Dave White (of the University of Oxford) has just shared a brief set of reflections on the Virtual World strand of the JISC online conference 2009. As he says:
[It] strikes me that Virtual Worlds have become the touchstone for larger themes around technological-determinism and the role of tech in education in general. Despite many examples of the effective use of SL in teaching the debate always seems to move back to these broad areas. In my opinion this is a healthy debate and one which I have seen emerging from a number of quarters recently. However, it does tend to overshadow discussion around genuine practice.
I can't comment directly on the discussions because they were held behind the closed doors of a paid-for online conference - I thought the point of online conferences was that they were supposed to open up debate... oh well - but the notes are worth a quick look.