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Writing In Virtual Worlds


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this is a presentation that Wainbrave Bernal aka Jonathon Richter made to the Tech TC group of The Oregon Writing Project on June 25th, 2007

Published in: Technology, Education

Writing In Virtual Worlds

  1. 1. Writing and learning in a 3D Virtual World Collaboration, construction, and learner engagement Jonathon Richter, Ed.D. Center for Electronic Studying University of Oregon Oregon Writing Project TechTC gathering June 25th, 2007
  2. 2. In Second Life, anyone can... <ul><li>Easily design & build 3D objects </li></ul><ul><li>Make objects interactive that “talk” to the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Fly </li></ul><ul><li>Teleport to most locations </li></ul><ul><li>Dance </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborate </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate (chat and IM) </li></ul><ul><li>Take on new personae </li></ul><ul><li>Learn </li></ul>
  3. 8. Writing and hypertext are NOT well represented in SL: <ul><li>Point of view varies in 3 dimensions </li></ul><ul><li>Use of chat and instant message are the two primary interface mechs in SL </li></ul><ul><li>But thankfully, the API opened up about 6 months ago... :) </li></ul><ul><li>While it has been a relatively quiet place (ambient noise, mostly), voice is coming! </li></ul>
  4. 10. Teaches Freshman English Composition in Second Life for Ball State University Interested in Second Life as a rhetorical space, to develop and negotiate patterns of community and expression. She uses all of Second Life for her students to think about what it means to be part of a community and what this means within the voice of their own writing. Sarah “Intellagirl” Robbins
  5. 11. Learning Activities in SL <ul><li>Students collaborate to create Beowulf’s Grendel. </li></ul><ul><li>People do a “virtual internship” with IBM and if it’s mutually a positive experience, there is an invite to visit corporate headquarters. </li></ul><ul><li>The new Yankee Stadium can be visited and commented upon in SL, long before it’s to be built. </li></ul>
  6. 12. Learning Activities in SL <ul><li>In Teen SL, the Global Kids Foundation sponsors kids to take a good look at issues of importance to them and assists them to create immersive experiences to engage other teens and the greater community in dialogue. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Virtual Hallucinations”, built by a professor at UC-Davis allows the SL visitor to temporarily experience life as a paranoid schizophrenic. </li></ul>
  7. 13. Learning Activities in SL <ul><li>The International Space Flight Museum allows one to see models of real rockets flown throughout history, watch a globe spinning with the highest definition photo of earth ever taken by a satellite. </li></ul><ul><li>At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, you can try to avoid a tsunami, fly in a Hurricane Hunter, or stand on a map of the U.S. and see real-time weather in 3D. </li></ul>
  8. 15. Promoting student academic learning with Virtual Worlds: <ul><li>Lowers the threat of failure </li></ul><ul><li>Fosters engagement through immersion </li></ul><ul><li>Manages levels of attainment to prevent feeling overwhelmed </li></ul><ul><li>Links learning to goals and roles </li></ul><ul><li>Creates a social context with shared interests </li></ul><ul><li>Presents multimodal learning environments </li></ul><ul><li>Supports a framework of inquiry </li></ul>(Jenkins, 2005).
  9. 17. 1. Lowers the threat of failure <ul><li>When “getting students to play” is a teaching objective, the number of avenues to content area exploration becomes greater. </li></ul><ul><li>Exploration of an Immersive World is non-linear, multi-sensory, direct 1st person experience with a spirit of adventure and play naturally built in. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages the creation of a Community of Practice: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ how do I get past level 6?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ is anyone interested in helping me build ____?” </li></ul></ul>
