Identity Games - Can Identity Change Improve Teaching and Learning


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Presentation at AVAMEO during the German workgroup e-learning in Second Life®.

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Identity Games - Can Identity Change Improve Teaching and Learning

  1. 1. «Identity Games» Identity Games CAN WE USE IDENTITY CHANGES TO IMPROVE TEACHING AND LEARNING? Marcus Birkenkrahe HWR Berlin / Berlin School of Economics and Law msb @
  2. 2. 1 Virtual Life Virtual environments suggest Identity Games the re/creation of your "profile" Facebook, Twitter, MUVEs, Forums, Moodle... A profile is the outward face of an identity. A profile doesnt exhaust your identity. Few people can resist to re-present themselves when offered the chance.
  3. 3. 2 Effects of Virtuality Identity Games Community building (networking) Equality (Internet & dogs) Self-expression (image cultivation)
  4. 4. 3 Learning Identity GamesYou dont just learn "stuff", you alsolearn things about yourself.The things you (really) learn about yourselfbecome part of your identity.Your identity as a learner becomes part of yourlearning experience.Your learner identity can be helpful orhindering to your learning "stuff".
  5. 5. 4 Example Identity GamesTake yourself:When you look at your avatar as it is right now:what message are you sending about yourselfas a learner?
  6. 6. 5 Teaching Identity GamesYou dont just teach "stuff", you alsomodel identity.The things you (really) teach infuence yourstudents identities.Your identity as a teacher becomes part of yourteaching performance.Your teacher identity can be helpful or hinderingto your teaching.
  7. 7. 6 Example Identity GamesTake me ;-)When you look at my avatar as a teachersavatar:what message am I sending about meas a teacher?
  8. 8. 7 Where can we take this? Identity GamesExperiment: I asked my Second Lifestudents a number of questions about theirchoice of avatar and their experiences withidentity change.Did not say "appearance" but "identity" to leavethem a choice.Did not create a standard survey but begandiscussing with them.
  9. 9. 8 Questions I1. Communication: If you did pick our Identity Gamesidentity in Second Life consciously,what identity did you choose and what did you wantto communicate with it?2. Expectation: Whether you picked your identity inSecond Life consciously or not: what do you thinkothers will think of you when they see you?3. Resonance: Did anybody else ever commentedon your identity in Second Life? What did they sayabout it as far as you remember (or how did theybehave)?
  10. 10. Answer: „Communication“«Indeed I chose my aviator consciously. I decided totake an Indian related woman who is wearing a sari Identity Games(or saree - the Indian traditional dress for women).I was looking for something which is not the usual avatar as I am akind of person who likes to slip into different roles wheneverpossible. As second life is a perfect chance to try out somethingdifferent while emphasizing on a specific character of myself, I waslooking for something which doesnt look alike myself in reality. Inmy case Id chosen something personal, as I studied two semesters inPune, India. Hence, I have a quite strong connection to that place andwanted to show that to everybody. In that way people could associateeven faster that I am the girl who was in India. I constantly remindedthem of India, which was my purpose in a way. But I would ratherstate it as a subliminal message, as I didnt want to convince anybodyfor India, but rather show that I really liked it there and that I amproud to got the chance spending a year at that place. So in a way, Icommunicated my pride, my experiences and my connection to thatplace as my avatar obviously looked like an Indian woman.»
  11. 11. Answer: „Expectations“ Identity Games«My avatar was robot from standard collection ofavatars. Others would probably think that im boring orlazy or have no sense of beauty or imagine myself anIron Man from the fairy-tale and in search of realheart.»
  12. 12. 9 Questions II4. Reorientation: If you could pick Identity Gamesabsolutely ANY identity in Second Life,which one would you pick and why?5. Reflection: does your identity in Second Life in anyway refect your identity in real life (privately orprofessionally)?6. Changes: did you ever change your identity in thecourse of your life so far (either personally orprofessionally)? What were the results? Did you getwhat you expected?
  13. 13. Answer: „Reflection“ Identity Games«I picked a school bus on second life, without reallythinking too much about it to be honest, but I think Idid so because I did not want to choose a humanshape. Maybe it refects me somewhat in the sensethat it is rather American, which at heart, I sort ofam, and also it is full of life and always moving.»
  14. 14. 10 Questions III Identity Games7. Teaching: what do you think aboutmy appearance in Second Life as a wingedcentaur?8. Learning: did the possibility of changing youridentity in Second Life add to your learningexperience, subtract from it or was it irrelevant? Why? 9. Transference: If you were a teacher, which identity would you pick for yourself?
  15. 15. Answer: „Transference“ Identity Games«The avatar of a teacher should depend on the relationshipyou already have with your students. Depending oneducational necessity you probably would choosedifferent avatars.»
  16. 16. 11 Lets Discuss! Identity GamesWhere could I, where could we take all this?>> Talk at VWBPE 2012Lets discuss! (And thanks for listening)