I'm a big fan of Google, I think they do some great things that impact hugely upon teaching and learning. We've used loads of their tools at Kellett... Earth, Sketchup, Maps, Docs, Picasa, and sometimes students even use it for searching!
However, their recent decision to shut down Google Lively at the end of December has caused dismay amongst many in education who see the opportunity to extend classrooms into virtual environments as an important strand of 21st Century Learning. Whilst it's true that major virtual grids exist elsewhere, such as Second Life, the ability to create your own rooms and customise them for your own students offers huge potential.
Education is still only just dipping it's toe into the possibilities that virtual worlds afford us, but it's companies like Google with it's track record of creating innovative tools for educators that should be leading the way, not bailing out without giving leading innovaters time to experiment and share their practise.
A huge well done to Vicki Davis in leading the way on this. Her students have been using Google Lively as a means of investigating aspects of Digital Citizenship and quite rightly they are dismayed at Google's decision to pull the plug. They have recently held a protest to try to convince Google that they should change their minds and they have the full support of our Year 8 students who have begun to explore Lively.
Education takes time to discover, investigate and formulate strategies for using new tools. They can't just be adopted because they look good, they need an educational context to justify their use. Two years ago we looked into setting up a Kellett Island in Second Life but the cost was prohibitive. Lively offers us the opportunity to do it for free but we need more time to structure our approach.
Please give us the time, Google. You can sign the Google Lively Petition here.
What do our Year 8 students think?