  10. 19. 2a. Fosters engagement through immersion <ul><li>Immersion = “generating a 3D image which appears to surround the user” ~ (Guth, B.R., 2007). </li></ul><ul><li>The interface ceases to exist altogether. </li></ul><ul><li>The participant “wears the computer”. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>~ (Bricken, W., 1991). </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 20. 2b. Fosters engagement through immersion <ul><li>“ The subject-object distinction </li></ul><ul><li>that exists between </li></ul><ul><li>people and information </li></ul><ul><li>in computers, or between </li></ul><ul><li>students and much of what they learn in school </li></ul><ul><li>- disappears.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bricken, 1991 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 22. “ Immersion in a virtual world allows us to construct knowledge from direct experience, not from descriptions of experience. Any learning that is mediated by a symbol system, whether text, spoken language, or computer, is inevitably a reflection of someone else's experience not our own.” ~ Winn, W. (1993)
  13. 24. 3. Manages levels of attainment to prevent feeling overwhelmed <ul><li>Scaffolding </li></ul><ul><li>Tasks and skill development is easily segmented and sequenced. </li></ul><ul><li>Layers of abstraction can be peeled, like an onion. </li></ul><ul><li>Taking advantage of both the immersiveness of MUVEs and the structured hypertext of the WWW is, for the moment, best. </li></ul>
  14. 26. 4. Links learning to goals and roles <ul><li>Student-built portfolios </li></ul><ul><li>Performance-based learning </li></ul><ul><li>3D Graphic Organizers </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration often required in SL, as in RL! </li></ul>
  15. 28. 5. Creates a social context with shared interests <ul><li>“ Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” </li></ul>Etienne Wenger, 2004
  16. 29. Groups in Second Life <ul><li>Any two avatars can form a group </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Roles </li></ul><ul><li>Permissions </li></ul><ul><li>Dues </li></ul><ul><li>Communications </li></ul><ul><li>Voting </li></ul>
  17. 32. 6. Creates multi-modal learning environments <ul><li>Virtual Worlds are a natural fit for exploring and tapping Multiple Intelligences </li></ul><ul><li>Organization, collaboration, aesthetics, articulating abstract concepts, manipulation of geometric objects, cultural contexts, mathematics, etc. </li></ul>
  18. 33. 7a. Supports a framework of inquiry <ul><li>Librarians are increasingly using SL and other MUVEs to archive collections and make them accessible and interesting. </li></ul>
  19. 34. Library of Congress exhibit
  20. 35. 7b. Supports a framework of inquiry <ul><li>Allows students to arrange work for display in a private or public setting to demonstrate progress over time and reflect on ways that learning standards have been met. </li></ul>
  21. 36. Virtual Portfolios, or vPortfolios can be student-created: <ul><li>Museums </li></ul><ul><li>Marketplaces </li></ul><ul><li>Quests </li></ul><ul><li>Communities </li></ul><ul><li>Ecologies </li></ul>
  22. 37. 7c. Supports a framework of inquiry <ul><li>Provides an engaging medium for students to explore and create meaningful connections for themselves in the 1st person. </li></ul>
  23. 38. Getting started, getting involved: <ul><li>Join Second Life (it’s free) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>explore </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>become part of a community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check out </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Join the Second Life Educators listserv </li></ul><ul><ul><li>lots of incredible people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>active at over 2,000 members </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Join SLducks! (coming soon!) </li></ul>
  24. 43. References <ul><li>Bricken, W. (1991). Extended abstract: A formal foundation for cyberspace. In S.K. Helsel (Ed.), Beyond the vision: The technology, research, and business of virtual reality. Westport: Meckler. </li></ul><ul><li>Guth, B.R. (2007). Establishing a professional presence. The Konstrukt: Treating Second Life in the way it deserves. 13 - 14. Downloaded on June 22nd, 2007 from </li></ul><ul><li>Jenkins, H.(2005). Getting into the game. Educational Leadership, 62(7), 48-51. </li></ul><ul><li>Wenger, E.(2004). Communities of Practice downloaded from </li></ul><ul><li>Winn, W.(1993). A conceptual basis for educational applications of virtual reality. Human Interface Technology Laboratory, Washington Technology Center. </li></ul>