Learning In Virtuality 2010
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Learning In Virtuality 2010

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  • SLIDE 1 Thank you for joining in. I’m Suzanne Aurilio, Assistant of pICT and Co-Farmer on the pICTsl Farm SDSU’s virtual worlds initiative. Cathy Arreguin, my co-farmer will be taking you into 2nd Life for the2nd part of this workshop. Background: This presentation is the 2nd product of our ongoing inquiry into virtual environments. Last year we began looking into Second Life. We have a presense in SL, the pICTsl Farm, next to the SDSU campus. We cohosted a lunch on learning on virtual worlds, we provided a series of hands on introductory workshops in Second Life over the winter break. In 2008, we expanded our inquiry to virtual environments in general. We’re following the developments in commericial and consortium based initatives, testing several environments, and generally staying involved with the broader conversations about virtual environments/worlds and what they mean for education. So this presentation is the beginning this broader perspective. What do I mean by virtuality? Lets equate virtuality with the internet, with being online, with anything that happens or is situated online. Being online informationally and socially, that is when connect with people for whatever reason. The social web, or web. 2.0 as it’s been called are I’d say the foundational characteristics of learning in virtuality. We don’t simply connect with information any more but with it’s authors. We’re in fact authors and creators of the social web.
  • SLIDES 2 and 3 One reason is that they provide a sense of place, they create an affect of being somewhere. We feel and act as if we’re somewhere. We call this a sense of presence and this sense is more pronounced when other people are there with us. We call this co-presence. They can be there at the same time, (syncronously) or another time, asynchronously. This sense of presence and co-presence are powerful aspects of virtuality. This is true, even with simple tools such as discussion boards, and of course Facebook and MySpace where we typically interact asychronously. We’re not actually present at the same time, but this doesn’t seem to be that necessary for feeling like you’re with other people in virtuality. I experience this all the time in Facebook, and on discussions boards. When I log in I immediately see the presence of other people, who’ve posted while I’ve been away. Which brings me to the another characteristic of virtual environments; they’re persistent. Even when I’m not there, the place is still there. This combination of co-presence in a persistent environment is again quite powerful. There are other features in various kinds of virtuality that may contribute to them feeling like a place. somewhere; or maybe it’s the functionality of a place. One of the main reasons I recently began stopping by Facebook, is because an old firend of mine signed up. She lives in NY, isn’t into technology, but her students keep nudging to get an account, and now we play games together, send each other little notes and DO things we would not or could not have done otherwise. So what an environment allows us to do is rather important. This brings me to something I’d like you to consider. It’s a take-away point. When we’re thinking about learning in virtuality, it can be overwhelmining. We have a lot of choices and a lot to think about,. It’s good practice to begin with what we want students to learn, then decide on how we’ll measure it, what activities they’ll engage in to learn it, and then what technologies will best make that happen. When it comes to the technologies, one useful question to ask ourselves is what has this technology been designed to do? Every website, every tool, every virtual environment has been designed for some purpose. That’s not to say we can’t co-opt it do do something else, it’s more about expanding our understanding of what’s involved with learning in virtuality. The kinds of virtual environments I’m going to talk about today are different from BB and FB in that they have 2D and 3D elements such as avatars and graphical renderings of places. These features enhance a sense of place, presence and co-presence, which in turn afford us different ways of learning. But there’s more to it than that and I’ll get to that a bit later. I’d like situate virtual environments as educational technologies and not in more general terms. By that I mean that we’re looking at their capacity to enhance and support learning within particular contexts. But the richness of these environments requires us to reconceptualize teaching and learning in them and move beyond instructional or instrumental applications of them. Here’s what I mean. When we’re designing a completely online class, we’re designing an experience, that includes, places to learn, things to do and ways to interact with the content, the environment and each other. Whoa that’s a lot to think about. So let’s break it down again. SLIDE # Remember our first take away point: What has this technology been designed to do? Here’s a 2nd: What’s my context? Is course fully online? Graduate, undergraduate? How many students? What are my learning goals and objectives? When is the class offered, which room? What other technologies do I have at my disposal? What kind of support’s available to me/students? This is just a sampling of the kinds of things we’d want to consider when we think about context. So the first contextual consideration are the people.
