Teaching and Learning in Second Life as Part of a Blended Approach: Reflections and Lessons learned


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This presentation “Teaching and Learning in Second Life as Part of a Blended Approach: Reflections and Lessons learned” was given at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference 2012, on 16th March 2012, in the virtual world, Second Life. The authors are Sheila Webber, Senior Lecturer, Information School: the iSchool, University of Sheffield, UK and Ridvan Ata, PhD Candidate, School of Education, University of Sheffield, UK.

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Teaching and Learning in Second Life as Part of a Blended Approach: Reflections and Lessons learned

  1. 1. Teaching and Learning in Second Life as Part of a Blended Approach: Reflections and Lessons learnedSheila Yoshikawa Sheila Webber, Senior Lecturer, Information School: the iSchool, University of Sheffield, UKRidvan Researcher Ridvan Ata, PhD Candidate, School of Education, University of Sheffield, UK VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012Slides copyright Sheila Webber and Ridvan Ata; sources for pictures listed on the final slide
  2. 2. Outline• Who we are• Ridvan’s research journey• Context and basics of the class• Approach to teaching & class components• SL components of the class• Our reflections on teaching the class
  3. 3. Where Sheila comes from • Language: English • Climate: Temperate • Population: 60 million 1• Faculty member• Key areas of research & teaching are educational informatics & information literacy*• *"the adoption of appropriate information behaviour to identify, through whatever channel or medium, information well fitted to information needs, leading to wise and ethical use of information in society." (Webber and Johnston)
  4. 4. Sheila & Second Life
  5. 5. Where Ridvan comes from2 3 • Language: Turkish • Climate: hot, dry summers with mild, winters; harsh, snowy • Population: 75 million • Religion: Muslim, 99% VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  6. 6. Ridvan’s journey to the topic 4• MA DTCE at the University of Manchester, the current status of VLEs in HE, Moodle in 2008/9• Findings ; students prefer f2f,use VLE as repository, isolated environment rather than social• Something is missing! VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  7. 7. Ridvan’s journey into PhD• In 2009 , The University of Sheffield, UK• The School of Education under supervision of Julia Davies, Education Department, and Sheila Webber, Information School. VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  8. 8. Research QuestionsMain Question: What pedagogicalframework enables teaching in virtual worldsand f2f learning situations in HE?• Implementations of teaching in SL/f2f situations• Impacts of teaching in SL over tutors’ f2f pedagogy• Becoming a SL Tutor• Motivations of tutors for participating in VWs other than the requirement of a class activity 5 VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  9. 9. Methodology CASE STUDY • Educational Informatics module• Information Literacy module Inf6011 Inf104 • Observations • Interviews with lecture tutors• Observations • Interviews with master students• Interviews with tutors Interviews with tutors from Virtual ethnographic texture different countries (Observations and reflections from my personal journey into Second Life during 2009-2012/13 ) VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  10. 10. The context • Information School, University of Sheffield (small UG programme, larger Masters programme + PhDs) • Core module in BSc Information Management programmes + a few other students (e.g. Hong Kong exchange) • Inquiry-based approach for key classes; for all classes assessment mostly coursework (not exams)Images: University of Sheffield
  11. 11. Inf104 module: Information Literacy• Information Literacy core level 1 module: aims – to progress students information literacy in key areas (working towards being an information literate citizen) – to develop their understanding of information literacy & information behaviour theories and practice• 43 students this year, 22 from outside UK; 19 female• Using face to face, Blackboard, web resources• Mostly students used SL together in lab with Ridvan and Sheila
  12. 12. Components of IL Module Lecture Handouts Readings DiscussionsBlackboard Module Assignments VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  13. 13. Components of IL Module Lectures IL ActivitiesClassroom Individual Feedback VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  14. 14. Components of IL Module SL Familiarisation SL Mini IslandsINFOLIT IL exercisesIsland Interviews VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  15. 15. The Rationale for using SL• 50% coursework involves students – carrying out research interview in SL – analysing performance as interviewer – analysing transcript in relation to research models• Access to wider population; internationalisation• Prompts reflection and comparison with RL• As information managers, relevant to learn virtual world communication skills
  16. 16. 5th year Sheila has done this exercise, see…• Webber, S. (2010) 3D virtual learning case study. University of South Australia. http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/3DVLE/siteassets /docs/3DVirtual_Case_Study_BScIM.pdf• Webber, S. (2010) “Investigating modes of student inquiry in Second Life as part of a blended approach.” International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 1 (3), 55-70.• Some tweaks & changes each year
