Tag Archives: Virtual environment

Experiences of operating and studying in Second Life: conclusions for training design

The Educational Association Citizens´ Forum SKAF ry is an educational institution for non-formal education. The Citizens’ Forum has been an active Second Life participant since 2007, researching its potential and challenges in educational use and non-governmental organisation activities. The first training sessions were organised in 2008 on a block of land rented from EduFinland I island. Later, ownership was acquired of the Suomi ry (Finland ry) island, which was customised to serve Finnish organisations and non-governmental organisations (further NGO). The Citizens’ Forum’s training courses have covered training in Second Life and the organisation of cooperative meetings and various other events in Second Life. The overall length of training sessions has been one month. Each course has consisted of 3-5. 1.5 hour meetings in Second Life and interim tasks completed either individually or in small groups. In addition to Second Life, Moodle, an online learning environment, has been employed in which tasks, experiences and feedback have been gathered and which has also contained written summaries of what was learned during the Second Life meetings. The Second Life environment has also been regularly utilised in Citizens’ Forum staff and various other work group work related meetings.Funding and ventures 2008: Ministry of Education special funding, Initiation of Second Life courses and construction of environment 2009-2010: ESF programme Open Learning Environments-AVO venture, development and implementation of Second Life educational programmes. This article is based on practical experiences gained from:
– suitability of cooperative educational processes for Second Life
– constructing a Second Life environment for educational use
– suitability of Second Life technology and tools for education and team work
– practical methods related to educational situations.

Article first published in “Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education TOJDE”, V. 12 (2011), n. 3-2, Special Issue on Second Life Applications in Distance Education, Article 3. Reprinted with permission.

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Design and implementation of a 3D multi-user virtual world for language learning

The best way to learn is by having a good teacher and the best language learning takes place when the learner is immersed in an environment where the language is natively spoken. 3D multi-user virtual worlds have been claimed to be useful for learning, and the field of exploiting them for education is becoming more and more active thanks to the availability of open source 3D multi-user virtual world development tools. The research question we wanted to respond to was whether we could deploy an engaging learning experience to foster communication skills within a 3D multi-user virtual world with minimum teacher´s help. We base our instructional design on the combination of two constructivist learning strategies: situated learning and cooperative/collaborative learning. We extend the capabilities of the Open Wonderland development toolkit to provide natural text chatting with non-player characters, textual tagging of virtual objects, automatic reading of texts in learning sequences and the orchestration of learning activities to foster collaboration. Our preliminary evaluation of the experience deems it to be very promising.

Article first published in “Educational Technology & Society”, V. 14 (2011), n. 4, pp. 2-10. Reprinted with permission.

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Street artists in a virtual space

Information and communication technologies have great potential for knowledge dissemination, effective learning and the development of more efficient education services. The Information and communication systems, whether networked or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process.
The present paper will give a general overview of a new integrated learning methodology that combines an e-learning platform and a 3D virtual world and that aims at encouraging students participation as well as creative teaching and learning. It will show how this new methodology has been applied through the project ST.ART in the European partner schools. The learning takes place within technology-supported community of learners involved in the creation as well as consumption of content.

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Effect of unconstrained walking plane with virtual environment on spatial learning: an exploratory study

We have integrated the treadmill-style locomotion interface, called the unconstrained walking plane (UWP), with virtual environment (VE) to enable non-visual spatial learning (NSL). This setting allows for a new type of experience, whereby participants with visual disability can explore VE for NSL and to develop cognitive maps of it. Although audio and haptic interface has been studied for NSL, nothing is known about the use of locomotion interface for supporting NSL. We report an experiment that investigates the efficacy of UWP for NSL, formation of cognitive maps, and thereby enhancing the mobility skill of visual impaired people (VIP). Two groups of participants – blind-folded sighted, and blind – learned spatial layout in VE. They used two exploration modes: guided (training phase) and unguided (testing phase). In unguided exploration mode, spatial layout knowledge was assessed by asking participants to perform object localization task and target-object task. Results reveal that the participants have benefited by the learning, i.e. there were significant improvements in post-training navigation performance of the participants.

©CIS Journal. Article first published in ‘Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences’ V. 1 (2010), n. 1 Reprinted with permission

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Genome Island: A Virtual Science Environment in Second Life

Second Life virtual environment has particular implications for science education as it fosters a sense of play in the virtual laboratory. Genome Island is a laboratory environment of genetics builded in the virtual world of Second Life supported by the Biology Department of Texas Wesleyan University and by a Sam Taylor Fellowship awarded by the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Genome Island is a didactic area in the virtual world of Second Life where students can perform a lot of genetic simulation experiments. The four activities described below (Bacterial Transformation; Monohybrid Pea Cross; X-Linked Inheritance in Cats; Message in a Bottle) illustrate some of the data that can be collected on Genome Island and the learning objectives addressed by aech experiment. Virtual worlds offer a learning environment that conbines active engagement with the convenience of online access. Students analysed came from two classes of Texas Wesleyan University. Student performance on Second Life learning objectives was assessed as part of the final laboratory exam, which included material covered in Second Life activities. Actually is available for public access.

Article originally published in ‘Innovate Journal of Online Education’,  V.5(2009), n.6,  Reprinted with permission

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Modelos flexibles como respuestas de las universidades a la sociedad de la información

In the contemporary Information Society there’s a need to adopt flexible teaching and learning models as a response of Higher Education Institutions to the inner changes of present society, changes connected to the development of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The author considers several contributions, made by researchers in the subject, and exposes his own point f view as a product of his theoretical elaboration and systematization of his experience in the field. The paper has a four parts structure about: the need to incorporate the ICT’s into Higher Education; the need for universities to respond to globalization; the challenge of making several areas of university institutions flexible; the concept, characteristics and implications of flexible teaching and learning models.

Article originally published in: “Accion Pedagogica”, 11(2002), n. 1, pp. 4-13. Reprinted with permission.

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