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Teaching and Learning in a. Collaborative Electronic Environment. Joy McGregor & Lyn Hay Associate Professor Lecturer in Teacher Librarianship School of Library & Information Studies School of Information Studies

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teaching and learning in a

Teaching andLearningin a

Collaborative Electronic Environment

Joy McGregor & Lyn Hay

Associate Professor Lecturer in Teacher Librarianship

School of Library & Information Studies School of Information Studies

Texas Woman\'s University, Denton Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga

Texas, USA NSW Australia


Growing up digital

Growing up is about learning. The Net Generation are beginning to process information and learn differently than the baby boomers….

The destination is different and so is the route kids must take.

Don Tapscott (1996)


Learning digital

  • As teachers we need to:
  • rethink our educational delivery
  • aware of new learning technologies
  • evaluate the digital landscape
  • test application of new tools
  • work with colleagues to streamline

IT integration

  • professionally network beyond local

What is a collaborative electronic environment?

  • a site that integrates collaborative activities for workgroups, or learning groups
  • place for teachers & students to meet and share ideas and resources
  • a mix of email, listservs, web forums, web resources, electronic meeting software (NetMeeting), IRC and MOOs
collaborative electronic environments cees
Collaborative electronic environments (CEEs)
  • providing pathways to digital learning
  • direct impact on student learning
  • harnessing the available technologies
  • digital information management
  • entertainment and education merge
  • students collaborate in real-time
  • virtual classrooms created by staff & students

Challenge of online teaching

…is to find a way to communicate that the learners understand, actively engage in, and gradually find as a flexible, user-centred style of learning. The success of collaborative electronic environments (CEEs) seems to depend on building the social learning environment provided by real time contact with other students, teachers and a sense of "place" where the learning happens.

Many of the principles of effective teaching practice are carried over to the new environment and you become enriched as you discover and share new teaching and learning experiences with your students.

(Eustace 1999:2)


Enter…Synchronous learning environments

  • multi-object oriented programming (MOO)
  • real-time collaboration
  • sharing ‘physical’ space
  • experiencing a ‘state of presence’
  • reflects ‘real’ classroom
  • wonderful worlds of words
  • power of the imagination

Cognitive Demands on Users

  • MOO is more than dialogue
  • requires interaction with environment,

people & things

Students involved in:

  • engagement
  • immersion
  • construction
  • synthesis, analysis, evaluation

Learning Opportunities in MOOs

  • real-time interaction for education across distance

and time zones

  • global student collaborative projects
  • ideal for group brainstorming, information sharing

and decision making sessions, eg. literature circles,

debates and mock trials

  • excellent PD facility for teachers and administrators

eg. online conferencing


A virtual world


  • a range of virtual places to meet
  • access via raw telnet or MOO client
  • Pueblo <http://www.chaco.com/pueblo>
  • connect to Learning Communities MOO via

telnet address: ispg.riv.csu.edu.au 8762

basic moo commands
Basic MOO commands

Communication commands:


”[text] eg; "Hi You say, "Hi"

:[text] :jumps Joy jumps

`[name] `Lyn Hi Joy [to Lyn]: Hi

-[name][text] -Lyn Hi pages Lyn with a private

message from any room


Movement Commands:


Goes in the exit named ‘lily’

@join Lyn

Teleports you to Lyn\'s location

@go room # or name

Teleports you to a room, if you can enter.

eg. @go #157 or @go LilyPond


Other Commands:


Gives a listing of who is connected.

look here

Shows the description of where you are.

look Lyn

Shows Lyn\'s description.


Exits LC_MOO.

customising virtual classroom environments
Customising virtual classroom environments
  • Factors to consider:
  • audience
  • types of activities, forums, etc
  • teaching styles
  • learning styles
  • presentation styles
  • interactivity with environment, objects, etc

Jasper Park Lodge

  • an informal classroom area and small group

meeting rooms

  • 1 large, comfortable ‘lodge’ area for large

group discussions - Jasper Park Lodge

  • 6 more traditional small group meeting

rooms surrounding the lodge area - Maligne,

Alberta, Pyramid, Skyline, Cavell, Miette

  • a patio for relaxation (with a pool!)