  • What kind of a technology user are you? Are your students? Revolutionaries want flexibility control, they like to tinker and a theoretical connection. They like technologies that are new and exciting. Democrats want robustness, ease of use and practicality, Technology should solve real problems Let’s talk about students for a minute. It must be easy to use and add a value (in terms of content, flexibility in work and study habits, supports)
  • Then we have the The technologies I’m going to locate us in 2008 throughout this presentation, I’m talking about current technologies and what we know about them now. Some of what I share might not be so relevant in 6 months or a year but some of it may be. What’s interesting I find is that we’ve got some legacy technologies and practices that seem to have some mainstay. For example,, text-based communication which has been around since the mid 70s, appears to be a primary modality although we have the technology for voice. There are variety technical, social, situtational reasons why this is so, and as you work in various virtual environments you’ll get a sense them. Here’s a sample SDSU’s educational technologies, the one’s I think are attractive to democrats. They’re available to everyone, their designed to be used by everyone, we have support for them, they’re stable, robust and practical TWO SLIDES
  • Three SLIDES Then we have what’s known as web 2.0 applications. They’re freely available tools on the web that are certainly educational technologies as well. I think revoluitionaris and democrats’ alike would be attracted to these By asking ourselves What’s it designed for and What’s my context? We have a nice jumping off point for understanding how we might use them These tools are pretty stable and robust, and they’re easy to use in an of themselves, but in the context of a course they need a little bit of managing. Plus, these may not be designed explicitly for learning. So we have to experiment and play with them (as revolutionaries like to do) and be creative. But we also want to think through concretely how they enhance or support learning.
  • Here several examples of 3D virtual environments. First I’ll talk bout the environment itself and contextualize it abit. Then I’ll talk about learning in them
  • NEXT Slide What was it designed for and what’s my context? Let’s assume a rather generic context that we might have. An upper division undergraduate course, with 50 students. Let’s say it’s completely online. The top left and bottom right images are Second Life. SL environment was designed for entertainment and socializing. It’s tagline is “a world imagined and created by its residents” Here is a sampling of some of the basic things we’d want to consider in using SL in this context. It’s an open environment, anyone can get a free account, it runs on MACs and PCS but it needs a rather new machine, with a fairly decent graphics card. It’s not easy to learn how to use and so requires a fair amount of upfront investment if you’ve never been in such an environment. There’s no institutional support for it but a rather robust support community. Up to 40 avatars can be in one area (called a sim) at one time. You can use text or voice, You can create incredible 3d things with it,. Withiin that context,educators have designed learning activities, situations and scenarios. The top right is QWAQ Forums it’s been designed as a virtual workspace where people work who are working a distance can exchange ideas, documents without the need and cost of travel or conference calling he Its designed to be used by people with little to no 3D design skills. It’s very easy to get into and work in, I did it in less than 20 minutes. It runs on a PC or a MAC, again newer machines. You can upload and write on documents very quickly and there are templates to use for building. They have 30 day free trials and after that reasonable educational rates. It’s a closed environment. Only you and your folks access your QWAQ Forum. The bottom left image is a simulation designed by Forterra Systems. The Forterra Platform has been designed to provide distributed workforces of companies and government agencies with ways of collaborating, training and connecting. They build private realistic virtual worlds based on their clients training or instructional needs. It runs on only on a PC, and like the others a newer machine, with a better graphics card. I don’t have any pricing for Forterra, I’m sure it’s rather expensive, you work with a design team who delivers a complete instructional package including training on the software, developer services, technical support, hosting, account management, and marketing. Forterra provides healthcare industry, military and education with virtual enivrionments. Military industry and education organizations to train, plan, rehearse, and collaborate
  • So let’s talk a bit about learning in virtual environments and specifically related to these environments. What about Second Life? As I said Second Life was designed for entertainment and socializing. But one of the main forms of entertainment is world-building. That suggests that at its base, Second Life is a great environment for creative expression, design and construction through 3D modelling. If you remember earlier I suggested that these environments have more than just instructional potential and this is wonderful example, where student can engage in designing and constructing objects, the programming them to interact with each other, and the environment. But let’s think this through. Lets’ say we have students in a fashion design class. It looks as though they could learn a great deal from designing fashion in Second Life. However with clearly stated learning outcomes in hand this may not be the case. It’s easy to assume that the tasks students engage in are meaningfully related to the learning outcomes. But in fact, the baseline technical skills needed to use Second Life effectively as a fashion design platformto are fairly sophtiscated and they may have no relevance to how one actually designs clothes for the real world. This is a hyptotheical situation.
