“Fluency conveys a dynamism in the learning process
well-suited to highly mobile students who expect
constant technologica...
“The very unpredictability of the technology
environment suggests that the fluency paradigm
better addresses the need to c...
The challenge of working fluently across a
combination of literacies is a major hurdle in
implementing immersive education...
Learners co-create in collaborative virtual
environments as designers of teaching and learning
experiences.
They participa...
Initial Immersion
Learning Integration
Wankel and Blessinger propose the following application
benefits to learner-centered immersive environments:
• Intragroup ...
requires participants to push beyond basic literacies.
The act of immersion in itself includes the integration
of a comple...
1. Consider the social, ethical and legal impacts of new
technologies on our lives, individually and collectively.
2. Expl...
MALET Curriculum
Term 1 Core Courses Term 2 Core Courses Term 3 Core Courses
Learning with Emerging
Technologies: Theory a...
MALET Curriculum
Table 3: Elective Types
Program Courses Other Courses Practicum
• Game Based Learning • Individualized St...
In this final core course of the MALET Program, students
continue to deepen their knowledge of theories and practices
pert...
Students incorporate knowledge of instructional methods,
learning theories and evaluation techniques with principles of
in...
Creative Collaboration
Regardless of entry literacy level, students and
teachers in immersive environments quickly learn to
integrate skills and ...
This preliminary exploration a theory of immersive
fluency attempts to demonstrate that a carefully
designed program built...
Advanced Design Seminar: Portfolio Project . 2012. Official Course Description. Saratoga Springs, NY: SUNY
Empire State Co...
Nicola Marae Allain, Ph. D.,
Faculty/Mentor & Academic Area Coordinator,
Humanities/Digital Media
Core Faculty, Master of ...
Towards a theory of immersive fluency
Towards a theory of immersive fluency
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Towards a theory of immersive fluency

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Towards a Theory of Immersive Fluency

Nicola Marae Allain, Ph. D.
SUNY Empire State College
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 USA
nicola.allain@esc.edu

This is a presentation given during an Immersive Education Summit in Boston, June 2013. The presentation was accompanied by a full paper published in the Journal of Immersive Education.

Abstract:

The author discusses the theory and practice of immersion applied in the Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies (MALET) at SUNY Empire State College, which provides graduate students with immersion in virtual worlds learning as they acquire fluency across literacies. Learners co-create in collaborative virtual environments as designers of teaching and learning experiences. They participate in peer review in preparation for an open, juried showcase presented in virtual worlds, and design a complete learning environment for the Advanced Design Seminar. The fluency they acquire requires moving beyond literacies as they work in environments which foster a host of experiences leading to visual, digital, media, cultural, and critical fluencies.

Immersive education requires participants to push beyond basic literacies. The act of immersion in itself includes the integration of a complex set of skills – habituation to being within an avatar embodiment, habile navigation, handling headsets, communication etiquette, orienting oneself to the environment, etc. In immersive learning situations, students are also asked to interact with, and create, a variety of digital media in interdisciplinary contexts. In collaborative settings, they must also coordinate the complex logistics of teamwork and content creation as they master the new environments.

Regardless of entry literacy level, students and teachers in immersive environments quickly learn to integrate skills and literacies and apply them to emergent experiences. For example, in a Media Arts course in which students co-create interactive media works, they create work with mastery of digital literacy skills at the level of fluency. In fact, fluency in at least one of the media arts is a prerequisite for the course. They apply critical literacy to the peer review of works and visual, cultural, and information literacies to the development of content. The work culminates in a juried Media Arts Festival hosted in a virtual world. Presentation of their piece for the festival requires a high level integration of immersive fluency.
The challenge of working fluently across a combination of literacies is, of course, a major hurdle in implementing immersive education. Even when students, particularly digital natives, embrace the complexities of the medium, faculty often struggle to develop the technical skills required to create immersive experiences. Their skills and knowledge sometimes fall short of the fluency required to succeed in these environments. The author includes a discussion of challenges and strategies to reach fluency.

