AVATAR - Added Value of teaching in a virtual world


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AVATAR is a two year European Multilateral project under the Lifelong learning programme 2007-2013, Sub programme Comenius aimed at teaching secondary school teacher to use virtual worlds in education.
AVATAR multi-actors include seven organizations from six EU countries: (Coordinator) Consorzio FOR.COM (Italy), FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences (Austria), Burgas Free University (Bulgaria), University of Southern Denmark (Denmark), Universidad Nacional de Educaciòn a Distancia (Spain), University of Hertfordshire Higher Education Corporation (UK), SOPHia In Action Consulting (Italy)
For more information see http://www.avatarproject.eu

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Hi! Thanks for your reply and video! I had a look at your vAcademia website and it looks really interesting. Do you have a community of teachers behind the 3d VW? i would definitely like to know more... we stay in touch - cristina
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  • It is very interesting for our project. We also try to use different “learning frameworks” in our educational virtual world vAcademia (vacademia.com)
    In this VW any class can be recorded (3d). It allow us to find some new “learning frameworks”.

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  • Creazione di competenze extra ( Campbell, 2009 ): nei mondi virtuali gli studenti possono acquisire competenze extra, ad esempio capacità di problem solving, una migliore comunicazione, capacità di lavorare in squadra, creatività, capacità di leadership…)
  • Inge Knudsen &amp;quot;Teaching English and building skills / Creating your own learning objects and environments“ Inge insegna inglese e building skills in Second Life Gerhilde Meissl-Egghart “Language learning in SL: experience mad and teacher resources” Gerhilde Meissl-Egghart è fondatrice e direttore generale di talkademy.org e partecipa al progetto AVALON. Charlotte S. Jensen “Making history come alive”. Charlotte S. Jensen fa parte del Danish National Museum e si occupa di promuovere la storia in SL.
  • Ogni partner ha promosso il Corso nelle scuole secondarie del proprio paese (Austria, Bulgaria, Danimarca, Italia, Spagna e Gran Bretagna)
  • Carried out by Claudia Malta teacher of Italian Literature and History and her students of class 4ª B Mercurio, Technical School “Giuseppe Ginanni”, Ravenna (IT). The project work involved 17 students aged 17-18 during the period 1 April – 7 May 2011. The lenght of the project was of a total of 24 hours, 8 curricular and 16 extra-curricular hours. The idea is of the project work is to realize a Bazaar with all the 3d objects created by students . This project work focuses on competences rather than disciplinary contents Phase one: preparatory phase Creation of Second Life accounts for the students. Creation of the students&apos; Avatars. Phase two: laboratory phase Frontal lessons and dialogues in-world in the open-air classroom in the parcel of the AVATAR estate. Operative part of the project (focused on problem-solving) with the aim of acquiring basic skills to interact with objects in SL and to realize “interesting” 3d object, realistic in terms of dimensions, with an eye to aesthetic and using scripts.
  • In the meantime, competences acquired with the AVATAR project has been translated in a video used by a group of students to apply for the competition Enterprise – European Business Game, developed together with a teacher of Business Economy in the same school. The Enterprise project foreseen the guided set-up of an enterprise, starting from an idea for a product or service to be put on the market. The AVATAR group realized a video in SL for the commercialisation of a carpet that, once stamped, activates the lights of cabinets or showcases so that the power consumption is limited to the time that people look the cabinets. The Avatar Group has been placed sixth and the video has been fundamental for this success. Here is the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbmEFaR_VKU Another group of the same class won the national award and they are now working for the European competition in the end of June 2011. This has been one of the more exiting moments of the project: in a few weeks students acquired competences that that were able to spend in a different context and with a great creativity. Reflections from this project: Many of the colleagues at school were interested in the progress of the project work: the ICT responsible, the board of teachers and even the Didactic Manager entered SL to see the Bazaar. The students became the “Avatar group” of the school The project work was very constructive and collaborative. The teachers believe that the project contributed to built skills, in particular in terms of problem solving and pointed towards personal attitudes and giving value to them.
