HI I am Vanessa and I would like to start by thanking you for giving me the opportunity to give this presentation. I know that I only have a few minutes and in this little time I would like to take you through the journey which I have embarked upon and tell you this in the form of a story, which as yet doesn’t have an ending. This is the start of the story and it will involve 3D immersive spaces, teachers and their attitudes on the uptake of 21st century practices in the classroom – Two Worlds or rather as the saying goes a World Apart – or is it? The title is: Virtual World Connections: A pre-service teacher study on technology acceptance and adoption.
We start with the story of our society. In the last decade or so there has been a constant evolution or rather revolution as the society that we had got used flipped the coin. This version of the society, that which is driving economy and the market place as well as politics, is one that has gone a complete transformation. Now this part of the society has a voice, it has a critical approach, it is inventive, innovative, it makes use of the crowds – the whole is bigger than the one. And all those who are not adapting to this evolution are being left behind. Unfortunately there is much debate and speculation that unless Education starts to roll up the sleeves, then the repercussions will hit back at this society and with consequences. So this story is built on the premise that Education is of vital importance, and that teachers, as the force driving Education, need to embrace this evolution – creating a culture change that propagates throughout. So it is really this idea of how to revolutionize and spark off a cultural change that has prompted me to start this journey.
…to launch products,
…increase company value,
Along the way we’ve discovered…
…five simple rules for creating world-changing presentations.
So my study motivation arises from two distinct perpectives each of which has already had a great deal of research and exposure to it. On the one hand we come across the teacher challenge. A number of researchers such as Chan & Teo, Teo, Hossain & de Silva, have all reported gaps between classroom teaching and what goes on in the physical world between teachers and students. In their studies, as well as other studies presented we find that across the globe there seems to be this challenge which sees teachers resisting the adoption of new methods of teaching and learning that most often involve different use of technologies. We have also seen that this might arise from a number of factors, amongst which one would find lack of supporting structures and mechanisms. However one factor which has been known to impinge on the way the teachers teach is the curriculum of their teacher training programs, and the type of behavioral changes it induces in relation to technology acceptance and adoption. There have been a number of studies and adoption of different models such as the TAM, UTAUT which is an applied variation of the TAM. However recent studies have also investigated teacher training programs with a view of enhancing their technical, pedagogical, content, knowledge components in a new model which Mishra & Koehler have proposed as the TPACK model and which subsequent studies, by Sutton and Abbitt respectively have shown might lead to an impact in the way newly qualified teachers handle their teaching. On the other hand, we have these immersive environments, that contrary to other environments used for learning, such as virtual learning environments, are seen as highly engaging environments that can sustain a variety of archetypes and models for learning. We read about how people like Castronova, have predicted an “exodus towards these virtual worlds”. And we have seen, albeit maybe still not at the same scale and pace as predicted, the effects that these immersive spaces are having. Studies, especially by Blascovich and Bailenson indicate how the digital self representations inside these 3D immersive spaces (be it digital games, serious games or social virtual worlds) – how these can influence an individual’s behavior in real life – a term which they coined as the proteus effect. Other parallel studies by Dede discuss how the “impression” that one is participating “inside a realistic environment” can help authenticate the learning experience. The story moves on with a new scope. We want to investigate the combination of the two areas of research in an attempt to understand what happens inside immersive spaces, how people learn inside these spaces, and what happens to the learning beyond these spaces. Do these spaces help people make the evolution leap? Can these spaces facilitate a culture change?
So although learning can be accidental, it doesn’t just happen by accident. We believe in design for learning, and in creating the right conditions whereby accidental connections can be made. So we asked: Given the optimal design conditions, How effective would a 3-dimensional (3D) immersive virtual world (VW) be in affecting the pre-service teachers’ behavioral intentions towards increased technology acceptance and adoption in the classroom?
