the use of virtual worlds as an extended classroom                                              a case study with mature s...
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the use of virtual worlds as an extended classroom


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Poster presented on the Research Day at UA 2011>
by Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt

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the use of virtual worlds as an extended classroom

  1. 1. the use of virtual worlds as an extended classroom a case study with mature students from higher education ana loureiro, teresa bettencourt cidtff – research centre for didactics and technology in teacher educationabstract research backgroundExtending the classroom beyond the learning orchestration in an extended classroom research emerged from the need of observephysical space allows the teacher to some of the variables (as shown in Fig. 1)better fulfil students’ needs and to already identified (Bettencourt, 2009) and physical space virtual spacefacilitate a more collaborative learning that are related with: (spatial and temporal (no physical or spatial constrains,style. This study identifies a blended (i) persons and their motivations (engaging constrains, specificlearning approach to increase sharing whole group of students) and compelling factors) group/class)and collaborative work between students, (ii) relationships that are established FB Diigo SL®promote class cohesion and socialization, between avatars and persons (real lifeand enhance students’ research skills. relationships) information sharing communication & information search & tutorial sessions ofThe use of virtual environments to extend (iii) social integration in Second Life® (sense discussion socialization knowledge sharing collaborative discussionthe classroom allows students to of community belonging) practical class work & learning | socializationparticipate in richer interactions at times knowledge consolidationthat are more convenient to theirwork/study patterns. The goal is todetermine the most effective elementswhich achieve the desired outcome forlearning.A virtual space has been constructedaround Second Life®, Diigo andFacebook. Student groups have beenobserved with particular attention on thefollowing interactions: who participates,when and where, what is shared, who Fig.1 – identified variables (Bettencourt, 2009)interacts, how interactions are made, andthe quality of interactions. Additionally research componentsquestionnaires will be made to students in (i) construction and knowledge sharingorder to understand how they perceived (ii) interpersonal relationshipsthe virtual classroom and determine their (iii) 3D immersive virtual worldspreferences. The study is ongoing but hasalready demonstrated early gains. The knowledge sharing & socialization research questionlevel and quality of participation has • to understand if there are best practicesimproved alongside increased orchestrating learning in collaborativecollaboration and interaction amongst conclusions immersive virtual worlds and web 2.0 preliminary findingsstudents. • online tutorial sessions though immersive tools and if they will enhance blended • initial set up cost of starting SL® is high learning through knowledge sharing and (time) 3D worlds take the distance out of socialization • students engaged in-world beyond distance learning (e-learning/b-learning) tutorial hours • virtual worlds might provide the best goals • tutorial sessions were considered as a ambiance for informal and natural (i) identify the variables that might influence success for the mature night class learning contexts at a distance knowledge sharing • students didnt use the support hours • in virtual environments students seem to (ii) contribute for richer learning contexts available at school (physical space) attend training sessions because they through the use of online tools (Diigo, • night students shared more information at want to learn (Bettencourt & Abade, Facebook) and virtual worlds (Second Diigo 2008) Life®) • day students created a Facebook page • online tutorials can be set at a time and (iii) provide tutorial support to night class for a more direct communication in a space (virtual) free of restrictions – through a virtual world • night students elected email as primary that can be adapted, allowing a better (iv) encourage collaboration ‘out of hours’ by way for communication participation from a larger number of providing means for students and teacher • students posted more information than students to interact teacher, with relevance for night students • in a virtual space there are no physical (v) learn what advantages we can find in an • the quality of shared information was high barriers or borders. Information flows, online tutorial implemented using an (relevant) – development of search people build and share content, immersive virtual world competences relationships are set up, the net of (vi) understand how and which students • posts were moderated (by teacher and connections extends and knowledge is engage with an immersive 3D world and students) - development of critic and built and shared how effective it is as a proxy for face-to- reflexion skills face interaction • students prefer in-world sessions out of references (vii) understand how well online tools and official school islands – informal places • Dillenbourg P. (1999). What do you mean by virtual worlds promote knowledge sharing not perceived as an extension to the collaborative learning? In P. Dillenbourg and enhance socialization in order to ‘bricks and mortar’ university (Ed.), Collaborative-learning: Cognitive and Computational Approaches (pp.1-19). contribute for classroom cohesion • night (mature) students are more Oxford: Elsevier. (viii) provide some insights for better online independent as learners • Bettencourt, T. (2009). Teaching & Learning teaching strategies • night students have less time and more in SL: Figuring Out Some Variables. desire to learn in the most effective way Retrieved September 15, 2010, from methodology • night students are more motivated since • participants - portuguese HE students they have stronger reasons to study in 8/teaching-learning-in-sl-figuring-out-some- (school of education) their spare time variables/ • regular day class & mature night class • day students are taking full advantage of • Bettencourt, T. & Abade, A. (2008). Mundos (ages >23) = 100 students the social side of university Virtuais de Aprendizagem e de Ensino – uma • non probabilistic sample (by • virtual spaces support the work patterns caracterização inicial. IE communications, convenience) of mature students in particular. Revista Iberoamericana de Informática Educativa, Nº 7/8, Enero/Diciembre, pp.3-16. • qualitative study, with an inductive and Retrieved September 15, 2010, from exploratory nature socialization • researcher : participant observer issue/view/41/showToc • data collecting: observation, as a key factor for collaborative learning • Castells, M. (2005). A Sociedade em Rede. questionnaire, electronic records Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. • data analysis: quantitative analysis over situation where two or more persons • New Media Consortium (2007). The Horizon qualitative data, content analysis learn or try to learn something Report: 2007 edition, Austin, TX, NMC. Retrieved September 15, 2010, from together (Dillenbourg, 1999) t.pdf