ISTE Island: Aimee deNoyelles

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"Something about a virtual world just rubs me the wrong way: Men gamers and women non-gamers in a Second Life academic learning community"

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ISTE Island: Aimee deNoyelles

  1. 1. “ SOMETHING ABOUT A VIRTUAL WORLD JUST RUBS ME THE WRONG WAY”: MEN GAMERS AND WOMEN NON-GAMERS IN A SECOND LIFE ACADEMIC LEARNING COMMUNITY Aimee M. deNoyelles Doctoral Candidate Instructional Design and Technology University of Cincinnati [email_address] SL: Amalia Yatsenko
  2. 2. Virtual Worlds – Second Life (SL) <ul><li>“ In a social medium class of its own” (Levinson, 2009, p. 4) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Places in their own right </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtual = “approaching the actual without arriving there ” (Boellerstorff, 2008, p. 19). </li></ul></ul>Gap Real World Virtual World
  3. 3. Virtual Worlds - Avatars <ul><li>“ Bodies root us and make us present to ourselves and to others” (Taylor, 2002, p. 42) </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is not simply a uniform, but self-representation” (Loke, 2009, p. 148) </li></ul>
  4. 4. SL Learning Communities <ul><ul><li>Community of Inquiry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Garrison, Anderson, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>& Archer, 2000) </li></ul></ul>Share experiences Share perspectives Negotiate meaning Learner community
  5. 5. Research Question <ul><li>What are the similarities and differences between men gamers and women non-gamers in a learning community in SL, with regards to the following strategies? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social: the projection of personality through avatar and exchange of communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cognitive: exploration and application of ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Peer teaching: prompting others to generate new ideas and providing technical assistance </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Review of Literature <ul><li>Lack of explicit consideration for gender in academic virtual world contexts </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual world studies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online socialization (Edirisingha et al., 2009) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group collaboration in authentic settings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Written reflection </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gaming studies: gender disparities in experience, communication, and motivation </li></ul>
  7. 7. Methods: Participants <ul><li>21 undergraduate communications majors enrolled in the 2009 Communications and Technology course at UC </li></ul><ul><li>8 of the 8 men were considered ‘gamers’, while 11 of the 13 women were considered ‘non-gamers’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Classification determined through content analysis of the data sources </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Methods: Data Sources and Collection <ul><li>5 ‘real world’ observations in the computer lab </li></ul><ul><li>4 interviews </li></ul><ul><li>82 individual blog entries </li></ul><ul><li>Snapshots taken within SL </li></ul><ul><li>2 surveys at beginning and end of course </li></ul>
  9. 9. Methods: Data Analysis <ul><li>Grounded theory (Corbin & Strauss, 2008) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open coding: concepts are coded and organized into categories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Axial coding: connections are drawn between codes and categories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Selective coding: the relationships between the data are presented as an emerging model </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Findings: Social Strategies <ul><li>Men gamers and women non-gamers approached socialization in different ways and were granted varying levels of access to the learning community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>identity conception/projection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>beliefs about the nature of the virtual world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>technical skill </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Identity Conception/Projection <ul><li>Identity conception </li></ul><ul><li>Individual beliefs about the construction of identity (‘real’ and ‘virtual’) must be identified, shared, and possibly revised </li></ul>“ My real identity is much different, the clothes I wear in SL are never anything I would wear…I really only relate to my avatar by the way she acts and how she interacts with other people.” -- Tina “ I am the Kool-Aid Man. I think it’s fun to be different. I like to have fun and I’m pretty outgoing.” -- Kevin
  12. 12. Virtual World Beliefs <ul><li>‘ Virtual world view’: SL is like the ‘real world’ </li></ul><ul><li>in essence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All men gamers, 5 women non-gamers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online identity is blend of ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open to communicating with strangers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Virtual communication protocol an issue with </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>women non-gamers </li></ul></ul></ul>“ People in real life will change how they look or act just to fit in sometimes. That’s why I feel like there is no real difference between the physical environment and SL.” -- Kevin “ I had my first chat with a stranger and I felt so much anxiety. I was nervous about what to say and who to respond to.” -- Britney
  13. 13. Virtual World Beliefs <ul><li>‘ Fake world view’: SL is in contrast to the ‘real world’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>6 women non-gamers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avatars incapable of projecting ‘real’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>identity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Little virtual communication </li></ul></ul>“ My real identity isn’t coming out because I’m keeping myself from really being present in the virtual world. I am the type of person that thinks that if it is not broken, do not fix it meaning, I love living in the real world…the virtual world just is not for me….” -- Harriett “ It was still, like, more like their avatar, not really their real personality…” -- Mary
  14. 14. Technical Skill <ul><li>All women non-gamers had technical difficulties, regardless of virtual world beliefs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Less connection to avatar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leave activities incomplete </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less peer support </li></ul></ul>“ I haven't really been able to expand my avatar…I feel like a character in a video game.” -- Britney “ Being left to leave the last project undone to just keep up and learn the world is something that I often have to do.” -- Uma
  15. 15. Findings: Similarities <ul><li>Collaborative activities </li></ul><ul><li>Connecting virtual experiences to the ‘real world’ </li></ul><ul><li>Use of voice </li></ul><ul><li>Seeing each other in the world made them more connected </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul>“ Hearing [guest speaker]’s voice made me feel more connected than I have ever felt in-world.” -- Harriett “ I felt as though we were connected as a class to what [guest speaker] was talking about.” -- Oliver “ I felt like I respected him more as a professor. He wasn’t just a computer generated image.” -- Mary
  16. 16. Conclusion: Significance of Study <ul><li>Specifically considers the influence of gender in an academic virtual world setting </li></ul><ul><li>Findings are generated and supported from the direct experiences of the learners </li></ul><ul><li>Methods of instruction and support are better clarified </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations </li></ul>
  17. 17. Current Dissertation Questions <ul><li>(1) How do women college students understand the psychological and contextual factors that influence their establishment of identity and interaction in a virtual world learning community? </li></ul><ul><li>(2) Based on these factors, how can instructional design be tailored to support equal access and participation in virtual world learning communities? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Thanks! <ul><li>Contact: Aimee deNoyelles </li></ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>SL: Amalia Yatsenko </li></ul>

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