And we plunge deep into our journey. No journey starts without a plan. And I believe that all this that has been written so far by us, is touching the tip of the iceberg. So there is so much more to know, so much more to discover. Since learning and Education are at the focus of our investigation we want first to get to know a bit more about them. For the purpose of this study and because there are a number of learning models to look at we have chosen to view different models being adopted at higher education level. We have also chosen models which are associated to a number of learning theories. Having said that, and because this study is a journey since the time of submission of this document I have been also looking at different learning engagement theories and making associations between my voice as a researcher and the studies which I am coming across. Although in this report I associate a specific blended model, with two major Educational theories posed by two theorists – Dewey as well as Kolb, there are other concepts that serve to define the way to reach student engagement. I am here referring to something which is not directly stated in the report but is implicitly described in the proposed designs, and that is a critical democratic view of learner engagement that sees the transformation of the learner as the emerging factor rather than engagement in terms of academic successes or achievements or the liberal view of perceiving learner engagement in terms of the interactions and ties established by the learner. This perspective ultimately tallies with the level of engagement described in Dewey’s theories which sees the experiential cycle of learning as an alternation between theory and practice – between reflection and action as the learners go through the process of learning. We also describe here the blended learning models which follow this cycle of learning. In this approach we also describe how the paradigm of new and emergent virtual learning practices are bound by some common factors. We observe that there is an increased adoption of an inquiry-based approach to learning, a collaborative position of established communities of practice; and an increased opportunity for reflective actions in an experimental approach to problem solving.This model implies alternative methods of assessment strategies that go beyond “quizzing” and move towards “the group context (i.e., collaborative teams) that are project-based and have an outside (authentic) focus”
And the story bounces towards virtual worlds as we explore what they are, their popularity but most importantly the features which makes them so popular. One point which emerges is the immersive nature of the 3D social virtual worlds that is constructed from the various affordances that these 3D spaces exhibit. We find identity as one of the most important affordances that can affect the level of immersion inside virtual worlds. Communication is also an essential component of virtual worlds as this helps create those virtual communities that keep virtual worlds alive. The fact that virtual worlds can help simulate real life experiences provides an authenticity to the setting which transcends the fantasy world and provides a setting that learners can connect with. Role playing creates a situational experience that might otherwise be difficult to recreate in real life. Immersion has been defined differently by different researchers, describing different contexts. One of the common characteristics or elements that has been described as making up the immersive feature is Csìkszentmihàlyi’s state of flow, or rather this state of emotional engagement becomes driven by a dynamic exchange between boredom and frustration, arising from least to more challenging activities. Interactivity is another affordance, in which ‘avatars’ are allowed to interact not only with each other, but also with the content, thus contributing to the virtual world. The persistence of VWs renders the setting more credible as “life continues to exist” even when the avatar is not present. The final affordance which is the embodiment refers to the transformation from the physical persona who is projected inside the VW. Thomas & Seely Brown (2009) propose that this embodiment, helps transform the sense of “space” defined by the VW into a “sense of place” The journey takes us on an exploration of the various case studies and applications of VWs as they are being made use of at Higher Education. Assessment is another important element that is taken into consideration for VW designs. Although a number of studies have focused on measurement of skills and competencies that might parallel the real classroom setting research indicates that these VWs warrant for a deeper form of assessment. We do explore issues of self- efficacy through an environment that stimulates project-based and continuous task based assessment.
Please note that regulations specify that an applicant registered on a full-time basis may request to transfer his/her studies from the M.Phil to the Ph.D. degree after 12 months from the date of registration. An extract from the regulations in connection with the procedure related to the transfer*"Transfer of Registration from M.Phil. Degree to Ph.D. Degree* states that:(1) Senate may allow a transfer of registration from the M.Phil. Degree to the Ph.D. Degree with the same research proposal if the following conditions have been satisfied: (a) after 12 months of full-time study or 24 months of part-time study have elapsed, an /ad hoc/ board appointed by the Board for the purpose, composed of a chairman, the Principal Supervisor and another member, shall assess the student's work; (b) the /ad hoc/ board shall either (i) declare the work presented to have the potential to reach the standard appropriate to that required of a doctoral degree and recommends transfer; or (ii) determine that the student's work has not reached a sufficient standard to warrant recommendation of the transfer; or (iii) advise that the student be given up to 12 months in order to complete his/her studies for the award of an M.Phil. Degree; and in all cases shall inform the Sub-Committee, through the Board; and (c) a satisfactory progress report from the student's Faculty Doctoral Committee has been received. (2) If the transfer is allowed by Senate, the work already done for the M.Phil. Degree shall count towards the requirements for the Ph.D. Degree." The request for transfer of registration should be forwarded to Professor Valerie Sollars, Chairperson of the Faculty Board of Education
Virtual Connections - Lit Review
For the past years we have witnessed the emergence of a “digital scholarship” or rather the merge between profound changeVanessa Camilleri and traditional practices. I feel I am the product of the Faculty of Education University of Malta as an institution but I am also the product of an open, networked community whose identities established virtually, impact our real life ventures. Today I bring you… A TALE OF TWO WORLDS
OUTLINEPresentation of Literature Review ChapterPreparing for the upgrade MPhil to PhD
Engagement in Learning• Engagement in learning is seen from different perspectives• Communities of practice built around the creation of „authentic‟ experiences• Dewey‟s learning model in line with digital literacy – users learn by experience and reflection• Blended learning models use the online environment to support different learner interactions
Virtual Worlds• Aldrich (2009) defines them as “3D environments where participants from different locations can meet at the same time”• Different types of VWs that depend upon the context in which they are created• Affordances of VWs which define them include: IDENTITY COMMUNICATION PERSISTENCE SIMULATION ROLE PLAY EMBODIMENTSENSE OF PRESENCE
Serious Games• Serious games viewed as different in the scope from VWs and associated more with digital games• Defined as “games that use the artistic medium of games to deliver a message, teach a lesson or provide an experience” by Michael & Chen (2006)• Different levels of complexity which attributed to serious games arise from combination of academia, game studies, technology graphics & HCI, and eLearning & training• Serious Games, contrary to edutainment, target higher order learning skills using frameworks built around immersion, identity, interactivity, increased complexity, informed teaching, and instructional elements
Technology Acceptance• Education is an important backbone of society – most often this is the responsibility of teachers• Teacher beliefs and attitudes are important for the adoption and acceptance of teaching and learning modalities using technology• Models such as TAM, PAM, UTAUT, and TPACK involve ways of predicting acceptance resultant from behavioral change• Teacher training programs can help change attitudes towards adoption and acceptance of technology
One StepForward…Makingthe transfer M.Phil. Ph.D.