Aleks Krotoski writes in The Guardian about the forthcoming voice in Second Life.
Pro-voicers, represented by the large education community, offline businesses and the in-world sex industry, welcome this change, seeing it as the next step for the platform. Anti-voicers, represented by community groups and old-timers, view this as another example of Linden Lab ignoring the needs of its population in favour of commercial interests.
By her definition I ought to be Pro-voice (Education, please, not the sex industry), however, I’m not sure. There are several issues some that would be a “yes” for voice, some that would be a “no”.
So, we have dyslexic students / those with RSI / those who are slow typists, for whom voice will be a benefit. We also have those with hearing problems who won’t find it that useful at all.
It’s easy to grab the text-chat after a class, and make it available to students – but if it’s voice, then we can still capture it, but transcribing it isn’t going to be easy & most speech to text isnt’ that good. It will be much harder to “skim” what’s gone on.
For non native speakers, there’s a different issue. My feeling (not that I’m a great linguist), is that reading is often easier than listening (you can miss out words/ go back & guess the actual meaning), but talking is easier than writing. So, what’s going to be best for students. Focussing on the knowledge acquisition – which will probably mean text, or on the sharing, while might well indicate voice.
Text based chat also makes it quick to catch up if you get distracted from the session – but, on the other hand, you shouldn’t be getting distracted when teaching/learning face to face, so what right have you to get distracted while teaching/learning online?
Clearly, as group sizes increase, some form of turn taking/ indicating a need to speak is going to have to be implemented – just as it is in a face to face class.
So, I’m going to see what it’s like when it arrives, but won’t be dashing off to join in straight away. Most likely, I’ll attend sessions & listen, but type my comments (the complete opposite of what I’m guessing that non-native speakers will want to do!)