiquitous Librarian got me thinking again about Second Life's application in information literacy and the role procedural literacy can play.
Brian raises the question about the role of reference and Second Life:
What's the role of the library here? I mean, if a professor asks for face-to-face classroom support we provide that. If they ask for web support via WebCT or via an online service like Horizon Wimba, we'd most likely provide that too. But what about Second Life? How many of us are ready to offer services there?I agree with Brian's statement that if we are here to provide assistance to class and curriculum, shouldn't we be prepared regardless of the medium. Much of the discussion I've heard from libraries and librarians in Second Life is along these lines. I understand the logic behind,"If classes and students are going to be there, shouldn't we be ready?"
What I'm interested in is not how the library has a presence (there are plenty of people doing that) I want to know how instruction and reference librarians can use procedural literacy to help teach information literacy in a virtual environment. Can we put our students in situations that allow them to apply information literacy in an authentic situation?
While the CSI: New York episode on Second Life may have critics, I respect the idea of using the virtual world to find clues and help solve the crime from the show. Second Life gives instruction librarians so many more tools to develop information literacy through the act of doing. Entire research problems, crime investigations, treasure hunts, or adventures could be created to allow students to practice information literacy skills.
Why couldn't students find and evaluate information wrapped up in a narrative of a virtual world?
This weekend, I am going back through some of the literature and articles on libraries and Second Life to see if there are examples of this type of application. If anyone knows of any, please let me know.