  17. 17. Changes?• Students – more international this year – still very little prior use of any virtual worlds• Overall learning, teaching & assessment approach – has not changed much, still problem-based & inquiry focus• Interventions – has varied a little e.g. last year student groups did oral presentation of work in f2f class rather than SL exhibit• Interviewees in assessment-related exercise – normally professionals e.g. educators, librarians etc. + a few graduate students – this year more undergraduate student interviewees
  18. 18. Infolit ischool VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  19. 19. SL: sequencing of activities (Ridvan will give details!) 1st week: Basics of moving, communicating etc. 2nd week: 9 teams of 4-5 students: each given own mini island + start info prob 3rd week: opinionator exercise and further work on mini-island + work on info prob 4th week: Teams import presentation on info problem to SL + set up quiz ball
  20. 20. Information problems• Is the “Google generation” really bad at searching for, and evaluating, information?• How is Wikipedia reliable?• Should Facebook users be concerned about their privacy and safety on Facebook?• 9 student teams, 3 tackling each problem• PPT identifies search process and their conclusions
  21. 21. SL interviewing focus 1st week: practice interviews f2f and in SLSubsequently: a studentcarries out his/her owninterview in text chat
  22. 22. Mini islands and SL Familiarisation by Ridvan Atolia,2011 by Sheila Yoshikawa,2011 VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  23. 23. SL ActivitiesThe Opinionator exercise Students’ mini island VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012 by Sheila Yoshikawa,2011
  24. 24. An example of students’ interview in SL by Ridvan Atolia,2011 VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  25. 25. Reflections ThroughOur EyesData Collection;• Tutors’ interviews,• Students’ interviews, 6• Observations, (both in f2f & inworld)• Chatlogs,• Inworld snapshots,• And our own notes and records. VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  26. 26. Sheila’s reflection• Assignment more challenging than ordinary essay: some excellent responses to challenge• Still find that mixture of learning environments valuable
  27. 27. SL familiarisation Short lecture and Assignment handout about Practice interviews briefing interviewing in triads (interviewer, Lecture, exercises, interviewee, observer)readings on research,information behaviour, Handouts data collection & Blackboard Discussions analysis, ethics module Presentations Practice interviews in triads in SL Student’s Assignment FAQs etc Individual feedback Research /communication: email, interviews F2F, SL . in SL Email, IM etc used to communicate with interviewees
  28. 28. Sheila’s reflection, continued …• Wide variety of responses to SL (& contrast with responses from educators!)• Value of having “experienced” & empathetic interviewees
  29. 29. Ridvan’s reflection• SL was a favorable environment for utilizing IBL with constructivist approach in which the students collaborated, interacted, and experimented.• Capable of having a greater presence inworld, one student ; if she could die in SL , another student ; if I read all the books in my office inworld. VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  30. 30. Ridvan’s reflections continued…• SL enabled students’ work to be visited by external visitors,• Many occurrences of the interrelationship of SL, Blackboard and RL,• the students benefited from the visual of Seven Pillars of Information Model and The Opinionator activity
  31. 31. Some things we have learned • All materials in virtual world need to be perfectly functional and operating if the viewers were peers and tech savvy • Basic SL skills such as camera control, manipulating with avatar at early stage might have a significant impact on students learning and involvement inworld • It may be difficult to make mental connection between what they do and learn in SL for freshmen students • SL might polarise the students much more than other educational tools.7 VWBPE-16 MARCH 2012
  32. 32. Sheila Yoshikawa /Sheila Webbers.webber@shef.ac.ukTwitter: sheilayoshikawahttp://information-literacy.blogspot.com/http://www.slideshare.net/sheilawebber/Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23396182@N00/Netvibes: http://www.netvibes.com/sheilawebber Ridvan Researcher / Ridvan Ata r.ata@shef.ac.uk
  33. 33. Image sources Pictures & Photos by Sheila Webber & Ridvan Ata except the following1. University of Connecticut Libraries’ Map and Geographic Information Center (MAGIC). http://www.flickr.com/photos/uconnlibrariesmagic/6732354783/2. http://www.virgintoursntravels.com/timeless_turkey3. http://www.map-of-turkey.com/4. snail. Amanito used under Creative Commons license: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amanito/513566490/5. .The Unquiet Librarian used under Creative Commons license: http://www.flickr.com/photos/10557450@N04/6632470867/6. gregw, used under Creative Commons license: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregw/4165889/sizes/m/in/photostream/7. abakedcreation used under Creative Commons license: http://www.flickr.com/photos/abakedcreation/3028287871/sizes/m/in/photostream/
  34. 34. Click here for anotecard of their talk