  • AVATAR - Added Value of teaching in a virtual world

    1. 1. ADDED VALUE OF TEACHING IN A VIRTUAL WORLD Ilaria Mascitti Head of the R&D Office Cristina Stefanelli Project Manager
    2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Who we are </li></ul><ul><li>The AVATAR Project </li></ul><ul><li>Project phases </li></ul><ul><li>Reccomendations </li></ul><ul><li>What’s next? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Who we are <ul><li>FOR.COM, established in 1990, is a public non profit InterUniversity Consortium recognised by the Italian Ministry of Education. </li></ul><ul><li>FOR.COM develops and delivers Open Distance Learning courses, applying innovative solutions and interactive tools in order to promote flexible and collaborative learning processes. </li></ul>WWW.FORCOM.IT
    4. 4. The AVATAR project PROJECT AVATAR - Added Value of teAching in a virTuAl woRld PROGRAMME Lifelong Learning Programme Subprogramme Comenius DURATION 24 months (1 December 2009 – 30 November 2011) AIM Teach secondary school teachers to use virtual worlds in education through an on-line pilot course and virtual laboratories .
    5. 5. Partners For.Com. Formazione per la Comunicazione Italy -    www.forcom.it Information Design FH JOANNEUM University of Applied Sciences Austria - www.fh-joanneum.at Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia Spain - www.uned.es University of Southern Denmark Denmark- www.sdu.dk Burgas Free University Bulgaria - www.bfu.bg University of Hertfordshire UK - www.herts.ac.uk SOPH.ia In Action Consulting Italy - www.sophiaconsulting.eu
    6. 6. Cross-Cooperation ST.ART STreet ARTists in a virtual space” Comenius project LLP Exchange of best practices and lessons learnt AVALON Access to Virtual and Action Learning live Online LLP Support with the estate in SL AVATAR invited keynote speakers for the in-world seminars NIFLAR Networked Interaction in Foreign Language Acquisition and Research LLP Support with the estate in SL MUVENATION LLP Comenius Transferibility to differtent target groups
    7. 7. Cross-Cooperation [email_address] the Anti-Violence-Campus at Second Life Exchange of lesson learnt for the organisation and promotion of virtual seminars ReDNet EU Health Programme Guest speakers NEXT-TELL FP7 for R&D ICT Sustainability issue
    8. 8. Background <ul><li>How do you motivate and engage secondary school teachers in virtual worlds teaching? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you design a teacher training course that truly empowers teachers giving them the knowledge and skills required to design and carry out teaching and learning activities in virtual worlds? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you support teachers and help them benefit from the potentials and overcome the pitfalls of delivering a virtual worlds course to their own pupils? </li></ul>
    9. 9. Project Phases RESEARCH DESIGN AND PRODUCTION EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION We are here! 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
    10. 10. Research: which VW? <ul><li>Research & comparative analysis on existing VW </li></ul><ul><li>Assessing the quality of teaching/learning features </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Essential criteria: Multi user, persistent state world etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Desirable criteria: Voice chat, intuitive building tools etc., resources available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost criteria: Free or low cost etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Choice </li></ul>RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION
    11. 11. Research: Educational perspectives <ul><li>Studies of learning theories and best practice </li></ul><ul><li>Students can achieve extra competencies ( Campbell, 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Six “learning frameworks” ( Lim, 2009 ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning by exploring </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning by collaborating </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning by being </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning by building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning by championing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning by expressing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Salmon’s model for emoderation and e-Tivities (Tasks) (Salmon, 2004) </li></ul>RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION
    12. 12. The AVATAR Course: curriculum <ul><ul><li>Introduction Module </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-Learning Platform Intro. Module </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>V-Learning Platform Intro. Module </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>V-Learning Intermediate Module </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>V-learning Advanced Module - Basic Object Creation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>V-Learning Advanced Module - Advanced Object Creation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>V-Learning Educational Design Module </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ongoing V-Learning Seminar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>V-Learning Project </li></ul></ul>NATIONAL MODULES INTERNATIONAL MODULES Extract from the AVATAR curriculum RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION
    14. 14. The e-learning platform 5918 users access 2203 posts RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION national international
    15. 15. AVATAR Estate in SL RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION The Hub : Info point and inspiration Auditorium Resource Centres Dissemination path
    16. 16. In-world seminars <ul><li>Inge Knudsen &quot;Teaching English and building skills / Creating your own learning objects and environments“ </li></ul><ul><li>Gerhilde Meissl-Egghart “Language learning in SL: experience mad and teacher resources” </li></ul><ul><li>Charlotte S. Jensen “Making history come alive” </li></ul>RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION
