Introduction to Second Life for Inquiry-Based Learning


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This presentation will briefly introduce the virtual world, Second Life (SL), and indicate its value for Inquiry Based Learning (IBL). The paper describes a CILASS initiative, in which 1st year BSc Information Management students inquired into SL residents' information behaviour and will include feedback from the students and the personal reflections of the course leader and a librarian supporting students in SL. Other educational uses of SL for IBL will also be discussed. Outcomes: to explore the value of using Second Life to deliver IBL; to discuss the practicalities of using Second Life with students.

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  • Sheila Webber works in Department of Information Studies, I work in the Library. We have been collaborating on this project over the last year. Sheila is in Australia so I am presenting on behalf of us both. This is the first session of 2. We are also offering a workshop where delegates with an avatar can go in world and participate in a discussion around the possibilities for Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) using SL, others can attend the f2f workshop, view the discussion and post questions through the facilitator. More information is available in the pack. Before I start, just to give me an idea of your existing knowledge about Second Life, can I have a show of hands for how many people have heard of it; keep your hand up if you have got an avatar and have previously logged on and now keep your hand up if you use it regularly. Maggie Kohime (me in Second Life) was born on 26th April 2007. When registering your avatar you have to pick from a list of available surnames but can choose any first name you like such as Dragonslayer, Intellagirl, or standard names such as Maggie, so long as it has not already been used. Sheila is Sheila Yoshikawa. The first decision you need to make therefore is whether to be anonymous in Second Life or to try to indicate through your name who you are.
  • Introduction to Second Life for Inquiry-Based Learning