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  • The author will discuss the theory and practice of immersion applied in the Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies (MALET) at SUNY Empire State College, which provides graduate students with immersion in virtual worlds learning as they acquire fluency across literacies. Figure 1. SUNY Empire State College Virtual Campus
  • Gibson, Craig. 2007. "Information Literacy and IT Fluency." Reference & User Services Quarterly 46, no. 3: 23-59.
  • Gibson, Craig. 2007. "Information Literacy and IT Fluency." Reference & User Services Quarterly 46, no. 3: 23-59.
  • The challenge of working fluently across a combination of literacies is, of course, a major hurdle in implementing immersive education. Even when students, particularly digital natives, embrace the complexities of the medium, faculty often struggle to develop the technical skills required to create immersive experiences. Their skills and knowledge sometimes fall short of the fluency required to succeed in these environments.
  • Learners co-create in collaborative virtual environments as designers of teaching and learning experiences. They participate in peer review in preparation for an open, juried showcase presented in virtual worlds, and design a complete learning environment for the Advanced Design Seminar. The fluency they acquire requires moving beyond literacies as they work in environments which foster a host of experiences leading to visual, digital, media, cultural, and critical fluencies.
  • Immersion begins with the MALET Opening Reception. Students receive an orientation to the program, and virtual environment.
  • The first sessions require a conversion of digital media, technology, and communication skills as students begin to integrate their learning and prepare for complex tasks.
  • Wankel and Blessinger propose the following application benefits to learner-centered immersive environments: Intragroup and intergroup dialogue and collaboration in a multiplicity of complex situations and contextsImmediacy, a sense of belonging, and group cohesiveness, which fosters shared identity and cultureMediation to facilitate learning tasks, thereby making learning more enjoyable and interestingThe development of multiple perspectives apersonal reflection and through the development of ethical reasoning nd multiple modes of inquiry though role play and skills, andIndividualized learning that is more personally meaningful to each student and more authentic and conducive to how today’s students experience learning in their real life-worlds.
  • Immersive education requires participants to push beyond basic literacies. The act of immersion in itself includes the integration of a complex set of skills – habituation to being within an avatar embodiment, habile navigation, handling headsets, communication etiquette, orienting oneself to the environment, etc. In immersive learning situations, students are also asked to interact with, and create, a variety of digital media in interdisciplinary contexts. In collaborative settings, they must also coordinate the complex logistics of teamwork and content creation as they master the new environments.
  • Consider the social, ethical and legal impacts of new technologies on our lives, individually and collectively. Explore the multiple, unfolding political and economic impacts of digital media as a transformative agent in the global civic and market arenas.Develop an understanding of how people learn in technology-mediated environments.Examine and evaluate learning that occurs in technology mediated environments, and the impact of digital tools, resources and pedagogical methods in these settings.Acquire the skills and capacity to identify, employ and evaluate technologically supported tools and methodologies. Conduct original research projects both individually and in collaborative faculty-student teams in order to expand knowledge in the field.
  • Table 1: YEAR 1 Core CoursesTerm 1:Learning with Emerging Technologies: Theory and PracticeNew Media and New LiteraciesTerm 2:Design of Online Learning EnvironmentsSocial and Ethical Issues in the Digital EraTerm 3: Evaluating Learning In Participatory Learning EnvironmentsAdvanced Design Seminar: Portfolio Project  Table 2: YEAR 2 Electives and Research SeminarsTerm 1ElectiveElectiveTerm 2ElectiveElectiveTerm 3Pro-SeminarResearch or Capstone Project 
  • Program CoursesGame Based LearningIdentities and Communitiesin Immersive EnvironmentsAdvanced Program Planning/Systems ThinkingAdvanced Evaluation and AnalyticsComputers, Ethics and SocietyOther CoursesIndividualized StudiesSelections from other graduate programs: MBA, MA in Social Policy, MLA (liberal studies), MAT (teaching), MAAL (adult learning)Selections from certificate programs,including new media and digital performance technologiesPracticumResearchDesignTeaching
