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Using virtual reality for learning foreign languages


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Using virtual reality for learning foreign languages

  1. 1. Using virtual reality when learning foreign languages • Dr. Eileen O’Connor • State University of New York (SUNY) – Empire State College • April 18, 2017 • Agenda  Overview  Educational perspectives on virtual reality learning  Accessing Second Life and open-source islands  Examples of islands and environments
  2. 2. Different types of virtual reality • All have: • Access via a computer • Use 3-d environments • Avatar movement • Voice and text possible
  3. 3. Why use virtual reality to learn foreign language? • Language input options with Second Life • Meet with native speakers in the target language • Engage in historical / cultural experiences • Visit language-learning focused locations • Immerse yourself in a different language with less personal “stress”
  4. 4. Learning within the space itself – automatic gestures are available • “. . . if the association of a gesture to a word can enhance verbal memory, then VR offers a privileged medium in which to implement the training. In fact, it gives users the opportunity to see themselves moving in the environment while being comfortably seated in a chair.” Frontiers in Psychology – Educational Psychology, 06 November 2014, C. Repetto •
  5. 5. Use the social aspects of learning another language • “Using virtual reality in language teaching can foster learning in that learners can behave differently in an online platform. People’s behavior can change or at least appear to be different when working online compared to the behavior they would display in a classroom setting . . . Teachers can benefit from this situation by integrating virtual reality into traditional classrooms. Virtual reality is an ideal language learning environment that includes social learning, immersive learning, creativity and relevance. In 3D virtual environment, learners meet with others; they share and use their creativity by means of telepresence” • • Participatory Educational Research (PER) Special Issue 2015-II, pp., 21-26; 5-7 November, 2015 Available online at ISSN: 2148-6123 • A Content Analysis of Virtual Reality Studies in Foreign Language Education • Ekrem SOLAK* and Gamze ERDEM
  6. 6. Reduced learning anxiety & increased creativity • “The related studies have consistently found that VLEs increase learner autonomy and self-efficacy, reduce learning anxiety, and foster creativity. VR presents a realistic virtual space and visible “classmates” who assist students in gaining a sense of participation and building emotional bonds (positive or negative) with their collaborative partners.” • “Regardless of the original purposes for which VLEs were designed, researchers in the computer-assisted language learning (CALL) field have tried to employ pedagogical principles and practices that are innovative and theoretically grounded to understand the pedagogical values of VLEs in language learning.” • • Lin, T. J., & Lan, Y. J. (2015). Language Learning in Virtual Reality Environments: Past, Present, and Future. Educational Technology & Society, 18 (4), 486–497.
  7. 7. Practice the language with native speakers • • Lin, T. J., & Lan, Y. J. (2015). Language Learning in Virtual Reality Environments: Past, Present, and Future. Educational Technology & Society, 18 (4), 486–497. • “The FL setting was found to be the most common in the VR publications analyzed. This is not surprising, given that FL learners often do not have ready access to a suitable environment in which to practice and use the target language. VLEs can overcome this difficulty by providing an immersive and authentic environment to socially interact with native speakers.” • VR research seems to be potentially useful but the role of the teacher in creating the pedagogical interactions has yet to be studied adequately
  8. 8. Various ways that Virtual Reality can be used in foreign language learning • As an immersive environment to participate in a foreign language without having to travel to distant locations; safe space within which to work • As a location to visit with colleagues from course and/or with the course instructor • As a place to immerse yourself in another culture, particularly if there are authentic buildings and events from that culture
  9. 9. Language learning pathways – more options becoming available as the cost drops for open course environments Virtual reality for language learning Second Life (SL) Since 2003 More commercial and “social” Open source (ie. Kitely) Less costly More educational areas now Extra step with viewer download
  10. 10. Second Life – language input options
  11. 11. When signing up, you choose an avatar with either pathway Here are some Second Life avatar options
  12. 12. You choose a username – don’t forget it
  13. 13. You create security questions and answers
  14. 14. You download the viewer (Second Life or Firestorm) onto your computer
  15. 15. Follow directions to move into the appropriate environment
  16. 16. Invest time in learning how to navigate the environment – SL has integrated tutorial
  17. 17. Invest time in learning how to navigate the environment – tutorials and video links for Kitely in handout
  18. 18. Explore events & locations on the various islands When you first enter Firestorm Use World (top menu) > Search
  19. 19. Look for islands and activities
  20. 20. Join an event in another language • Click on World > Event; search for the desired event
  21. 21. Some examples from Second Life
  22. 22. Some examples from Second Life
  23. 23. Visit familiar settings
  24. 24. Moscow meeting
  25. 25. Language instruction itself, in these locations More examples from Second Life
  26. 26. Some examples from Second Life
  27. 27. Response from Drive Thru English
  28. 28. Or visit university or cultural locations
  29. 29. Using Firestorm & Kitely, visit Empire State College Islands • Use the Firestorm / Kitely directions – that will be forwarded; explore their islands • Come to Marian Island & visit the many class meeting spaces • We can even plan a time to meet for some practicing and fun
  30. 30. Visit locations created by ESC students for their pupils or audience in Kitely
  31. 31. Spanish language immersion / Ancient Japanese history
  32. 32. My class meetings – with slide presentation & posters too
  33. 33. Later talks with different groups – from across New York State
  34. 34. In summary • Virtual reality can provide an immersive, avatar-based environment where you can meet individuals from different countries, learning language, culture, and pronunciation from native speakers • Overcome distance and shyness by working via an avatar from your own computer • Or, just have some fun in the amusement park area on Marian Island