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  1. 1. Second Life: Possibilities for Teaching and Learning in a Virtual World <ul><li>DR. LAURA NICOSIA </li></ul><ul><li>Assistant Professor </li></ul><ul><li>English Department </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AJ KELTON </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Director </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CHSS Technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Services Unit </li></ul></ul>
  2. 2. What do you already know about Second Life?
  3. 3. What is Second Life? <ul><li>“ Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents.” </li></ul><ul><li>A flexible space for learning and exploration </li></ul><ul><li>An opportunity for people to interact in a way that conveys a sense of presence lacking in other media. </li></ul><ul><li>Generalized rather than contextual, applicable to almost any discipline. </li></ul><ul><li>Second life is NOT a game - there are no rules or a fixed goal-oriented purpose </li></ul><ul><li> and </li></ul>
  4. 4. Statistics <ul><li>15-20K sign ups daily - over 10 million total </li></ul><ul><li>25 - 50K residents on at one time </li></ul><ul><li>over $1 million spent daily </li></ul><ul><li>The Linden - $L - The LindeX </li></ul><ul><li>Well over 200 educational institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Over 250 “sims” dedicated to education </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is Behind Second Life <ul><li>a scaleable co-located grid of servers running Linux - “infinite” growth just by adding a server </li></ul><ul><li>Real-time 3D streaming at DSL/Cable modem (or higher). </li></ul><ul><li>Streaming positional audio - conveys distance and direction. </li></ul><ul><li>One download delivers persistent desktop access - everything resides on the grid </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-platform portability </li></ul>
  6. 6. What is Behind Second Life <ul><li>Infinite avatar customization - no two avatars alike </li></ul><ul><li>Uploadable textures and audio </li></ul><ul><li>Quicktime video can play in-world. </li></ul><ul><li>Rigid body physics simulation </li></ul><ul><li>International Language Support - chat and communicate in local languages, including Asian character sets. European keyboards supported. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Pedagogical Validity for Teaching with Second Life </li></ul>
  8. 8. First, we recognize… <ul><li>There is significant media hype focused on the “darker sides” of the in-world experience - violence, sex, drugs and rock & roll [VSDRR] </li></ul><ul><li>The label of “gaming” poses an image problem for SL insofar as its potential uses in secondary and/or higher education </li></ul><ul><li>Without proper directions, goals and objectives, SL is as aimless and as pedagogically bereft of meaning as any other poorly designed or poorly deployed classroom lesson </li></ul>
  9. 9. However, with constructivist pedagogies… <ul><li>Comprehension soars when (Neo)Millennial students engage with their avatars and co-journey through the learning environment’s unfolding episodes and processes (Dede) </li></ul><ul><li>Learning communities are fostered ( Bereiters and Scardameglia’s Knowledge Forum experiment ) </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative knowledge-building develops and cognitive capital is distributed among groups and individuals </li></ul><ul><li>Continued on next slide </li></ul>
  10. 10. Constructivist pedagogies... <ul><li>Learners forge Identity Formation Strategies (agency) through graphical avatars (persona) to communicate with other agents and to interact with digital artifacts (Dede) </li></ul><ul><li>In many ways, SL immersion is similar to what many literary critics call Transactional Reader Response (Rosenblatt). </li></ul>
  11. 11. Second Life is… <ul><li>A medium or text that may be “read” as a hybrid genre or environ </li></ul><ul><li>A platform for learning and engagement </li></ul><ul><li>An interface where immersion in a virtual environ using avatar-based entities is akin to a transactional reader response with a character </li></ul>
  12. 12. We construct the Self in many ways; narrative exploration is one method
  13. 13. Harvard educational research indicates... <ul><li>For psychologists adopting this model of cognitive psychology, embracing narrative and its characters is a fundamental way to enable human beings to make their way through the world. </li></ul>
  14. 14. We have at least 3 selves <ul><li>The Real - the identity in the here-and-now; the person behind the facade or character </li></ul><ul><li>The Projective - the identity of the Real person we put into an avatar or online character; the qualities we transfer from the Real to the online </li></ul><ul><li>The Virtual - one’s identity AS a virtual character; a constructed, fictionalized protagonist we embody while “inworld” </li></ul><ul><li>Gee, James Paul. </li></ul><ul><li>What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave, 2003. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Navigating experiences through these personae is not simply “play” <ul><li>Importantly, Jung clarified that the various persona, are not a pose or some other intentional misrepresentation of the self to others. Rather, it is, as it were, the self as self-construed, and may change according to situation and context. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Living through virtual experiences is to inhabit a realm of pure possibility and to practice what Donald Graves calls “long thinking.”