  • In this final core course of the MALET Program, students continue to deepen their knowledge of theories and practices pertaining to instructional design and emerging technologies.  They create a body of work that reflects the ability to integrate theory and skills of design and development, learning principles, and assessment methods. This knowledge and skill is demonstrated in the creation of a comprehensive multimedia project for their ePortfolio or their professional work environment. This project should demonstrate the student’s growth as a specialist in emerging technologies as well as incorporate their own past skills, knowledge, and/or interests on their chosen topic. Personal reflection is used to self-evaluate their own evidence of learning and to make deeper connections between the concepts learned in the other courses.
  • Students incorporate knowledge of instructional methods, learning theories and evaluation techniques with principles of instructional design and multimedia development to create a web-based or instructional design project.  Students might choose to explore topics such as: how to apply learning theories to instructional design and assessment models; how to experiment with new technology tools to address a context-specific problem; how to implement, manage and evaluate a design project; how to analyze the effectiveness of a project designed using a particular model but used in different educational settings. Program participants take part in a two-day immersive juried Design Showcase, where they present their design portfolios, and join in peer review and feedback discussions. 
  • Students co-create at a distance in collaborative virtual environments as part of their learning. This immersion includes the integration of a complex set of skills – habituation to being within an avatar embodiment, habile navigation, communication etiquette, and orienting oneself to the environment. This develops a sense of community and team-building that provides essential skills for 21st Century learners. In immersive and mobile learning situations, students must also interact with, and create, a variety of digital media tools in interdisciplinary contexts.
  • Regardless of entry literacy level, students and teachers in immersive environments quickly learn to integrate skills and literacies and apply them to emergent experiences. For example, in a Media Arts course in which students co-create interactive media works, they create work with mastery of digital literacy skills at the level of fluency. In fact, fluency in at least one of the media arts is a prerequisite for the course. They apply critical literacy to the peer review of works and visual, cultural, and information literacies to the development of content. The work culminates in a juried Media Arts Festival hosted in a virtual world. Presentation of their piece for the festival requires a high level integration of immersive fluency.
  • This preliminary exploration a theory of immersive fluency attempts to demonstrate that a carefully designed program built to progressive move students from an introductory literacy level to fluency in immersive technologies (and related skills, knowledge and competencies). Whereas students entering the program may have little or no experience in the immersive environment, scaffolding, peer support, and total immersion in complex, collaborative virtual spaces provide them with the a gradual acquisition of immersive fluency.
  • References:Advanced Design Seminar: Portfolio Project . 2012. Official Course Description. Saratoga Springs, NY: SUNY Empire State College.Allain, Nicola Marae. 2012. Advanced Design Seminar: Portfolio Project . Online course documents., Saratoga Springs, NY: SUNY Empire State College.Gal, D. et al. 2011. Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies Full Program Proposal. Saratoga Springs, NY: SUNY Empire State College.Gibson, Craig. 2007. "Information Literacy and IT Fluency." Reference & User Services Quarterly 46, no. 3: 23-59. Hobbs, R. 2010. Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action. The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program. Washington, DC: The Aspen Institute.The Aspen Institute.Jenkins, Henry. 2009. Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: media education for the 21st century. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A., and Ludgate, H. 2013. NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.T. Mackey, T. Jacobson. Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy. College & Research Libraries [serial online]. January 2011;72(1):62-78.National Research Council (U.S.). 1999. Being fluent with information technology. Washington: National Academy Press.Nelson, Brian C., and Benjamin E. Erlandson. 2012. Design for learning in virtual worlds. New York: Routledge.Wankel, Charles, and Patrick Blessinger. 2012. Increasing student engagement and retention using immersive interfaces: virtual worlds, gaming, and stimulation. Bingley: Emerald.
  • Towards a theory of immersive fluency

