Assignment Option 6 (Using Second Life: e-Learning; 20-50 min. class time)
Second Life is for 18-year-olds and older
Goals: 1. encourage active learning by having the students (virtually) enact the rituals commonly performed at Japanese Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples; 2. encourage creative and visual learning by having the students use Second Life and the website to study these topics
These objectives are better reinforced if this assignment is completed with one or more specific reading assignments and/or lectures/class discussions.
Students are more likely to appreciate and participate in this assignment if it is for a grade.
(NOTE: This assignment requires more setup time and is best completed in more than one class period. This assignment also requires that all the students have access to a computer with an Internet connection and one that they can download new software too—You might need to get permission from a computer lab to download Second Life to a set of computers for your students to use, or assign groups with one personal computer per group.)
Day 1 Class work (10 min.)
1. In class, show the students how to download Second Life and how to create an Avatar. (Hint: It is best to go through the process at least once on your own before you show the students.)
2. Give the students the following homework assignment; Warn them that they will need to use a personal computer or one that they can add software to (often, computers in school labs are restricted against adding programs and they won’t be able to download Second Life). Suggest they work in small groups with one personal computer if they cannot access a public use computer with Second Life on it.
Homework: (about an hour, depending on computer speed and student computer familiarity)
2. Follow the instructions in the middle of that page to create an Avatar in Second Life and download the software. If you are working in a group, each of you needs to create and Avatar, but Second Life only needs to be downloaded once.
3. Once you (or everyone in your group) has created an Avatar, follow step 3 on the jpnreligion.weebly.com website and visit our Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple.
4. Spend at least 10-20 minutes looking around. Use right-click or click on the sign-posts and read them to learn about the buildings’ structure and use. Also, click on the “pose balls” (e.g., “meditation”, “Do ritual”) to make your Avatar do some of the rituals that are common in these sacred spaces.
5. Answer the following questions and bring your answers to your next class.
-----1. List 3-5 specific differences between the shrine and the temple. They can be architectural, the kinds of rituals, what’s inside them, etc.
-----2. What is the main ritual at a Shinto shrine (NOTE: This is common at most shrines; though, there is variation and not everyone knows the “correct” ritual. This is what the Shinto Shrine Association recommends as proper behavior—but it has changed over time and per region.)
-----3. Look at the picture inside the Buddhist temple (or look at some of the temple pictures on the website). How does the inside of the temple in that picture differ from the one in Second Life?
-----4. You can’t go to Japan today to do and see these things, but how might using Second Life to “visit” this shrine and temple help you learn more about religiousness in Japan? How does this kind of assignment differ from a reading assignment or hearing a lecture?
(If you want to learn more on your own, visit the some of the other pages on this website—for research papers, see the “References” page on the website:
3. Ask volunteers to give you and the class their responses to the questions and move your Avatar(s) around the shrine and temple to show the rest of the class what each student is talking about. Encourage the other students to write down these responses in their notes or in their homework.
4. Show the students other things you noticed and conclude the class by asking them to write a brief reflection on this assignment (about 5-10 minutes) or to address overlap between what they did in Second Life and what they read about, heard from lecture, or discussed in class. Give them time to reflect upon these different learning experiences and try to put it altogether. They can turn that in for a grade or just write it in their notes as self-reflection.