By admin | Juli 28, 2008
I felt like the proverbial kid in a candy shop when I found this site featured on the SL showcase. During the work on my thesis about the potential use of Second Life for intercultural education I was sadened by all the potential I saw - and the few and often struggeling applications. So I was excited to see a major project dealing with intercultural learning opening its gates in Second Life.
The place mostly offers a quiz where you can answer questions on various cultures and some cross cultural topics, like intercultural communication or global teamwork. You will get an individual score for each test and there are highscores for the various tests and a global highscore on display. I experienced minor problems with one of the tests, it seems that communication channels from various quiz panels were messing with each other, but that was only a minor glitch which is acceptable so soon after the place opened to the public. All else the quizzes and the high score lists are a very nice idea and well done.
I decided to take the test for the German culture. This turned out to be most interesting and a very interesting intercultural experience. I made following three observations:
1/ You are not necessarily the best expert for your own culture. This even makes sense. I have very little formal knowledge about German cultural standards, it is mostly informal. So I rather asked myself: “What would I do here? How would I feel about it?” But it is very unlikely that my own standards and experiences exactly match the cultural norm.
2/ It made me more aware of many things that I simply take for granted and it never occured to me that it may be specific to Germany (e.g. marking pupils for the mistakes they made, not for correct answers).
3/ In those cases where the answer suprised me, either by being not what expected or pointing something out as typical German, it often felt like a real revelation. I never looked at it like that before, but it made so much sense. I take it as an indication that the questions and answers were indeed selected and phrased with a good measure of insight.
I actually scored less on German culture (61%) than I scored in intercultural communication (82%), a test that actually mixed questions from various cultures. Does this make me a bad German?
I had fun and think the place was well done. Still I think there may be even better ways to use Second Life as a leraning experieince for intercultural education insofar as the quiz could be done just as well on any website. In other words: It makes little use of specific options you can fidn in Second Life, and only in Second Life. But it is a very good start, professionally donen and surely helps to raise awareness of intercultural issues.
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