"The Relationship BetweenIdentity and a Students Ability toLearn Within the Virtual. How Willthis Change in the Future?"By Megan Tyrrell
Identity/ in the Virtual World• Identity is the characteristics that determine who a person is. It is the fact of being and incorporatesall the aspects that come together to make a person who they are.• Communicating Understanding Evaluating Projective Identity.Creating a projective identity involves thereflection of one’s existing values onto asecond life character. (2003 p.55).“Projective identity is externalised on thescreen, in the form of what the virtual identitysays and does” (Wankel & Kingsley,2009,p.190)But, what is Projective Identity?
Education and the Virtual WorldEducation in the virtual world are a part where students canconduct learning…but is a two sided coin:De Freitas argues that learningthrough an immersive spacehelps students to engage inexperiences and gain a sense ofempowerment (2009 p.4)WHEREAS Buckingham believes it is important toconsider that we live in a society that has a digitaldivide and that the use of technology in schoolsmay often an advantage to some and deterioratethe equality school should provide (2007 p.96)
KEY WORDS/PHARSES thatbring IDENITY and EDUCATION together.TEAM WORKENGAGMENT:* In relation to the virtual world engagementrefers to, in effect, being presence even if not inreality. In education it is students taking part inlearning and communicating through a simulatedworld.TELEPRESENCE:* This refers to the virtual presence ofsomebody in the virtual. It is the communicationof actions through signal using technology.INNOVATIVESKILLS:* New, creative way of doingsomething.* Creating a new identity that thestudent then uses to communicatein a new, inventive environment.
Buckingham discusses thatthe growing digital culture hasled to a struggle for control inthe “socialisation andenculturation of childrenduring their time in school”(2007, p.9).Affordances of the use of virtual worldsin education and the link identity:Issues with the use of virtual worlds ineducation and the link with identity:Examples:It is believed that second lifeoffers all students the opportunityto use the technology to learnfrom each other and all becometechnological experts throughteamwork (Prensky, 2010 p.64).
Despite any problematic areas,Advancements in both digital technologies and learning theories are transforming the way we teachand learn and those advantage are refining our views of what it means to learn in a contemporarypost-industrial age (Wankel & Blessinger, 2012 p.3).All advancements intechnologies and theway students learnrelate back toIDENTITY!“Increase higher order thinking anddecision making” (Wanker & Blessginer,2010 p.4)Different skills necessary “to functioneffectively in a globalised world” (Wanker &Blessginer, 2010 p.4)The use of the virtual world in educationexposes students to a diversity ofworldwide views and opinions. (Peacheyand Childs, 2011, p.15)
The use of the virtual world in education, places emphasis on a new type of social interaction. Allsocial interaction connects back to identity. It is natural a human beings social interaction witheach other to be affected by identity. For example:Both the above are printed screen examples of virtual worlds used as educational tools. One is froma higher education virtual learning environment for Newman University. The second one is a virtualeducation resource known as ‘Minamiopia’ that young children can use to develop their Maths,English and Science from home.
Information:* Identity in the virtual educational world is about information.* The Virtual is “made up of information rather than matter” (Kollock & Smith, 1999,p.29)* “Information spreads and diffuses; there is no law of the conservation ofinformation” (Kollock & Smith, 1999, p.29)* The identity in the virtual world is based on the energy, time and effort that is put intothe creation.
Special Education, Empowerment andIdentityA sense of empowerment is given through using the virtual world to express theself you feel you truly are inside (Peachey and Childs, 2011, p.4).“Free from the body’sunifying anchor” (Kollock &Smith, 1999, p.29)* Students can interact with other users withoutbeing considered in anyway different because oftheir disability* The students in special education can interactwith tasks in their own time dependant on theirrate of ability in different areas.* Escapism from their real life struggles.
If a student has will power they will be successful. The will power to achievewill result in success, no matter how they are being taught. The will to learnwill carry students forwards into any new pedagogical situation. (Barnett,2007 p.15)Also, Barnett (2007) text, ‘Being a Student in an Age of Uncertainty’ argues:* Using a virtual representation of one’s self to interact with others, learn and submit work iscurrently a new pedagogical situation.* Such uncertainty is a positive way of preparing students for the intellectual uncertainty which isfundamental to a life.*Such academic ways of thinking and practising prepares the students for the future.
In Conclusion – Current Positive and Negatives:Positive for students identity and education because…1. Everyone has a voice in there2. Communication with a teacher outside of the classroom so no fear of being judged publicly bypeers on answers.3. Allows self exploration of material4. Allows for self development at own paceProblematic for identity and education because...1. Can be anonymous for the student2. Misses key classroom interactions3. Can be a place for learners to "hide"4. Learning may be quicker with a good teacher/facilitator
My Predictions for the Future1. Access via Smartphones2. 1 to 1 laptop programs3. VLE catered to ability. For example school may have several levels of theone unit. The student types their name in and has a personalised VLEbased on your APS (Academic Point score)4. The use of environments that a student can be inside of in schools. The useof head sets, the student can actually move around and learn this way.5. Manipulation of it with a smart 3D TV used in classrooms.Negative Future Social Factors…
Finally despite what I think will happen in the future believethe ultimate goal should be, regardless of the technologyused or the instructional methods employed, to startstudents down the path of becoming lifelong learnersthrough the help of immersive, empowering activities.
Reference List* Gee, J (2003a) What Video Games have to teach us about Learning and Literacy. New York:Palgrave MacMillan p.55* Wankel, C,. Kingsley, J (2009 ). Higher Education in Virtual Worlds - Teaching and Learning inSecond Life.. Bingley : Emerald Group Publishing Limited. P190.* Buckingham (2007) Beyond Technology: Children’s Learning in the Age of Digital Culture.Cambridge: Polity Press.* De Freitas (2009) Serious Virtual Worlds: A scooping study. Bristol: Joint Information SystemsCommittee [Online]. Available athttp://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/seriousvirtualworldsv1.pdf (Accessed: 14thApr 2013)* Wankel,C,. Blessinger, P (2012). Increasing Student Engagement and Retention Using Immersive .Bingley : Emerald Group Publishing Limited. p.3-4* Childs, M. (2011a) ‘Identity: A Primer’, in Peachey, A. & Childs, M. (eds.) Reinventing Ourselves:Contemporary Concepts of Identity in Virtual Worlds. London: Springer* Kollock,P,. Smith, M (1999). Communities in Cyberspace . London: Routledge . p29.* Barnett, R (2007). A Will to Learn: Being a Student in an Age of Uncertainty. England: OpenUniversity Press. p3-6.