Inquiring in Second Life


Published on

Presentation given at the CILASS (Centre for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences) IBL cafe, on 11 December 2007, at the University of Sheffield, UK. It begins by briefly introducing the virtual world, Second Life (SL), and indicating its value for professional and staff development. It goes on to define Inqury Based Learning (IBL) and links a SL initiative to IBL strategy. There is a brief description of this initiative, in which 1st year BSc Information Management students are inquiring into SL residents' information behaviour.

Published in: Technology, Education
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Inquiring in Second Life

  1. 1. Inquiring in Second Life Sheila Webber Department of Information Studies University of Sheffield December 2007 Sheila Webber 2007
  2. 2. Outline • Second Life: introduction • IBL and SL • SL in the Dept of Info Studies • Use of Second Life in a 1st year undergraduate module: basics and team perspectives • Future uses of Infolit iSchool • Demonstration and exploration of Second Life (we hope ;-) Sheila Webber 2007
  3. 3. Second Life Sheila Webber 2007
  4. 4. Second Life • 3-D Online Digital world • Most things created by SL residents: SL fashion designers, architects, bakers, animal makers …. • 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. • Communication through text chat, Voice and Instant Messaging Sheila Webber 2007
  5. 5. Practical issues • Need broadband and good computer with right graphics card • Have to upgrade software about every 6 weeks • No access via managed desktop currently • Learning curve in basics of movement & communication inworld • Some people may have concerns about signing up for avatar or entering a dangerous space (but possibly more those not used to social software) • Max of about 40 avatars per region/island, and 45K on whole grid • Inclusion issues Sheila Webber 2007
  6. 6. Professional development & networking in SL • Opportunities to participate in events which would be too expensive/time consuming • A lot of educational events and discussions • Easier to meet/ bump into people from outside the UK • As usual, if proactive, then make more connections • Only networking with other people who are in SL… Sheila Webber 2007
  7. 7. IBL & SL …. “IBL is a term used to describe approaches to learning that are based on a process of self-directed inquiry or research. Students conduct small or large-scale inquiries that enable them to engage actively and creatively with the questions and problems of their discipline, often in collaboration with others. IBL approaches include case-study and problem-based learning (PBL) methods as well as research projects of different kinds. It is a key characteristic of IBL that inquiry tasks facilitate exploration and investigation of issues or scenarios that are open-ended enough for different responses and solutions to be possible (Khan and O´Rourke, 2005)” Khan, P. and O´Rourke, K. (2005). `Understanding Enquiry-based Learning´, In: Barrett, T., Mac Labhrainn, I., Fallon, H. (eds), Handbook of Enquiry and Problem Based Learning. Galway, CELT. Sheila Webber 2007
  8. 8. CILASS - an inquiry framework How this project fits in • Exploring what IBL means in different contexts: in a virtual world • Experimenting with new ideas and practice • Learning about ‘what works’ from students’ and tutors’ perspectives: interview/ reflection/ focus groups • Sharing ideas, critically examining what we do: like today! • Carrying out evaluation and research: see above • Building practice and theory: we are investigating a genuinely new area in my field Sheila Webber 2007
  9. 9. A vision of universities as… “Places where academics work collaboratively in partnership with students as members of inclusive scholarly knowledge-building communities; where teaching and research are integrated, and where both students and academics are engaged in the challenging process of coming to understand the world through systematic investigation and collaborative decision-making in the light of evidence” (Brew 2006) • In this case – a virtual world! Sheila Webber 2007
  10. 10. My Department in SL • July onwards lent office by Eduserv for Centre for Information Literacy Research: started discussion series (every week or 2 – continued on island) • Successful bid to CILASS to fund island for a year • Island delivered early October: Infolit iSchool • Started teaching on 22 October (!) Sheila Webber 2007
  11. 11. Infolit iSchool • Venues for discussion, reflection, chilling: aim to create a relaxing/ welcoming environment • Some food/play areas • “Build” area left empty (or with temporary stuff) to allow practice/ exhibition/ experimentation • Not suitable for “high prim” activities • Everything can change – but want to keep basic landmarks stable for the moment Sheila Webber 2007
  12. 12. Student context • Compulsory activity (feeding into assignment) for 1st year BSc Information Management students in (core) Information Literacy class (21 students) • In terms of IBL, links through to Sem 2 core module introduced last year (Inquiry in Information Management: see slide at end of sequence) • No student had used virtual world before (nb SL main grid is 18+ only) • Work with 2 librarians: in Sheffield (Lyn Parker) & St Andrews (Vickie Cormie) Sheila Webber 2007
  13. 13. Inquiry in SL • Aim to deepen engagement with subject & class & part of induction into research: in Sem 2 they undertake their own IM mini-projects • Students undertaking critical incident interviews with SL residents (a time when they had an information need relating to a SL activity) in SL itself • Currently (I hope!) Carrying out interviews after email to SL Educators list – good response - international • Students will analyse transcripts in relation to models of RL information behaviour + audit interview technique for assessment (about 40% of a 20 credit module) Sheila Webber 2007
  14. 14. Sheila Webber 2007
  15. 15. Sheila Webber 2007
  16. 16. Lyn’s observations Vicki’s observations: ask her in SL! Sheila Webber 2007
  17. 17. Sheila’s Observations • SL a learning (and play) space – more like a classroom space than a website – with new possibilities • Has to be pedagogic rationale with students or they may see it as just faffing about in SL • Students won’t automatically be engaged & there is a learning curve, even for gamers (but does have fun factor) • When not so rushed – organise more quests etc. as part of intro to improve engagement & hopefully student helpers too • Valuable as staff/professional development environment • Transmissive approaches even duller in SL than in Real Life – need activity rather than content Sheila Webber 2007
  18. 18. Next semester? • Discussion series /conference at professional level • Educational Informatics class • Possibly other projects/activities • Other information literacy- related activities • Other people in TUoS? Sheila Webber 2007
  19. 19. Sheila Webber Sheila Yoshikawa Sheila Webber 2007
  20. 20. Resources • Kay, J and Fitzgerald, S. (2007) Second Life in Education (wiki with useful information for educators and students, and information on the authors’ own projects – they are Australian educators) • Kemp, J (Ed) (2007) Second Life Education Wiki: SimTeach ducation_Wiki • Second Life Educators List (SLED). (Very high volume discussion list, but is an invaluable resource) • There are further resources linked from these e.g. at Sheila Webber 2007
  21. 21. Inquiry in IM • First-years generating their own research questions Does Facebook support • Working together and with tutors on students’ small-scale research projects personal information • Interacting with researchers and management? practitioners • Using technologies – blogs, WebCT MOLE What does mobile phone user behaviour contribute to • Accessing info resources in class detrimental environmental effects and how can these • Collecting and analysing data be reduced? • Presenting posters at research ‘conference’ • Assessment: reflection+ blog + poster Sheila Webber 2007