  • What about learning in Second Life? As I said Second Life was designed for entertainment and socializing. But one of the main forms of entertainment is worldbiuilding. That means constructing all the things, in Second Life. This is the molecular structure of There’s been some research that students who construct (rather than manipulate,
  • What about learning in Second Life? As I said Second Life was designed for entertainment and socializing. But one of the main forms of entertainment is worldbiuilding. That means constructing all the things, in Second Life. This is the molecular structure of There’s been some research that students who construct (rather than manipulate,
  • What about learning in Second Life? As I said Second Life was designed for entertainment and socializing. But one of the main forms of entertainment is worldbiuilding. That means constructing all the things, in Second Life. This is the molecular structure of There’s been some research that students who construct (rather than manipulate,
  • Role playing, training, planning, rehearse, Elaborate scenarios, simulations of real world situations.
  • Training, role playing
  • Training, role playing
  • Training, role playing
  • Training, role playing
  • A collaborative process includes cognitive and physical activities (Sonnenwald, Bergquist, Maglaughlin, Kupstas-Soo and Whitton, 2001) that become evident when we break down what people actually do and what they need to do it. For example, architects look at blueprints together and scientists work in laboratories.
  • A collaborative process includes cognitive and physical activities (Sonnenwald, Bergquist, Maglaughlin, Kupstas-Soo and Whitton, 2001) that become evident when we break down what people actually do and what they need to do it. For example, architects look at blueprints together and scientists work in laboratories.
  • A collaborative process includes cognitive and physical activities (Sonnenwald, Bergquist, Maglaughlin, Kupstas-Soo and Whitton, 2001) that become evident when we break down what people actually do and what they need to do it. For example, architects look at blueprints together and scientists work in laboratories.
  • This is where I’d suggest virtual environments fit on our matrix of web-based learning, co-presence
  • This is where I’d suggest virtual environments fit on our matrix of web-based learning,
  • I’m going to suggest that given our context (undergraduate and graduate education)

Learning In Virtuality 2010 Learning In Virtuality 2010 Presentation Transcript

  • Suzanne Aurilio The pICTsl Farm
  •  
    • Virtual Environments as Educational Technologies
    • People
    • Technologies
    • People and Technologies
    TakeAway 1 What’s this environment designed for? TakeAway 2 What’s My Context?
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  • 2010
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  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 3D Modeling
  • 3D Modeling
  • 3D Modeling
  • 3D Modeling
  • Simulations
  • Simulations
  • Simulations
  • Simulations
  • Simulations
  • Collaborating
  • Collaborating
  • Collaborating
  • Discussions
  • Discussions
  • Discussions
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  • + Manipulating 3D Objects + Constructing 3D Objects + A sense of place + A sense of shared space + A sense of embodiment 3D Environments Generally
  • Manipulating 3D Objects Constructing 3D Objects A sense of place A sense of shared space co-presense
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  • Select Bibliography
        • Churchhill, E. F., Snowdon, D. N., & Munro, A. J. (Eds.) (2001). Collaborative virtual environments digital places and spaces for interaction . London: Springer-Verlag.
        • Gee, J, P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. NY: Palgrove Macmillan.
        • Lankshere, C., & Knobel, M. (2006) (Second Edition) New literacies: Everyday practices & classroom learning . Berkshire, England: Open University Press.
        • Lave, J. (1988). Cognition in practice: Mind, mathematics, and culture in everyday life. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press
        • Meadows, M. S. (2008). I avatar the culture and consequences of having a second life. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.
        • Schroeder, R. (2002). Social interaction in Virtual environments: Key issues, common themes, and a framework for research. In R. Schroeder (Ed.), The social life of avatars: Presence and interaction in shared virtual environments. (pp. 1-18). London: Springer.
        • Weller, M. (2007). Virtual learning environments using choosing and developing your VLE. London: Routledge.