By Anne Collier
What a service University of Westminster in London provides! Even watching a little bit of this video tutorial can answer a lot of questions about what virtual worlds are like – whether you’re curious about what (non-cartoony) avatars look like, want to set up an account and get started with professional development, or want to learn how to build a virtual chair or house. It’s narrated in a lovely calm voice at a nice slow-ish pace, jettisoning any mystery or intimidation factor (which war against good parenting, classroom adoption of social-media tools, and harm the adult-youth communication that fosters constructive use). This site has a fund of other social-media training videos too, including for Twitter, Blogger (how to create a blog), what and how great RSS is, social bookmarking (Delicious), creating surveys, etc. – and all that just in the “Student Tools Videos” category; there are also training videos for working with digital media: scripting, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash Quizzes, etc. But before we leave the subject of social media tools, don’t miss three educators’ favorites for both teaching and professional development.