Language Learning and Teaching with the aid of Technology

Let's learn to do - Graduation ceremony of the students of the University of Washington

The graduation ceremony of the 3rd class of the Virtual Worlds certified course by the University of Washington on the UW Avalumni island in Second Life was indeed a special occasion on 10th of June 2011 not only for the 13 graduates from all over the world but also for myself, glued to the monitor at 3am in the morning.

The opening speech by Clark Aldrich, author of 5 books about 3D worlds (whose books apparently were read and commented on by Obama and even the Pope) and his comments on “in the past we learnt to be and learnt to know, now we need to learn to do” set the scene for the opening of the Mayan themed island which the students of this course created with a lot of passion.

Clark Aldrich

Clark Aldrich's books

Simulations and the Future of Learning
An Innovative (and Perhaps Revolutionary) Approach to e-Learning

Learning by Doing
A Comprehensive Guide to Simulations, Computer Games, and Pedagogy in e-Learning and Other Educational Experiences

Learning Online with Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds
Strategies for Online Instruction

The Complete Guide to Simulations and Serious Games
How the Most Valuable Content Will be Created in the Age Beyond Gutenberg to Google

Unschooling Rules
55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education


Then followed a heartwarming speech of appreciation by Stylianos and his honors to the instructors Randy Hinrich and others. It also bespoke the fun the students had in this course.

Stylianos Mystakides

Randy Hinrichs (Instructor)

Group photo

The beautifully decorated stage

And after the ceremony the best was yet to come!


We witnessed the opening of the Mayan Biothrope sim which the students built in many months of dedication for their student assignments. This island blew me away. A jewel in beauty filled with the visual representation of the gems of the Mayan culture, know-how on astrology, information about their medical, agricultural and fishing expertise. Filled with quests, learning games, simulations, pathways of learning mindboggling not only in quantity but also in highest academic achievements. Just thinking of the beautiful poem of the Mayan account of creation which was created by the Indiana Jones of virtual learning.


The island from the top

The horticultural medicine garden (I think)

Stylianos showing off as Mayan tribal king

Stylianos as evil underworld patron

Getting up at 3am in the morning was worth every minute of it and I must say that I feel very privileged to see the beginings of such kind of postgrad courses being offered in virtual worlds.

Whilst you still can, take up the offer of the University of Washington because - right now - it is still very reasonably priced. A 1-year course for 2,475 US. That seems a real bargain for the fantastic high level instruction.


Here are the links to the island... (The island is open until approx. Sept/ Oct)


Welcoming area & Island landing point

Area 1: Medicine Village [East]

Mayan Medicine Information Hut

Area 2: Mayan Science [South]

Station #1: Maya Agriculture

Station #2: Maya Fishing

Station #3: Maya Astronomy (sky platform)

Area 3: Maya Mythology Triathlon [West]

Experience #1: Ball Game Challenge

-> hint: win the game & collect your prize to unlock the next level & visit the hidden location!

Experience #2: Three Stone Place - Maya Glyph Challenge

Experience #3: Highland Village with Thunderbolt Throwing Game & Creation Myth Cave



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