This is my "real" world.

I drive 11 km every morning to teach.
It takes me 1.5 hour to reach school.
Yes, the traffic drives me crazy.
It is comparable only to Bangkok and the heart of Calcuta.

I waste my productive time in the car.
I overconsume scarce fossil fuel.
I leave immense amount of carbon footprint on earth.
I spend more money for gas than for my professional development.

This is the physical world that we think is the only real world we live in. This is a physical reality that we think is always better than virtual reality. Do we still think that it is worthed to waste our life in a traffic as long as it is coherent to our limited definition of reality?

Of course, tomorrow I have to wake up in the morning and spend hours on the road again to teach, something that I mostly can do in virtual world with just 5 seconds teleport. Do you still question why I love teaching in Virtual World?

Okay, I must tell the truth. I am a bit tired of people who think that reality is limited to things made of atoms, that pixel-based virtual world is simply unreal, that virtual world teaching does not have a real impact in life and that everything based on atoms are always better for learning than the ones based on pixels . 

As a teacher who use both atomic-based and pixel-based worlds for teaching I know that both worlds are REAL, that virtual world learning impacts the students up to their atomic level, and that in certain case pixel based learning is better for students than the atomic based one.  

How do I make such conclusion? Here's an example. Several weeks ago, students were learning about atom. They had to reach these standards:
1. Describe the structure of atoms, including the location of protons, neutrons, and electrons.       2. Determine the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and the mass of an element using the periodic table.
After giving them an overview, I assigned my students to make a model of an atom of a particular element. I split the students into two groups (each group consisted of students with various cognitive abilities). I assigned the first group to draw the model of an atom on a paper, replicating the atom structure picture in their book. I asked the second group to do the same in virtual world Second Life with the help of their book and Google.

My discoveries were surprising.
The students who learned in atomic-based world using paper and color pencil:
- reached the standards in 45 minutes (with additional time to redo their work at home)
- drew a 2D picture of the atom structure
- found difficulties in drawing the electron configuration (They thought that the electrons scatered randomly)
- couldn't imagine how the electrons move along the circular orbit
- didn't make the picture accurately in the first attemp (all students) and after correction they had to redo the drawing.                                                                                                       - felt that they had to do it and often said "it's hard to draw this" during the activity

The students who learned in pixel-based world using virtual world Second Life:
- reached the standards in 45 minutes
- made a 3D model of the atom structure
- could configure the electrons in their orbits visible in 360 degree vision
- could imagine how the electrons move along the circular orbit because they scripted the electrons
- some students who didn't make the model accurately could easily edit their works without redoing it all over.  
- were excited and asked critical questions during the activity

Apparently, in this case the students who learned in pixel-based world using virtual world Second Life could reach the standards faster and easier. They were also excited and curious. Now how can someone say that pixel-based world is not real? If the kids' 3D atom models in virtual world are not real then their 2D atom drawings on paper are not real either because if they want to see the REAL structure of an atom, they need a scanning tunneling microscope or a angstrom microscope. But in REALity, we don't have those microscopes at our school and neither do most schools in the world.

So, what does "REAL" mean to you? What is your REALity?  

Hari Pendidikan Nasional                                                Selamat kau berikan kepada siapa?

Masih banyak pejabat yang tidak berfitrah, yang memperkaya diri dengan berbagai cara, yang membuat pendidikan menjadi tidak murah, yang merampas hak dasar rakyatnya.

Hari Pendidikan Nasional                                                Selamat kau berikan kepada siapa?

Masih banyak pendidik yang tidak berkualitas, yang tahunya hanya menuruti perintah dari atas, yang mengajar dengan malas, yang menilai pendidikan tidak lebih dari sebuah angka di atas kertas.

Hari Pendidikan Nasional                                                                                           Selamat kau berikan kepada siapa?

Masih banyak masyarakat yang terbelenggu kemiskinan dan kebodohan, yang menyamakan pendidikan dengan nilai ujian, yang tidak sadar mereka memiliki kemandirian, yang tidak mau berperan melakukan perubahan.

Hari Pendidikan Nasional
Selamat kau berikan kepada siapa?

Masih ada pejabat, pendidik dan masyarakat yang menyadari besarnya peran mereka bagi pendidikan dan kemajuan bangsa, yang menolak merusak dan mengeksploitasi saudara setanah airnya, yang menyadari pendidikan berkualias hanya bisa dicapai dengan tekad dan usaha ,yang bekerja demi cita-cita bersama. Ucapkan selamat kepada meraka.

(Tulisan ini saya dedikasikan kepada teman-teman yang berjuang menyediakan pendidikan berkualtias bagi anak-anak sendiri dan orang lain dalam keterbatasan dan tekanan sekalipun. Mbak Priscilla Ivonne, terima kasih atas kunjungan dan inspirasinya.)


    Me as an Advocate

    - As an education advocate in my country, Indonesia, I am not as cute as my avatar.

    - My writings are both loved and hated by many.

    - My volunteer works in underdeveloped schools and community learning centers are cherished and despised.

    - I can be good friends with vampires and furries but I cannot be friends with real life griefers who steal the rights of the children to get the education they deserve.

    - I often get troubles in RL because of my works and writings. Sometimes I wish I could just teleport those RL griefers to an eternal laggy sim.


    Oktober 2011
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    First Life
    Second Life