    1. 1. Introduction to Second Life for Inquiry-Based Learning Lyn Parker and Sheila Webber University of Sheffield LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Second Life: introduction </li></ul><ul><li>IBL and SL </li></ul><ul><li>An inquiry-based intervention in SL </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback from students, and reflection from course tutors </li></ul><ul><li>Educational possibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    3. 3. LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    4. 4. Second Life <ul><li>3D online virtual world, also known as a MUVE ( multi-user virtual environments ) </li></ul><ul><li>Most things created by SL residents: SL fashion designers, architects, bakers, animal makers …. </li></ul><ul><li>Avatars- 3D representation of yourself – free to signup and can live on freebies, but need Linden dollars if want to own land, buy clothes etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Communication is through Chat, Voice and/or Instant Messaging </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    5. 5. Practical issues <ul><li>Time – operates on SL time which is 8 hours behind UK time </li></ul><ul><li>Software revisions about every 6 weeks, can cause problems </li></ul><ul><li>Need broadband and good computer with right graphics card </li></ul><ul><li>At Sheffield there is no access via our “managed desktop” currently </li></ul><ul><li>Learning curve in basics of movement, etiquette & communication inworld </li></ul><ul><li>Some people may have concerns about signing up for avatar or entering a dangerous space (but possibly more those not used to social software or gaming) </li></ul><ul><li>Max of about 40 avatars per region/island, and 45K on whole grid </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusion issues </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    6. 6. Library Services in Second Life LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    7. 7. Infolit iSchool <ul><li>Successful bid to CILASS to fund island for a year </li></ul><ul><li>Island delivered early October; Sheila Webber has done all the development work, setting up the island and different areas for her students </li></ul><ul><li>Provided us with a library area </li></ul><ul><li>Started teaching on 22 October </li></ul><ul><li>Also working with Vicky Cormie, librarian at St Andrews </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    8. 8. LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    9. 9. An Inquiry based intervention in Second Life LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    10. 10. Context <ul><li>Compulsory activity (feeding into assignment) for 1 st year BSc Information Management students in (core) Information Literacy class (21 students) </li></ul><ul><li>Aims for strengthening IBL approach in programme: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Help students deepen their engagement with, and understanding of, Information Management (IM) as an academic discipline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Progress students’ research understanding and skills through levels 1 to 3 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No student had used virtual world before </li></ul><ul><li>Course tutor (Sheila) 2 librarians: in Sheffield (Lyn) & St Andrews (Vickie Cormie) </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    11. 11. CILASS - an inquiry framework How this intervention fits in <ul><li>Exploring what IBL means in different contexts: in a virtual world </li></ul><ul><li>Experimenting with new ideas and practice SL as learning space </li></ul><ul><li>Learning about ‘what works’ from students’ and tutors’ perspectives: interview/ reflection/ questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing ideas, critically examining what we do: like today! </li></ul><ul><li>Carrying out evaluation and research: see above </li></ul><ul><li>Building practice and theory: investigating genuinely new research questions in the Information Management field </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    12. 12. Inquiry in SL <ul><li>In terms of inquiry skills, the Inf104 module overall is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>developing information literacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>developing skills in data collection and analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Students undertook critical incident interviews with SL residents (a time when they had an information need relating to a SL activity) in SL itself </li></ul><ul><li>Students analysed transcripts in relation to models of RL information behaviour + audited their interview technique; for an assessment (about 40% of a 20 credit module) </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewees were recruited via an email to SL Educators list – good response - international </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    13. 13. Supporting activities <ul><li>Class activity over 3 weeks – group research/ presentations on whether SL was dangerous (in real life) </li></ul><ul><li>Induction to basics of SL over several weeks (in SL) </li></ul><ul><li>Practice interviewing (in real life & SL) </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    14. 14. Tutor reflections on this intervention <ul><li>Students’ analysis of interview transcripts was reasonable to excellent </li></ul><ul><li>Since was genuinely novel research area produced some data of genuine research interest: more exciting for tutor and students </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewing was more authentic experience: richer commentaries on interviewing than when was a “Real World Only” exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Preparation for the tasks paid off in terms of achievement and attitude to SL </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    15. 15. Tutor reflections on SL and IBL <ul><li>SL a learning (and play) space – more like a classroom space than a website </li></ul><ul><li>Novelty of environment may stimulate curiosity </li></ul><ul><li>Transmissive approaches even duller in SL than in Real Life – need activity rather than content and encourages PBL or IBL approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Has to be pedagogic rationale with students or they may see it as just wasting time in SL </li></ul><ul><li>SL experiences can stimulate reflections on RL experience </li></ul><ul><li>Automatic transcripts if using chat – useful for reflection and analysis </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    16. 16. Student Feedback <ul><li>Some thought it was ok; some could see enhancement and interest </li></ul><ul><li>Technology was major frustration for them </li></ul><ul><li>SL did engage some not engaged by other activities </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    17. 17. <ul><li>“ I'd like to take this opportunity to say I *really* enjoyed doing the interview task - I'd say it made a great use of the advantages of Second Life, connecting to people who might be geographically far, far away, and giving a more personal element to the interaction that plain chat would not have had.” (student email) </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    18. 18. My observations <ul><li>Blank design sheet for library and activities </li></ul><ul><li>Replicate campus buildings or open space? </li></ul><ul><li>Expectations of our users – preference for talking to a real person </li></ul><ul><li>Communication methods – flag up when online </li></ul><ul><li>Technical expertise or buy products? </li></ul><ul><li>Help with searching, security, copyright, evaluation of information, information literacy </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    19. 19. Educational Possibilities of SL <ul><li>Movement in 3D space. </li></ul><ul><li>Machinima - animated filmmaking within a real-time virtual 3D environment, tactics such as in an emergency response </li></ul><ul><li>Appreciation of space - such as in the reproduction of Roma and the Globe Theatre. </li></ul><ul><li>Interactions in a space - such as managing a hotel. </li></ul><ul><li>3D and scale - such as in the simulation of a heart murmur or molecules. </li></ul><ul><li>Role playing - avatars and interactions with different groups such as ageing, schizophrenia, patients or customers. </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual psychology and sociology. (Tom Werner, 2008) </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors Jeremy Kemp’s Hear Murmur
    20. 20. Werner continued <ul><li>Building and design </li></ul><ul><li>Clothing design. </li></ul><ul><li>3D exercises and testing. </li></ul><ul><li>Constructivist activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Role-play scenes from books. </li></ul><ul><li>Building of something to illustrate a concept. </li></ul><ul><li>Creative arts – writing, photography, music. </li></ul><ul><li>Visualisation of data – weather, planes in flight, Standard and Poor’s 500 index, IBM Wimbledon tennis. </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid prototyping and co-design - NASA CoLab </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors Sistine Chapel
    21. 21. Questions? <ul><li>Contact Details: </li></ul><ul><li>Lyn Parker </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Sheila Webber </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors
    22. 22. Resources <ul><li>Adventures of Sheila Yoshikawa </li></ul><ul><li>Kay, J and Fitzgerald, S. (2007) Second Life in Education </li></ul><ul><li>Kemp, J (Ed) (2007) Second Life Education Wiki: SimTeach </li></ul><ul><li>Parker, L. (2008), “More questions than answers: the reflections of Maggie Kohime, a virtual librarian in Second Life”, ALISS Quarterly, Vol. 3 No 2, pp13-17. </li></ul><ul><li>Parker, L. (2008) Second Life: the 7 th face of the library? Program v42(3) Special issue on new technologies (in print) </li></ul><ul><li>Second Life Educators List (SLED) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>LTEA conference June 2008 Sheffield © The authors