Building Knowledge in the Virtual World – Influence of Real Life Relationships

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This paper intends to present a preliminary PhD research that is being developed by the authors, with the intention to determine how to improve teaching and learning situations, at the university level, based on experiences in immersive virtual worlds. The authors have realized that, nowadays, courses don’t fulfill our students’ needs. They belong to a networked and multitasking generation, and what they get from today’s teaching strategy does not, in many situations, fulfill students’ needs and perspectives. They need to gather competences in order to become motivated citizens, communicative and knowledge builders. It is our belief that we can take advantage from the immersive virtual worlds’ resources to overcome this situation and therefore to transfer it to real life. In order to achieve this we need, at the first instance, to understand how social interactions occur in these environments (in particular at Second Life®), how they grow and how they are developed. What we present here is a preliminary sample of our intended research.
Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt

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Building Knowledge in the Virtual World – Influence of Real Life Relationships

  1. 1. Building Knowledge in the Virtual World – Influence of Real Life Relationships Ana Loureiro aka Anitia Loire CIDTFF > DTE > University of Aveiro ESES (Higher School of Education of Santarém) [email_address] Teresa Bettencourt aka Cleo Bekkers CIDTFF > DTE > University of Aveiro [email_address]
  2. 2. <ul><li>Preliminary PhD research that is being developed by the authors, with the intention to determine how to improve teaching and learning situations, at the university level, based on experiences in immersive virtual worlds. </li></ul><ul><li>In order to achieve this we need, at the first instance, to understand how social interactions occur in these environments (in particular at Second Life ® ), how they grow and how they are developed. </li></ul><ul><li>What we present here is a preliminary sample of our intended research. </li></ul>Aim @ Research aim Keywords Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target Why SL® Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options Expected results
  3. 3. <ul><li>virtual worlds </li></ul><ul><li>social Iinteractions </li></ul><ul><li>second life® </li></ul><ul><li>building knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>interpersonal relationships </li></ul>keywords Research aim @ Keywords Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target Why SL® Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options Expected results
  4. 4. <ul><li>Teaching strategies lagged in time and space, inadequate to students’ needs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>have changed radically </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>live in a multimodal and networked society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>interact, cooperate, socialise, communicate and live in virtual spaces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>today‘s kids are always multiprocessing </li></ul></ul>Context – teaching vs learning (the problem) Research aim Keywords @ Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target Why SL® Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options Expected results
  5. 5. Context – students’ characteristics <ul><li>digital natives </li></ul><ul><li>homo zappiens </li></ul><ul><li>multiprocessing </li></ul><ul><li>multitasking </li></ul><ul><li>cycling through </li></ul><ul><li>≈ 24/24 connected </li></ul>Research aim Keywords @ Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target Why SL® Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options Expected results
  6. 6. Context – targets <ul><li>Students and teachers from universities and polytechnics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>achieve better ways of teaching and learning at a higher level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provide new insights, fulfilling students’ needs (in a more appeal and efficient way) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>using MUVE’s: Second Life ® </li></ul></ul></ul>Research aim Keywords @ Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target Why SL® Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options Expected results
  7. 7. Why Second Life ® <ul><li>real life simulator </li></ul><ul><li>safe and controlled environment </li></ul><ul><li>immersive (walk through contents and information / learn by living) </li></ul><ul><li>3D representation of “myself” – avatar (learn subject matter in 1 st person, which is experiential, nonsymbolic, interactive and multisensorial) </li></ul><ul><li>communication, cooperation, interaction, information sharing in real time </li></ul><ul><li>social network / community of practice (Wenger, 2008) </li></ul>Research aim Keywords Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target @ Why SL® Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options Expected results
  8. 8. Why Second Life ® <ul><li>cooperation and sharing content building / learn by doing / engage with content (Bricken, 1991) </li></ul><ul><li>not a game but has some of its attractives / learning by game playing </li></ul><ul><li>“ ever growing virtual playground that is limited only by the creativity of its users” ( Johnson, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>“ many of the attributes of great game playing, from the intellectual challenge to the provision of multiple learning styles, had an immediate part to play in learning” ( Freitas, 2006) </li></ul>Research aim Keywords Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target @ Why SL® Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options Expected results
  9. 9. Research - variables <ul><li>research emerged from the need of observe some of the variables already identified (Bettencourt, 2009) and that are related with: </li></ul><ul><li>persons and their motivations (engaging and compelling factors) </li></ul><ul><li>relationships that are established between avatars and persons (real life relationships) </li></ul><ul><li>social integration in SL (sense of community belonging) </li></ul>Research aim Keywords Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target Why SL® @ Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options Expected results
  10. 10. Research - goals <ul><li>understand in which way the interpersonal knowledge in real life can interfere with the personal development/grow in virtual worlds – SL, and this way achieve insights to a better understanding of the way how knowledge is build in virtual worlds optimizing is use and transferring it to real contexts </li></ul><ul><li>analyse the several contexts of users logging in and the factors of their stay/grow/experience in SL </li></ul>Research aim Keywords Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target Why SL® @ Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options Expected results
  11. 11. Research - questions <ul><li>which are the main reasons / motivations for people to join SL </li></ul><ul><li>Which are the main factors for them to stay and play in SL </li></ul><ul><li>which are their personal paths of development/grow </li></ul><ul><li>in which way can the interpersonal knowledge in real life influence the build of knowledge in virtual worlds </li></ul>Research aim Keywords Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target Why SL® @ Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options Expected results
  12. 12. Connectivism theory (Siemens and Downes) <ul><li>the information/knowledge are transitory, chaotic and unstable >> need of a continual learning </li></ul><ul><li>Second Life ® </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provides best ways of contact and connection between several opinions, nodes and specialized sources of information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>those nodes of information become more interactive facilitating the learning and the information sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>good tool to create, develop and maintain connections, allowing a natural and continual learning </li></ul></ul>Research aim Keywords Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target Why SL® @ Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options Expected results
  13. 13. Research – methodology options <ul><li>qualitative research with exploratory characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>researcher >> participant observer </li></ul><ul><li>data collecting >> questionnaires, observation records, electronic records (log chats), interviews (if needed) </li></ul><ul><li>data analysis >> quantitative analysis over qualitative data, content analysis </li></ul><ul><li>“ We research by living” - Bettencourt, 2009 </li></ul>Research aim Keywords Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target Why SL® @ Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options Expected results
  14. 14. Research – expected results <ul><li>achieve a better knowledge about immersive learning and in that order develop best practices / best teaching and learning strategies to use in virtual worlds </li></ul><ul><li>transfer that knowledge to real life learning contexts and in this way provide best approaches for teaching and learning in a high level </li></ul>Research aim Keywords Research context – teaching (the problem) – students characteristics – target Why SL® Setting the research – variables – goals – research questions – support theory – methodology options @ Expected results

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