Whyville is great for the younger kids. It gives them the chance to get used to virtual worlds, in a safe teacher manageable environment and provides plenty of educational activities for students and teachers to engage in. Many of our 6th grade students took to it so much last school year, that they would log in from home when it wasn’t a homework assignment and meet up to work on different activities with their friends.
Quest Atlantis is another virtual world that offers students carefully scaffolded learning quests to embark on as they work their way through different teleport locations. I’ve done the required courses and am excited about taking a group in. We are hoping to begin with a class of teachers who we think will be inspired enough to build quests into their curriculum.
I came across Reaction Grid very recently and have only begun to investigate its potential for working with students, but there are already a lot of great destinations to visit. My impression from my very limited experience of it, is that many teachers at present are using it for learning about construction in virtual 3D worlds. I would love to hear from people who are using it successfully with their students.
Second Life (including the teen grid)! Wow comes to mind every time I think of it. I have been using Second Life on and off for the last 2 years, mostly as a way of learning how to get around on the grid, attending workshops and investigating what is available. I left it for about 6 months and when I returned Wow had become WOW!!! There are so many new places to discover, meet at and learn from. I tend to fixate on applications that wow me and Second Life has certainly stolen a large chunk of my attention lately.
Once hooked anew, I decided to continue with my previous quest of searching out destinations with field trip potential. I soon found that the grid had expanded to the point that I needed to begin cataloging in some shape or form the many destinations I came across. Enter wikispaces, my all time favourite for wikis. Its nice to know that whenever you need to bring content together in one place you can quickly create yourself a parking lot using a wiki.
My hope is that the wiki will become more than a parking lot however. I would like to see it grow, and am hoping that others interested in virtual worlds will help me with that. So far I have put everything together on this page, which is expanding so quickly, I might need to begin linking off of it soon, to new pages for housing content. If you are at all interested in virtual worlds in education and virtual field trips in Second Life, please take a look at the links I have gathered and request access to the wiki, so we can build the collection together.