"The Relationship BetweenIdentity and a Students Ability toLearn Within the Virtual. How Willthis Change in the Future?"By Megan Tyrrell
Identity/ in the Virtual World• Identity is the characteristics that determine who a person is. It is the fact of being and incorporatesall the aspects that come together to make a person who they are.• Communicating Understanding Evaluating Projective Identity.Creating a projective identity involves thereflection of one’s existing values onto asecond life character. (2003 p.55).“Projective identity is externalised on thescreen, in the form of what one wants to sayand does” (Wankel & Kingsley, 2009,p.190)But, what is Projective Identity?
Education and the Virtual WorldEducation in the virtual world are a part where students canconduct learning…but is a two sided coin:De Freitas argues that learningthrough an immersive spacehelps students to engage inexperiences and gain a sense ofempowerment (2009 p.4)WHEREAS Buckingham believes it is important toconsider that we live in a society that has a digitaldivide and that the use of technology in schoolsmay offer an advantage to some and deteriorate theequality school should provide (2007 p.96)
KEY WORDS/PHARSES thatbring IDENITY and EDUCATION together.TEAM WORKENGAGMENT:* In relation to the virtual world engagementrefers to, in effect, being presence even if not inreality. In education it is students taking part inlearning and communicating through a simulatedworld.TELEPRESENCE:* This refers to the virtual presence ofsomebody in the virtual. It is the communicationof actions through signal using technology.INNOVATIVESKILLS:* New, creative way of doingsomething.* Creating a new identity that thestudent then uses to communicatein a new, inventive environment.* Team work involves communicating to completea task, in the virtual all these communication involve thestudents projective identity
Buckingham discusses thatthe growing digital culture hasled to a struggle for control inthe “socialisation andenculturation of childrenduring their time in school”(2007, p.9).Affordances of the use of virtual worldsin education and the link identity:Issues with the use of virtual worlds ineducation and the link with identity:Examples:It is believed that second lifeoffers all students the opportunityto use the technology to learnfrom each other and all becometechnological experts throughteamwork (Prensky, 2010 p.64).
Despite any problematic areas,Advancements in both digital technologies and learning theories are transforming the way we teachand learn. Those advantages are refining our views of what it means to learn in a contemporarypost-industrial age (Wankel & Blessinger, 2012 p.3).All advancements intechnologies and theway students learnrelate back toIDENTITY!“Increase higher order thinking anddecision making” (Wanker & Blessginer,2010 p.4)Different skills necessary “to functioneffectively in a globalised world” (Wanker &Blessginer, 2010 p.4)The use of the virtual world in educationexposes students to a diversity ofworldwide views and opinions. (Peacheyand Childs, 2011, p.15)
The use of the virtual world in education, places emphasis on a new type of social interaction. Allsocial interaction connects back to identity. It is natural a human beings social interaction witheach other to be affected by identity. For example:Both the above are print screen examples of virtual worlds used as educational tools. One is from ahigher education virtual learning environment for Newman University. The other one is a virtualeducation resource known as ‘Minamiopia’ that young children can use to develop their Maths,English and Science from home.
Information:* Identity in the virtual educational world is about information.* The Virtual is “made up of information rather than matter” (Kollock & Smith, 1999,p.29)* “Information spreads and diffuses; there is no law of the conservation ofinformation” (Kollock & Smith, 1999, p.29)* The identity in the virtual world is based on the energy, time and effort that is put intothe creation.
Special Education, Empowerment andIdentityA sense of empowerment is given through using the virtual world to express theself you feel you truly are inside (Peachey and Childs, 2011, p.4).“Free from the bodiesunifying anchor” (Kollock &Smith, 1999, p.29)* Students can interact with other users withoutbeing considered in anyway different because oftheir disability* The students in special education can interactwith tasks in their own time dependant on theirrate of ability in different areas.* Escapism from their real life struggles.
If a student has will power they will be successful. The will power to achievewill result in success, no matter how they are being taught. The will to learnwill carry students forwards into any new pedagogical situation. (Barnett,2007 p.15)Also, Barnett (2007) text, ‘Being a Student in an Age of Uncertainty’ argues:* Using a virtual representation of one’s self to interact with others, learn and submit work iscurrently a new pedagogical situation.* Such uncertainty is a positive way of preparing students for the intellectual uncertainty which isfundamental to a life.*Such academic ways of thinking and practising prepares the students for the future.
In Conclusion – Current Positive and Negatives:Positives:1. Everyone has a voice when using the virtual world.2. Communication with a teacher in this way means the students will not be judged publicly by peerson the answers they give3. Allows self exploration of material4. Allows for self development at own paceProblematic Areas:1. Can be anonymous for the student2. Misses key classroom interactions3. Can be a place for learners to "hide"4. Learning may be quicker with a good teacher/facilitator
My Predictions for the Future1. Access via Smartphones2. 1 to 1 laptop programs3. VLE catered to ability. For example school may have several levels of the one unit. The studenttypes their name in and has a personalised VLE based on your APS (Academic Point Score)4. The use of environments that a student can be inside of in schools. The use of head sets, thestudent can actually move around and learn this way.5. Manipulation of it with a smart 3D TV used in classrooms.Negative Future Social Factors in relation toIdentity…
Finally despite what I think will happen in the future Ibelieve the ultimate goal, regardless of the technologyused or the instructional methods employed, should beto start students down the path of becoming lifelonglearners through the help of immersive, empoweringactivities.
Reference List* Gee, J (2003a) What Video Games have to teach us about Learning and Literacy. New York:Palgrave MacMillan p.55* Wankel, C,. Kingsley, J (2009 ). Higher Education in Virtual Worlds - Teaching and Learning inSecond Life.. Bingley : Emerald Group Publishing Limited. P190.* Buckingham (2007) Beyond Technology: Children’s Learning in the Age of Digital Culture.Cambridge: Polity Press.* De Freitas (2009) Serious Virtual Worlds: A scooping study. Bristol: Joint Information SystemsCommittee [Online]. Available athttp://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/seriousvirtualworldsv1.pdf (Accessed: 14thApr 2013)* Wankel,C,. Blessinger, P (2012). Increasing Student Engagement and Retention Using Immersive .Bingley : Emerald Group Publishing Limited. p.3-4* Childs, M. (2011a) ‘Identity: A Primer’, in Peachey, A. & Childs, M. (eds.) Reinventing Ourselves:Contemporary Concepts of Identity in Virtual Worlds. London: Springer* Kollock,P,. Smith, M (1999). Communities in Cyberspace . London: Routledge . p29.* Barnett, R (2007). A Will to Learn: Being a Student in an Age of Uncertainty. England: OpenUniversity Press. p3-6.