    1. 1. “Fluency conveys a dynamism in the learning process well-suited to highly mobile students who expect constant technological change. IT fluency, a concept that grew out of the National Research Council’s FITness Report of 1999 (FITness is the acronym for Fluency with Information Technology). This construct of IT fluency introduced the notion of fluency itself, suggesting a dynamic, maturational aspect to acquiring technology skills.” Gibson 2007 IT Fluency
    2. 2. “The very unpredictability of the technology environment suggests that the fluency paradigm better addresses the need to conceive of the student as an active agent in his or her own learning. The integration of learning and student experience demands a new approach to programmatic integration as well.” Gibson 2007 Fluency
    3. 3. The challenge of working fluently across a combination of literacies is a major hurdle in implementing immersive education. Even when students, particularly digital natives, embrace the complexities of the medium, faculty often struggle to develop the technical skills required to create immersive experiences. Their skills and knowledge sometimes fall short of the fluency required to succeed in these environments. Literacy Falls Short
    4. 4. Learners co-create in collaborative virtual environments as designers of teaching and learning experiences. They participate in peer review in preparation for an open, juried showcase presented in virtual worlds, and design a complete learning environment for the Advanced Design Seminar. The fluency they acquire requires moving beyond literacies as they work in environments which foster a host of experiences leading to visual, digital, media, cultural, and critical fluencies. MALET - Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies
    5. 5. Initial Immersion
    6. 6. Learning Integration
    7. 7. Wankel and Blessinger propose the following application benefits to learner-centered immersive environments: • Intragroup and intergroup dialogue and collaboration in a multiplicity of complex situations and contexts • Immediacy, a sense of belonging, and group cohesiveness, which fosters shared identity and culture • Mediation to facilitate learning tasks, thereby making learning more enjoyable and interesting • The development of multiple perspectives apersonal reflection and through the development of ethical reasoning and multiple modes of inquiry though role play and skills, and • Individualized learning that is more personally meaningful to each student and more authentic and conducive to how today’s students experience learning in their real life-worlds. Immersive Environments
    8. 8. requires participants to push beyond basic literacies. The act of immersion in itself includes the integration of a complex set of skills – habituation to being within an avatar embodiment, habile navigation, handling headsets, communication etiquette, orienting oneself to the environment, etc. In immersive learning situations, students are also asked to interact with, and create, a variety of digital media in interdisciplinary contexts. In collaborative settings, they must also coordinate the complex logistics of teamwork and content creation as they master the new environments. Immersive Education
    9. 9. 1. Consider the social, ethical and legal impacts of new technologies on our lives, individually and collectively. 2. Explore the multiple, unfolding political and economic impacts of digital media as a transformative agent in the global civic and market arenas. 3. Develop an understanding of how people learn in technology-mediated environments. 4. Examine and evaluate learning that occurs in technology mediated environments, and the impact of digital tools, resources and pedagogical methods in these settings. 5. Acquire the skills and capacity to identify, employ and evaluate technologically supported tools and methodologies. 6. Conduct original research projects both individually and in collaborative faculty-student teams in order to expand knowledge in the field. MALET Program Goals
    10. 10. MALET Curriculum Term 1 Core Courses Term 2 Core Courses Term 3 Core Courses Learning with Emerging Technologies: Theory and Practice Design of Online Learning Environments Evaluating Learning In Participatory Learning Environments New Media and New Literacies Social and Ethical Issues in the Digital Era Advanced Design Seminar: Portfolio Project Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Elective Elective Pro-Seminar Elective Elective Research or Capstone Project Table 2: YEAR 2 Electives and Research Seminars Table 2: YEAR 1 Core Courses
    11. 11. MALET Curriculum Table 3: Elective Types Program Courses Other Courses Practicum • Game Based Learning • Individualized Studies Research • Identities and Communities in Immersive Environments • Advanced Program Planning/Systems Thinking • Selections from other graduate programs: MBA, MA in Social Policy, MLA (liberal studies), MAT (teaching), MAAL (adult learning) Design Teaching • Advanced Evaluation and Analytics • Selections from certificate programs, • Computers, Ethics and Society including new media and digital performance technologies
