As a (former) photographer, I love using images in language classes, so I really like the snapshot function in Second Life. You can download snapshots, or send them directly as email. This is like when you travel and send emails with updates to family and friends. Being able to do this while you’re still in the virtual world makes the experience feel more immerse than saving the snapshot and writing the email after leaving the virtual world. It is also a more authentic activity for many people now who like to take a snapshot with their smartphone when they are out and about and immediately share it via a messenger app or social media.
I used this functionality of SL a lot when teaching there. It gives learners the opportunity to share something they have experienced with their family and friends – just like they would if they were on a trip or holiday. Also, it gives them a real reason and motivates them to use the language as they do want to share what they have experienced – there is an emotional connection.
Even if the virtual world you use does not have a camera/snapshot function, learners can always take a screenshot (just beware of permissions and copyright issues, particularly if the images are to be shared publicly (I blogged about this in the past, but I’m not sure whether anything has changed in the meantime). I have to find out whether it is possible to take snapshots or screenshots in VRs when using a headset!
Using these snapshots in a story is another possibility. Learners can be asked to create and write stories. They can enhance their stories with snapshots they have taken. This could be made into a project-based activity by having groups of learners co-create and write a story and publish it as a blog post or even a simple ebook, which they can then share with others.
Another possibility for a project-based activity using VR snapshots is creating comics or cartoon stories, using one of the many comic creation tools that are available online. This was made with Canva.
(Images taken in the Village of Ahiru http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ahiru/95/103/29)