  17. 17. <ul><li>“ Long thinkers are problem finders, enjoy their own company, have a sense of play, are highly focused and have been appreciated by other long thinkers.” </li></ul><ul><li>Donald Graves Testing is Not Teaching: What Should Count in Education, 2002 </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Immersion yields enhanced motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Hands-on, constructivist practices pose challenges and peak curiosity </li></ul><ul><li>MMUVEs reach learners who do not succeed in conventional classroom settings </li></ul><ul><li>The use of MMUVEs allow for delivery of sophisticated content in context and application </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Dede’s research on MMUVEs shows
  19. 19. The application of MMUVEs <ul><li>Requires higher order skills </li></ul><ul><li>Builds fluency in distributed modes of communication, expression and rhetoric </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages participants to engage in extended periods of dialogue (both written and oral) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Second Life permits <ul><li>Guided Inquiry, where experience is central to learning </li></ul><ul><li>Scaffolding of in-world prior experiences through seeking, sieving and synthesizing experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralization of the class - knowledge is created across a community rather than delivered from an individual (the teacher) </li></ul>
  21. 21. And… <ul><li>Unlearning of unconscious assumptions about communities and the “Other” </li></ul><ul><li>Application of critical thinking and problem-solving in context and in process </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing of resources, cultural knowledge, stories and experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Social exploration using a multiplicity of perspectives and points of view </li></ul>
  22. 22. Pedagogical considerations: <ul><li>Asynchronous media to enable convenient participation and deeper reflection at each user’s pace </li></ul><ul><li>Synchronous virtual exchanges to allow for heightened immersion and emotional/social interactions </li></ul><ul><li>A combination of mediated, situated learning-environments (teacher established challenges) AND free, evolving situated learning environments (to experience virtual exploration) </li></ul>
  23. 23. An effective virtual learning environment may: <ul><ul><li>Supplement face-to-face interaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be used in combination with other multi-media (I.e. videoconferences either embedded within the SL platform or concomitant with SL) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be an adjunct to BlackBoard or another more linear, asynchronous interactions with discussion groups and blogs </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. For discipline-specific uses of SL in the class: <ul><li>“ 101 Uses for Second Life in the College Classroom.” Dr. Megan S. Conklin—Elon University </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Art/Theater Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Astronomy </li></ul><ul><li>Business </li></ul><ul><li>Chemistry </li></ul><ul><li>Composition </li></ul><ul><li>Culture Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Disabilities Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Economics </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Gender Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Geography </li></ul><ul><li>History </li></ul><ul><li>Journalism </li></ul><ul><li>Justice Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Language Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Math </li></ul><ul><li>Physics </li></ul><ul><li>Political Science </li></ul><ul><li>Programming </li></ul><ul><li>Psychology </li></ul><ul><li>Real Estate </li></ul><ul><li>Religion </li></ul><ul><li>Rhetoric </li></ul><ul><li>Sociology </li></ul><ul><li>Women’s Studies </li></ul>
  25. 25. Ultimately, We Must <ul><li>Make the environment part of the learning experience rather than an end to itself </li></ul><ul><li>Enable metacognitive reflection on the SL experience </li></ul><ul><li>Construct feedback loops and self-renewing frameworks to inform our praxis </li></ul><ul><li>Investigate the pedagogical successes and failures of using Second life for our classes and disciplines </li></ul>
  26. 26. Dante’s Inferno and Linden Hills
  27. 27. Meet Students in “Interesting” Places
  28. 28. Exposure to the “Other ”
  29. 29. Construct 3-D Sites
  30. 30. Hold Meetings Inworld
  31. 31. The CHSS Pilot Project
  32. 32. Recreate What Exists
  33. 33. Walk into a story
  34. 34. Create Something New
  35. 35. Engage Your Students
  36. 36. Science
  37. 37. Art
  38. 38. NOAA
  39. 39. Business
  40. 40. Spaceport Alpha and Delta
  41. 41. Literature and History
  42. 42. ?