Shearwater Shack & ThinkTank

  • 2 classrooms for MLS students
  • 1 informal workshop area - Shearwater Shack

- relaxing, fun environment for PM discussion

- 1 to 1 consultation

  • 1 formal panel discussion area - ThinkTank

- brainstorming, decisionmaking


Casuarina Conference Resort

  • formal conferencing centre
  • simulates ‘real’ conference centre environment
  • public lobby areas
  • large auditorium for 1 to many style presentations
  • breakout meeting rooms for workshops
  • social meeting areas, eg. verandah, café, bar
the lilypond world
The LilyPond World
  • classrooms for K-9 literature circles groups
  • central launching or meeting point
  • experience a learning journey
  • 4 paths from LilyPond to meeting rooms
  • 4 paths from meeting rooms to Departure Lounge
  • Last Minute Chat Room & Souvenir Shop
  • plus children’s author rooms, eg. Andy Griffiths

This kind of environmental interaction provided my students with precisely the kind of surroundings that foster learning and metacognition naturally…

English, JA. (1997). Actualizing the environment: a study of student MOO

activity. <http://leahi.kcc.hawaii.edu/org/tcc_conf97/pres/english.html>.


Plato and his students wandered around

Athens arguing their way to understanding. While my cyber-students… learn also from the collaborative efforts of online debates, conferences and papers. They will think

about what they have to say, and they will come to class each week amazingly prepared to argue and type their way toward insight.

Phillips, V. (1998). Education in the ether. Salon Magazine, 20 Jan. (online).

Available <http://salon magazine.com/21st/feature/1998/01/20feature.html>

other cees
Other CEEs
  • LinguaMOO: supports a writing and rhetoric program. http://lingua.utdallas.edu
  • AtheMOO: for people interested in theatre. http://moo.hawaii.edu/athemoo/
  • Tapped In: PD for K-16 teachers, staff, researchers. http://tappedin.sri.com
potential cee activities
Potential CEE Activities
  • Playground: from simple play (e.g. swing on a swing) to complex problem-solving (e.g. puzzles, mazes, obstacle courses)
  • Building worlds reflecting fiction and non-fiction: (e.g. The Little Prince, a gold mine)
  • Author visits, ask-an-expert forums

From real to virtual classroom

  • An effective classroom provides:
  • tools that learners use at the point of need
  • an environment conducive to learning
  • opportunities for teachers & students share

information & exchange ideas

  • freedom to experiment and take risks
  • mechanisms for evaluating performance
  • safe haven for learning to take place (Porter 1997:24)
teaching a virtual class
Teaching a virtual class
  • Establishing a “time window”, eg. Friday 11am

1. Convene a meeting via e-mail

2. Set an agenda & prep on a webpage

3. Send MOO transcripts to ALL students

4. Survey and evaluate sessions

  • E-mail, WWW and MOO as CEE
don t reinvent the wheel
Don’t reinvent the wheel
  • adapt teaching strategies, eg. online roll

call, pointing to students, taking/holding

the floor..., group work, student leaders

  • develop new strategies, eg. electronic preparation, logging session transcripts, synchronise time zones, open classroom management, MOO client troubleshooting, MOO netiquette
doing time
‘Doing time’
  • on your L-Plates
  • familiarity with CEE management
  • ‘clock up’ online hours in MOO, eg. 12 hrs
  • informal MOO conferencing with experts
  • ‘skill up’ with MOO teaching colleagues
  • trial ‘classroom management’ strategies

with small groups of students

position vacant moo mentor
Position vacant: MOO mentor

Alliance with MOO expert essential...

  • software support, eg. downloading MOO client, getting connected
  • MOO commands, eg. @join, @page
  • custom build virtual classroom
  • presence while ‘prac teaching’

Teaching andLearningin a

Collaborative Electronic Environment


Joy McGregor & Lyn Hay

Assistant Professor Lecturer in Teacher Librarianship

School of Library & Information Studies School of Information Studies

Texas Woman\'s University, Denton Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga

Texas, USA NSW Australia