Atlanta–The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
introduced members to its Second Life virtual center for networking and
collaboration this week at the National Educational Computing Conference
(NECC) in Atlanta, Ga.

Second Life is a multi-user virtual environment with more than 7 million
registered residents. The free online program is fast becoming a digital
epicenter for education and learning. ISTE developed a Second Life center
last fall on EduIsland, an area of privately owned virtual "land" within the
popular digital world, along with 18 other educational organizations. An
overwhelmingly positive response from ISTE members encouraged ISTE to
purchase its own island this past spring.

Several of the events at NECC, held June 24 through June 27, took place
simultaneously on the ISTE Island in Second Life, allowing conference
attendees to speak in real time with colleagues around the world.

"We started with fewer than 20 founding members in the ISTE networking group
and now we have about 1,400," says Jennifer Ragan-Fore, ISTE¹s General
Membership Program Director. "Our members are all over the world, so they
don¹t get a chance to interact very much. This has been the closest
simulation to having real time, in-person interactions."

ISTE sponsors a Second Life networking group offering weekly networking
socials and topical events for members. ISTE also organizes a twice-monthly
speaker series in the online world to discuss breaking issues in educational
technologies. Learn more online at www.iste.org/secondlife/.

The ISTE Island features a staff of volunteer docents who introduce new
members to the program, and Second Life veterans presented a training
session on the Second Life project Monday, June 25, at NECC. The daylong
session trained ISTE members in the basics of Second Life and explored ways
the program can be integrated into traditional educational practices.

"There is a learning curve at the beginning and Second Life sometimes can be
a little overwhelming unless you have someone there who can give you some
tips," Ragan-Fore says.

ISTE is the premier membership association for educators and education
leaders engaged in improving teaching and learning by advancing the
effective use of technology in PK-12 and teacher education.

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