There is nothing traditional about this school; there are no desks, chairs or blackboards, and your classmate could be hundreds of miles away from you. Welcome to IslamOnline.net’s educational program in the virtual universe of Second Life. “I’m very excited to be part of this,” says Nergiz Kern, the instructor teaching English in IOL’S Second Life school. IslamOnline.net (IOL) launched on Wednesday, July 9, its educational program in Second Life’s virtual world. People from around the world can gather to share in the lessons and learn. The program will have a wide range of classes ranging from language teaching to soft skills and counseling services. The first class is English language course for pre-intermediate level students with Kern, who has a diploma from Cambridge in teaching English to adults. Tens of people have already applied for the course. The class started at 18:30 GMT on IOL’s second virtual island inside SL. It will last for 6 weeks, with two classes weekly on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Besides Kern, Batoul Boutha, a professor in Halab University, Syria, will start teaching Arabic language to the English-speaking audience soon.
The report goes on to discuss the IOL perspective on Second Life:
The educational program is the most recent of IOL educational tools set in SL. Saed Badran has been giving Qur’an recitation classes on IOL’s island for the past month. “I found there was a real need to teach Qur’an recitation in this world,” says Badran, a Palestinian living in the US and studying for a degree in computer science. “There are many new generations of Muslims from the West on SL now,” he explained. “I want to try to reach them.” Kern believes it is important to have more educational and communication programs to attract residents of the ever-growing world of SL. “I think it is important to offer Muslims and non-Muslims good alternatives to other activities in SL,” she said. The virtual educational program is only the latest of the IOL projects in the computer-generated world. The first IOL project in Second Life was launching a Ramadan tent during the holy month of Ramadan last year. Last December, IOL launch the hajj educational program on the island that helped people who want to learn about the soul-searching journey. The project was a huge success, drawing hundreds of visitors from all over the world everyday to visit the island. IOL plans to expand on the course this year by upgrading the project to make it more immersive and accurate to its real world counterpart. IOL is currently planning a center for lectures and fatwa sessions. Using text and audio, the center will be the first stop for all new visitors to the IOL island. It will offer many of the website services to the residents of the virtual world.
A number of previous posts have discussed IOL Second Life activities including its sponsorship of a speaker known for anti-Semitic statements and the “Virtual Rally” against the Israeli blockade of Gaza.