Second Life virtual environment has particular implications for science education as it fosters a sense of play in the virtual laboratory. Genome Island is a laboratory environment of genetics builded in the virtual world of Second Life supported by the Biology Department of Texas Wesleyan University and by a Sam Taylor Fellowship awarded by the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Genome Island is a didactic area in the virtual world of Second Life where students can perform a lot of genetic simulation experiments. The four activities described below (Bacterial Transformation; Monohybrid Pea Cross; X-Linked Inheritance in Cats; Message in a Bottle) illustrate some of the data that can be collected on Genome Island and the learning objectives addressed by aech experiment. Virtual worlds offer a learning environment that conbines active engagement with the convenience of online access. Students analysed came from two classes of Texas Wesleyan University. Student performance on Second Life learning objectives was assessed as part of the final laboratory exam, which included material covered in Second Life activities. Actually is available for public access.
Article originally published in ‘Innovate Journal of Online Education’, V.5(2009), n.6, Reprinted with permission