    12. 12. In this final core course of the MALET Program, students continue to deepen their knowledge of theories and practices pertaining to instructional design and emerging technologies. They create a body of work that reflects the ability to integrate theory and skills of design and development, learning principles, and assessment methods. This knowledge and skill is demonstrated in the creation of a comprehensive multimedia project for their ePortfolio or their professional work environment. This project should demonstrate the student’s growth as a specialist in emerging technologies as well as incorporate their own past skills, knowledge, and/or interests on their chosen topic. Personal reflection is used to self- evaluate their own evidence of learning and to make deeper connections between the concepts learned in the other courses. Advanced Design Seminar Part 1
    13. 13. Students incorporate knowledge of instructional methods, learning theories and evaluation techniques with principles of instructional design and multimedia development to create a web-based or instructional design project. Students might choose to explore topics such as: how to apply learning theories to instructional design and assessment models; how to experiment with new technology tools to address a context- specific problem; how to implement, manage and evaluate a design project; how to analyze the effectiveness of a project designed using a particular model but used in different educational settings. Program participants take part in a two- day immersive juried Design Showcase, where they present their design portfolios, and join in peer review and feedback discussions. Advanced Design Seminar Part 2
    14. 14. Creative Collaboration
    15. 15. Regardless of entry literacy level, students and teachers in immersive environments quickly learn to integrate skills and literacies and apply them to emergent experiences. They: • create work with mastery of digital literacy skills at the level of fluency • apply critical literacy to the peer review of works and • visual, cultural, and information literacies to the development of content • present their final work in a juried festival or showcase held in a virtual world, which requires immersive fluency. Becoming Fluent
    16. 16. This preliminary exploration a theory of immersive fluency attempts to demonstrate that a carefully designed program built to progressive move students from an introductory literacy level to fluency in immersive technologies (and related skills, knowledge and competencies). Whereas students entering the program may have little or no experience in the immersive environment, scaffolding, peer support, and total immersion in complex, collaborative virtual spaces provide them with the a gradual acquisition of immersive fluency. Conclusion
    17. 17. Advanced Design Seminar: Portfolio Project . 2012. Official Course Description. Saratoga Springs, NY: SUNY Empire State College. Allain, Nicola Marae. 2012. Advanced Design Seminar: Portfolio Project . Online course documents., Saratoga Springs, NY: SUNY Empire State College. Gal, D. et al. 2011. Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies Full Program Proposal. Saratoga Springs, NY: SUNY Empire State College. Gibson, Craig. 2007. "Information Literacy and IT Fluency." Reference & User Services Quarterly 46, no. 3: 23-59. Hobbs, R. 2010. Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action. The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program. Washington, DC: The Aspen Institute.spen Institute. Jenkins, Henry. 2009. Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: media education for the 21st century. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A., and Ludgate, H. 2013. NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. T. Mackey, T. Jacobson. Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy. College & Research Libraries [serial online]. January 2011;72(1):62-78. National Research Council (U.S.). 1999. Being fluent with information technology. Washington: National Academy Press. Nelson, Brian C., and Benjamin E. Erlandson. 2012. Design for learning in virtual worlds. New York: Routledge. Wankel, Charles, and Patrick Blessinger. 2012. Increasing student engagement and retention using immersive interfaces: virtual worlds, gaming, and stimulation. Bingley: Emerald. References
    18. 18. Nicola Marae Allain, Ph. D., Faculty/Mentor & Academic Area Coordinator, Humanities/Digital Media Core Faculty, Master of Arts in Learning & Emerging Technologies Center for Distance Learning, Empire State College, State University of New York nicola.allain@esc.edu website: http://nicolamarae.com Twitter: http://twitter.com/Nicola_Marae Towards a Theory of Immersive Fluency by Nicola Marae Allain, PhD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Thank You!

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