At Harvard Law School in real life via the Berkman Center, there was an fascinating discussion tonight called "Legal education in a networked world." It was moderated by Charles Nesson. You could also watch a video cast on the web as well as in Second Life. So, I attended via Second Life where Rebecca Nesson was the in-world moderator and she was also at the real life event.
There were some technical issues, but that didn't prevent me from having an extremely engaging conversation in Second Life while listening to a fascinating panel on how technology should be integrated into the law curriculum and how professors can incorporate it effectively in their pedagogy to engage student learning. This was a rich conversation that raised wonderful questions and debate with different viewpoints -- digital natives and digital immigrants -- their learning styles and technology use patterns, etc. I can't begin to summarize the eloquent words that Nesson used to facilitate the conversation.
The session opened with a question on whether students should be allowed to use laptops in the class to take notes or not. Panelists expressed a range of views -- raised questions as to whether having the laptop was a distraction or barrier to learning or not. They also talked about what it is like for the professor not to have eye contact, questions about whether or not multi-tasking gets in the way of learning, etc. In Second Life, the chat was very rich and made us wonder how much the RL participants were missing.
It was also interesting that when they video projected the Second Life environment on the screen, all of us avatars got very tame ... no dancing, piano playing or flying. I wanted to bring out my grand piano, but there was a lot of lag in-world and then the system needed to be rebooted ... and that's when I missed a good portion of the discussion ...
Anyway, go listen to the video. I know it is about legal education - the debates and chat reminded me of the back channel discussion during the MacArthur Foundation Digital Learning and Media press event. This topic is being discussed in many other fields and very interesting ..