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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Technology for ESL

How to Use "Second Life" avatars in an ESL Classroom
By:Kristina Blasen

Second Life is an online virtual reality "world" with 3-D locations for learners to virtually explore. It has attracted ESL teachers, as well as ESL learners seeking to improve their English skills in an online environment. In Second Life, you create an avatar that can explore the virtual communities and interact with others via chat. There are locations specially designed for English-language learning (such as a house that labels all of the objects in English as your avatar interacts with them). ESL communities in Second Life also provide learning resources that can be downloaded and used to practice in the real world.

Visit the Second Life website http://secondlife.com and click the "Join Now" button. A basic Second Life account is free. The website will prompt you to create an avatar by choosing a first name and then choosing from a list of available last names. Pick a "Starting look" for your avatar, create a password and provide Second Life with your e-mail address. You will need to check your e-mail to activate the account by clicking on the link within the verification e-mail that is sent by Second Life.

Click on the "Download and Install Second Life" button to install the Second Life software. Click on the "Hand" icon to launch Second Life from your computer's desktop.

Search within the Second Life world for ESL communities to visit. You can also have students chat with people in the area to practice their English skills.

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