This was a blog I started in September before going to Japan. I will post it even though it is not complete, as my thinking underlies why I have been so interested in SecondLife for language learning, and hence why I plan to be doing my facilitation in SL.
From my on work in fostering student reflection and self assessment, I came to realise the importance of dialogue between teacher/student and student/student. The e-portfolio I trialled with first year students was not as successful as I had hoped. A key factor could have been because students were isolated - their only dialogue was with the teacher. Yes they had the discussion board, but I did not have the necessary facilitation skills to make it work. This year in another paper, I tried blogs for DIEs (description, interpretation and evaluation) and wikis for group work, with much more success. Two things were different: the DIE process was very much integrated into the course and the dialogue was weekly between teacher and student. The wikis were open to group members. Next year I will use open blogs for the first few weeks so students can get to know each member of the class earlier. It is both motivating and helpful.
Nancy White's talk impressed I particularly like the visuals - the chairs creating the group. It's an idea I would like to use.
In this course, I have enjoyed the peer support both indirectly through sharing in blogs, and through discussions, particulary using Skype, and the learning as a result. This is something to capitalise on with my own students.