AAAS09-Chip McMillan


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3D Virtual Worlds as a Teaching and Learning Tool in Alaska Distance Education

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AAAS09-Chip McMillan

  1. 1. 3D Virtual Worlds as a Teaching and Learning Tool in Alaska Distance Education High School Student Constructs an Aleut Barabara in Second Life
  2. 2. The Inspiration <ul><li>High school students in SE Alaska who have failed in traditional educational settings might thrive in the 3D Virtual World. </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s ask a group of such students to cooperatively and collaboratively create a virtual Tongass National Forest in Second Life. </li></ul><ul><li>But first . . . </li></ul>
  3. 3. Is Second Life a practical and useful tool for teaching high school students? <ul><li>What are the time and energy requirements for a talented and motivated high school student to create something worthwhile in Second Life? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the learning benefits for such a student to create something significant in Second Life? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the technical, logistical, monetary barriers to using SL for education? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Step One: <ul><li>Offer a talented and motivated Aleut high school student $15/hour to create a virtual, but authentic Aleut barabara. </li></ul><ul><li>Require her to document the time required, the technical and emotional trials, the learning and personal rewards. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Input <ul><li>38 hours total time spent over 3 months </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teen-Adult Second Life Barrier: 5 weeks to resolve, 5 hours of work, to finally create an adult account through her mother. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>11 hours learning the basics in SL, e.g., Online SL tutorials, SL help sites, reading the SL text. </li></ul><ul><li>3 hours learning about barabaras from a variety of sources. </li></ul><ul><li>13 hours building the barabara. </li></ul><ul><li>4 hours on telephone, e-mail and in world with Chip </li></ul><ul><li>2 hours of tech. difficulties. </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Output <ul><li>Learned about her culture </li></ul><ul><li>Learned to set a goal and meet it </li></ul><ul><li>Personal satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>Acquired graphic design skill </li></ul><ul><li>Acquired skill in content creation in Second Life </li></ul><ul><li>Enhanced problem-solving skills </li></ul>
  7. 7. Chelsea Suydam: <ul><li>I feel that having to replicate a structure built in real life – a barabara built and lived in by the Aleut in Southwestern Alaska – caused me to thoroughly think about how these people lived, what materials were available to them, and what tools they had to build with. Creating a virtual version of what they have been creating for centuries enabled me to sort of breathe in the Aleut culture. By doing research online and having the benefit of residing in a traditionally-Aleut fishing village, I was able to envision the materials they had to build with and how the barabara reflected the land and the people's needs. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>As I was a beginner to Second Life, I didn't work extremely efficiently and it took me time to get comfortable with all the tools and controls I had to work with. I found certain controls frustrating throughout the whole development of the structure. Some of these were controlling the camera; changing values in size, position, and rotation; copying objects; and linking and unlinking objects. </li></ul>
  9. 17. Step Two? <ul><li>Return to the At Risk Students build the Virtual Tongass Idea? </li></ul><ul><li>Skip teenagers, focus on university students, e.g., Alaska Studies, Environmental Science? </li></ul><ul><li>Skip content courses and go for simply connecting distance students to increase retention? </li></ul>