Using the Internet Platform Second Life to Teach Social Justice

Teaching Philosophy 34 (1):17-32 (2011)
Abstract
Second Life, an on-line, interactive environment in which users create avatars through which they have virtual experiences, is a contemporary experiment in utopia. While most often it is used for social networking, it also is used for commercial and educational purposes, as well as for political activism. Here, we share the results from a course that uses Second Life as a tool for examining social justice. We examine the notion of utopia, present the results of a pre- and post-survey designed to measure the effectiveness of our Second Life course, and relate insights gleaned from the centerpiece assignment of the course that required students to construct proposals for how $200 best could be spent in Second Life to promote social justice. Finally, we demonstrate how Second Life can be a helpful classroom tool for examining John Rawls’s influential utopian work, A Theory of Justice
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