Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Collaborative Learning - Innovation, Learning & Communication in Virtual Worlds

Sharing by Joe Miller, VP (Platform & Technology) Linden Lab @ Vista Lab on 29 October 2008
Key Points (I)

  • One key message brought across: 2nd life is about context. It isn't about technology.
  • Second Life (SL) Circa - by 2003, there existed 50 regions (ie. lands) while now it has more than 32K regions!
  • To-date, there are more than 74,000 avatars & 15M registered residents!
  • On average, a regular player commits 20h per week in SL

Industry is entering the 2nd wave and faces

  • global workforce needs
  • Economic pressures
  • Carbon & Cash Concerns
Video clip 1: Education in Second Life: Explore the Possibilities

Key Points (II)
Use of SL in Education could cover the following:

  • Content Creation: Art, Software, 3D objects
  • Simulations: Places, Events, Buildings
  • Classes: Lectures, Tutorials, "Treasure Hunts"
  • Libraries and Museums
  • Risky/expensive experiences: Running a business, investigating other cultures
  • Learning experiences not possible in real life
  • Others like meetings, socialising

Examples of use include...

  • Prototype new models
  • Train Remote workers
  • Demo new products
  • Collaborate on Product Development
  • Visit a Global Virtual event
  • Learn a Foreign Language
  • Practise Disaster Recovery
  • Design Buildings
  • Conduct Simulations
  • Take a class at your alma mater
  • Simulate the brain
  • Simulate subatomic structure
  • Learn Basic 3D modeling
  • Group study sessions with remote classmates
  • Tutor your friend/student from home
  • Hold job fairs for students
  • Simulate starting a business & earn real money
  • Walk through the digestive system
  • Offer parents a way to connect with their children's teachers from home.
  • Role-play caregiving in a model
  • Extend course management system with a synchronous student union
  • Produce a Shakespeare play in the model of the Globe Theatre on Renaissance Island
  • Practices the procedure for anesthetizing a petient in a SL operating room
  • Rehearse client interactions and presentations
  • Go on a virtual fossil dig; explore Tanzanian culture and society

Note: Those in bold are more directly related to students' learning in school

Video clip 2: Educational Uses of Second Life

Key Points (III)

Some things that we can do in the internet can also be done in SL

  • streaming video & music
  • uploading presentation slides
  • links to other web resources
  • pull live-data in-world from the web
  • display RSS feeds and websites in-world

In could link to other platforms like

  • Moodle has Sloodle (http://www.sloodle.org/)
  • Facebook
  • Gridmaker.com
  • Life2Life
  • Flickr (in SL)
  • Del.icio.us & SL
  • Slurl Maker & SL

Pedagogy of Virtual World

  • Participation
  • Engagement
  • Investment
  • Ownership

Instructional Design

  • Virtual Class
  • Models
  • Simulations
  • Group Work
  • Field Trip
  • Role-playing

Case Studies:
(1) Skoolaborate

Read more about Skoolaborate HERE

(2) Ramapo Island (Suffern Middle School)

Read more about Ramapo Islands HERE

(3) Schome - not school, not home

Read more about Schome HERE ; Read Report HERE

(4) VITAL Lab (Ohio University)

Read more about VITAL Lab HERE

(5) Global Kids

Read more about Global Kids HERE

Video clip: NASA using Virtual Worlds (Colab)

Key Points (IV)

Second Life Best Practices in Education


Afternote.... Some Reflections...

Within 2 months, attended 2 presentations on 2nd life - both focus on its use in education. Prior to that, was pretty reluctant to spend time to think about it or imagine its role in education.

Nevertheless, the first presentation came with some convincing examples, though none illustrates how Maths can have a place in the virtual environment. In the phase of slowing buying in... In fact, I was quite hopfeul that the 2nd presentation would shed more light. Nevertheless, it didn't. Though were showed several video clips on how 2nd life gets into work... However, one challenge is... is it so good that it could actually replace real life learning experiences? Of course, there are other questions to challenge the use of 2nd life in learning.

It is obvious that the SL environment offers a space for users to interact and experiment in situations/made-up scenarios - lots of room for innovation ideas! Apart from this... the overall impression is...

(i) While there are so many objects (or even virtual labs) out there, we were told that these were created by web-users out there and the copyright and ownership lie belongs the creator. Then I just wonder, who will ensure that all the experiments featured are giving the desireable outcomes? Given that some people would not be able to discern the right stuff... they may just believe in every-and-any-thing out there!

(2) Learning using virtual world, manipulatives (and even 3D modeling) is not that new actually... except that many a time, these objects reside in different places... so, SL somehow becomes the 'mash-up'! Similarly, many years back, virtual lab is already a very popular concept in science learning... so, SL simply gather all the good stuff there...

(3) What I felt lacking in tasks carry out in SL is the "feel-and-touch". No doubt it provides an environment to carry out experiment, it just lack the feel - eg. the texture of stuff... the sense of weight... and the smell... and natural sound.

... to be continued...

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