    17. 17. Area for teachers’ project works RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION
    18. 18. Project works Teaching history in Second Life History level C Robin Hood Quest and photo safari English as a Foreign Language Quadratic functions and their properties Mathematisc International Missing Children Day in SL Mediacompetence, project management Stars and Hertzsprung-Russel Diagram Astrophisics Ecological experiment for facing different realities in the modern world Environment and resolving them Chemistry and Ecology Architectural Heritage History Assembly process for the construction of industrial hall Construction Technology Existence and Das Man-analysis of video of the song Another Brik In The Wall-Pink Floyd Philosophy Exploring The Renaisance: A Virtual Quest English as a Foreign Language Second Language in Second Life English as a Foreign Language El aprendizaje de la lengua española a través de concursos televisivos en SL Lengua castellana y Literatura Chemistry lab: science in 3D world on nuclear power and alternative energy Science / Chemistry The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, that is, our environment, pollution, and the man who ruins it with his irresponsible conduct Law and Economics Reading Soon - Book trailers to enhance your pleasure of reading English literature Petits pas à l’Enfer de Dante Alighieri Italian Literature Reconstruction of the archaeological site of Paestum and Velia and its environments: guided tour of ruins and in particular of temples. English What & how can I do? Regulatory text – Instructional / procedural text. Italian Literature Shots from Europe - Communicate, share and enjoy your Europe, editing a travel guide. English Petits pas à l’Enfer de Dante Alighieri French as foreign language n/ Italian Literature Renaissance Virtual Quest English Language Arts The Enemy of All: piracy from the ancient to the contemporary period Italian/history-geo RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION
    19. 19. Experimentation phase <ul><li>From 17 January to 17 May, c.a. 100 hrs </li></ul><ul><li>120 secondary school teachers enrolled + 3 observers </li></ul><ul><li>c.a. 290 pupils involved in the project works (aged 16-18) </li></ul>Distribution of participant per country RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION
    20. 20. Case description #1 What & how can I do? <ul><li>A lesson of the project work ”What & how can I do?” </li></ul>RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION
    21. 21. Case description #1 What & how can I do? <ul><li>Success factors: </li></ul><ul><li>Transferability of the acquired competences </li></ul><ul><li>Competences acquired with the AVATAR project has been translated in a video used by a group of students to apply for the competition Enterprise – European Business Game </li></ul><ul><li>The Enterprise project foreseen the guided set-up of an enterprise, starting from an idea for a product or service to be put on the market. </li></ul><ul><li>The Avatar Group has been placed sixth </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbmEFaR_VKU </li></ul>RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION
    22. 22. Recommendations <ul><li>Recommendations for running the course for teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Consider starting at the beginning of the school academic year and allow more elapsed time for teachers to develop their project work </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware that the course is very time-consuming for technical moderators who need to be in-world to assist teachers throughout the course </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendations for successful delivery of an E-Learning Course </li></ul><ul><li>Choose carefully the platform and technical environment, so it supports all planed activities and is easy to use and to handle. </li></ul><ul><li>Allow for sufficient time for activities and consider appropriate scaffolding of participants </li></ul><ul><li>Provide support and material in various languages (national discussion group) as to reduce the language barer </li></ul>RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION
    23. 23. Recommendations <ul><li>Recommendations for carrying out teaching and learning activities in -world </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers will need to support their students in-world </li></ul><ul><li>If planning to use existing resources, get the necessary documentation and information from the owner prior to use with students </li></ul><ul><li>Organize repeating synchronous activities / events to bust and maintain motivation and participation </li></ul><ul><li>Invite participants to inform their colleagues and managers of the activities in-world, they will contribute to motivate students </li></ul><ul><li>Invite participants to involve the technical staff in their school at an early stage, they will help with all the technical problems (open Firewalls, install Viewer, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Valorize the work of your students. </li></ul>RESEARCH DESIGN EXPERIMENTATION EVALUATION
    24. 24. What next? <ul><li>Talkademy.org will host a AVATAR landing point in Second Life after the end of the EU funding. This landing point will host: </li></ul>
    25. 25. What next? <ul><li>Demonstration Session at the EDEN Conference </li></ul><ul><li>Tuesday Afternoon, 21 June </li></ul><ul><li>16:15 - 17:45 Parallel Sessions F </li></ul><ul><li>Workshop </li></ul><ul><li>13 SEPTEMBER 2011 – Burgas (Bulgaria) </li></ul><ul><li>Final Conference in-world </li></ul><ul><li>18 NOVEMBER 2011 – AVATAR’s Auditorium in SL </li></ul>
    26. 26. Info <ul><li>Ilaria Mascitti </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Cristina Stefanelli </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>ForCom Resident CriS Simmering AVATAR project website http://www.avatarproject.eu