Positives of using Virtual Worlds for Educational Reasons. Virtual Worlds open up “a wealth of new opportunities for enriching how we learn” Students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. An average college student spends 10,000 hours using the internet compared to 5000 hours reading books. So surely we should adapt new teaching methods know we know this?
Teaching people with Disabilities within Virtual Worlds. Using Virtual Worlds for educational reasons will provide children with disabilities better opportunities. Those who face social problems will find it easier to come to lessons in virtual worlds and gain confidence from it. Children with disabilities cannot be judged by others within virtual worlds and are viewed like anyone else is. Children with disabilities will not be left from different activities when education is on virtual worlds, such as they will not be left out when it comes to school trips.
Teaching people with Disabilities within Virtual Worlds. University of Texas is already using virtual worlds as a place to help young adults with autism over come problems which they face. They put these adults in real life situations, such as day to day activities of speaking to people they haven’t met before or job interviews. There aim is to gain confidence in these young adults so they overcome there problems and then hopefully they will no longer see talking to other people as an issue. People with these social problems will find learning in virtual worlds much easier than to turn up to a classroom everyday.
Negatives of using Virtual Worlds for Educational Reasons.Children may have a lack of interest in using computers.Children may have a lack of knowledge in using the internet and virtual worlds.It is unfair to force children to learn in a way which they may not understand.All children have different learning methods, and to teach all children in the same way surely is a bad thing rather than seeing to each child’s needs.Children may not be paying attention to what is being taught and teachers will not know any difference.Teachers may struggle to see what level each child is at if teaching takes place over virtual worlds.
Students Attitudes in Virtual Worlds Teachers in virtual worlds will be viewed differently compared to how they are viewed in real life in a classroom. Teachers may have trouble gaining authority from students in virtual world lesson .
Difficulties Teachers may face when uses Virtual Worlds May have trouble finding and deciding which virtual world to choose. By choosing the wrong virtual world, teachers may realise later on in the course that they do not have the correct resources that they need. Children in that case will then be left behind in their education.
Social Factors Prensky calls Generation Y – Digital Natives compared to the older generation who are called ‘Digital Immigrants’ Adults (Digital Immigrants) were brought up differently to how ‘Generation Y’ or also known as the ‘Net Generation’ are being brought up now. Some people believe that Digital Natives are just being ‘lazy’. Learning in virtual worlds for Generation Y can have damaging effects on children as they will not be socialising the same way children currently do. By having a lack of social skills this will effect children later on in life when it comes to interview for jobs or forming relationships.
Dotcom StudentPrensky makes the point that students nowadays have new and different methods to learn from and prefer to use modern technology rather than to use a textbook.
My Own Experience I believe virtual worlds can give students experiences that they are unable in real life. I was able to walk through a war trench (Frideswide in Second Life learning island) whilst being taught in different ways, through experiencing what I was seeing and through speaking and writing. Students can also have other experiences such as walking through a cell – this is something that cannot happen in real life and students will find it much more memorable than reading from a textbook. These are experiences which students cannot get in real life so they should be used to give children the best possible education.
Conclusion I believe that teachers need to move with the new digital age and use virtual worlds for educational reasons. Students cangain valuable experiences from using virtual worlds which they cannot get from a classroom. However I don’t believe that teaching should just take place in virtual worlds, I still thinkstudents need interaction with others and can gain important social skills in the classroom. I believe virtual worlds can provide a good basis for education as long as there is a goodbalance between using virtual worlds and lessons taking place face to face.
ReferencesCatchen, Ruth (2012) Technology in the Classroom. Available at:http://ruthcatchen.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/technology-in-the-classroom-stay-cutting-edge-encourage-differentiated-learning-and-creativity/(Accessed:09/05/2012)Daily Sundial (2012) Students use alternative methods to purchase textbooks.Available at: http://sundial.csun.edu/2012/01/students-use-alternative-methods-to-purchase-textbooks/ (Accessed: 09/05/2012)de Freitas (2009) Serious Virtual Worlds: A scoping study. Bristol: JointInformation Systems Committee [online]. Available at:http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/seriousvirtualworldsv1.pdf (Accessed: 09/05/2012).Dodson, Sean (2012) Is There a Second Life for Teaching? The Guardian.Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/digitalstudent/second-life(Accessed: 09/05/2012)Flickr (2008) Disabilities in Virtual Worlds. Available at:http://www.flickr.com/photos/knowprose/2300727296/ (Accessed:09/05/2012)McMahan, Alison (2007) Second Life – The Game of Virtual Life. ManchesterUniversity Press.
ReferencesPrensky, Marc (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Availble at:http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/prensky%20-%20digital%20natives,%20digital%20immigrants%20-%20part1.pdf(Accessed: 09/05/2012)Teacher Tech (2011) Google Certified Teacher. Available at:http://www.alicekeeler.com/teachertech/2011/12/02/the-strange-psychology-of-grades/ (Accessed:09/05/2012)The Guardian (2009) Doing Pythagoras the pacy way. Available at:http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/oct/27/teaching-awards-secondary-school-teacher (Accessed: 09/05/2012)The Guardian (2008) Depressed, stressed: teachers in crisis. Available at:http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/aug/31/teaching.teachersworkload (Accessed: 09/05/2012)Tumblr (2012) 10 Reasons Technology is vital to educationhttp://www.tumblr.com/tagged/education?before=1336494957 (Accessed:09/05/2012)