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Using Virtual World Technologies Across the Disciplines

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Panel Presentation at Texas A&M University, February 10, 2011

Panel Presentation at Texas A&M University, February 10, 2011

Published in: Education
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  • 1. The Year in Review Presented at the Teaching with Technology Conference Texas A&M University February 10, 2011 Copyright 2011 Cindy Raisor, Wendy Kenney-Kennicutt, Rochell R. McWhorter, Rob McGeachin, Amanda Nowlin-Obanion & Jim Snell
  • 2. Our Second Life® Faculty Panel Rochell McWhorter Avatar: Rachelle Munro Wendy Kenney-Kennicutt Avatar: Julia Tiraxibar Amanda Nowlin-Obanion Avatar: Sailor Flux Jim Snell Avatar: JimS Seid Cindy Raisor Avatar: Marnie Mehler Rob McGeachin Avatar: Murdock Steuart
  • 3. Overview
    • Why do you use Virtual World Technology (VWT)? Lessons Learned
    • How have you implemented VWT into your courses successfully, i.e. what works? what doesn’t?
        • Planning
        • Implementing
        • Assessing
        • Following Up
    Copyright 2011 Cindy Raisor, Wendy Kenney-Kennicutt, Rochell R. McWhorter, Rob McGeachin, Amanda Nowlin-Obanion & Jim Snell
  • 4.
    • What does SL offer beyond tools/options offered in more traditional contexts? (Why do you use it?)
    Copyright 2011 Cindy Raisor, Wendy Kenney-Kennicutt, Rochell R. McWhorter, Rob McGeachin, Amanda Nowlin-Obanion & Jim Snell
  • 5.
    • What suggestions can you offer for implementing VWT into your courses successfully in each of these stages?
          • Planning
          • Implementing/Instructing
          • Assessing
          • Following Up
    Copyright 2011 Cindy Raisor, Wendy Kenney-Kennicutt, Rochell R. McWhorter, Rob McGeachin, Amanda Nowlin-Obanion & Jim Snell
  • 6. 1. Planning Copyright 2011 Cindy Raisor, Wendy Kenney-Kennicutt, Rochell R. McWhorter, Rob McGeachin, Amanda Nowlin-Obanion & Jim Snell
    • As you plan for a course that will use Second Life®--Determine how the technology will help you achieve your learning objectives and communicate this clearly to your students. If the students don’t understand why you are using Second Life®, they won’t fully benefit from your instruction with it.
    • Survey your students’ understanding, uses, and perceptions about technologies. This will help you know where to begin instruction, how large the learning curve will be, and how much time to allow for basic training.
    • Use the technology for multiple activities or assignments. Since SL requires an investment of time and research from the instructor and training for the student, you should plan to coordinate multiple activities that build upon the skills the student is learning.
  • 7.
    • Learn how to use the most important tools in SL (moving, communicating, working with inventory, etc.) so that you can make the most of your time with the students.
    • Explore the tools for instructors in the virtual TAMU Learning Center where you can receive instruction and free teaching tools that can be used in your virtual space.
    • Have a space where your class can call home.
    • Use an Ethernet connection (over wireless) for connecting to SL.
    • Use a headset with microphone .  Using the microphone on your computer may result in an echo for your listeners.
    • Test procedures and technologies in SL before class. Have a second avatar with only “student” level rights to test things you set up for students to make sure it works correctly for them. As “instructors” we may have rights that let us do things the students can’t that may override something that is a problem for the students.
    Copyright 2011 Cindy Raisor, Wendy Kenney-Kennicutt, Rochell R. McWhorter, Rob McGeachin, Amanda Nowlin-Obanion & Jim Snell
  • 8.
    • As you implement Second Life® into your instruction—
    • Tag team your presentation so that while one avatar is presenting, another can be typing the highlights in the chat box for everyone to read, reinforcing what was said and providing a written transcript. (This procedure also helps with audio problems.)
    • Review the why as much as the how . You may want to begin instruction by asking the students what they are learning and then proceed by connecting these experiences to your objectives and to other technologies with which they are already familiar.
    • Provide time during class (or in discussion blogs) for students to express any concerns they have about using this technology and encourage them to answer one another’s questions, i.e., use the opportunity to encourage critical thinking and problem solving. Consider discussing any technology or other key issues in class so that students learn from one another and they feel vested in the innovative use of the technology you are using.
    2. Implementing Copyright 2011 Cindy Raisor, Wendy Kenney-Kennicutt, Rochell R. McWhorter, Rob McGeachin, Amanda Nowlin-Obanion & Jim Snell
  • 9.
    • Use every opportunity as a “teachable moment.” Sometimes the unexpected happens (for example, your avatar may load without all of his/her clothing; it really happens!). Help your students to see your sense of humor and your positive attitude.
    • Consider holding virtual office hours , especially during times when you may not be available to hold face-to-face meetings.
    Copyright 2011 Cindy Raisor, Wendy Kenney-Kennicutt, Rochell R. McWhorter, Rob McGeachin, Amanda Nowlin-Obanion & Jim Snell
  • 10.
    • As you assess how well (or not) Second Life® worked to meet your learning outcomes--
    •  
    • Reflect on what you did: what worked and what didn't. Involve students in these reflections. Consider asking students to respond to prompts in their professional blogs about their experiences with the technology. These can also be incorporated later into their professional portfolios in the sections where they describe uses of technology or their ability to learn new things. Example Discussion Prompt: Explain to an outsider (ex: recruiter) how you met challenges prompted by a new technology. How will these skills transfer in the workplace?
    3. Assessing Copyright 2011 Cindy Raisor, Wendy Kenney-Kennicutt, Rochell R. McWhorter, Rob McGeachin, Amanda Nowlin-Obanion & Jim Snell Establish control and experimental groups (if you have large or multiple sections) and compare the results of your assessment tools from each group.
  • 11.
    • Network with your professional peers.
      • Join SL groups, attend conferences, etc. where you can learn from the experiences of others using SL. Two places to begin include Virtual World Roundtable and Train for Success.
    • Be available for research opportunities. Graduate students exploring how VWT can be used to increase spatial ability and understanding of complex theories may seek your help as they complete their graduate research.
    4. Following Up Copyright 2011 Cindy Raisor, Wendy Kenney-Kennicutt, Rochell R. McWhorter, Rob McGeachin, Amanda Nowlin-Obanion & Jim Snell

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