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Using Second Life as a learning environment

Using Second Life as a learning environment

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Using Second Life as a learning environment

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  1. Sheila Webber, Information School, University of Sheffield Using Second Life as a learning environment Prague, September 2010

  2. “You posed some questions” These are my answers!

  3. “Which technologies and tools do you use for teaching?” Webber 2010

  4. Blended learning Face-to-Face + technology

  5. Blended learning • Choosing learning environments and tools that suit: • Learners’ contexts and personal goals • Learning goals for the class or activity • Your own approach to teaching • Opportunities – and constraints • Space • Technology • You • The learners • Other people A good review about blended learning: Sharpe, R. et al (2006) The undergraduate experience of blended e-learning: a review of UK literature and practice. York: Higher Education Academy. Webber 2010

  6. video PowerPoint Computer Labs articles data projector e-portfolios post-its Lecture and seminar rooms Virtual Learning Environment “MOLE” (Blackboard) flipchart computers copycam whiteboard Second Life discussion boards Screenr My office Flickr Netvibes Web Email Blogs Students: facebook, texting, phoning conversations in corridor or after classes Webber 2010

  7. Searching, evaluating, presenting, reflecting (first year students) In the computer Lab 6. Groups present Powerpoints to rest of class: feedback 1.Find information about experts’ conceptions of information management Select 5 items Select one favourite 6 Post ppt to your e-portfolio 5. Post ppt to class discussion board 2. Post a message to the board on MOLE 4. Create ppt with each person’s favourite item & compare strategies 3. Make a group of 4 people Webber 2010

  8. “Which of them would you recommend for information literacy courses?” So the answer to: is: “all of them! it depends what you want to do!” Webber 2010

  9. “Which edutainment would you recommend for information literacy courses?” Webber 2010

  10. People will not be engaged and think it is “fun” just because it is “a game”. Research shows: • Gameplay, graphics and usability need to be good • Players want to be challenged • Different people like different games: issues of age gender, language, culture etc. as well as other personal preferences • Key motivations for playing video games include: • Following your interest (e.g. Football, care for horses, guitar playing) • Doing things you can’t/ shouldn’t do in real life (e.g. killing, crashing cars, being a princess) • Competing and winning Forthcoming article: Gumulak, S. and Webber, S. “: Playing video games: Learning and information literacy” Webber 2010

  11. Some ideas • Existing games • Gamers do use information skills in games (searching, selecting and applying information): get them to discuss that & build activities (e.g. “teach someone else how to find and use that information for your favourite game”) • Researching & presenting the background to a favourite game • Creating games • Don’t make the games too simple or dull • Aim for problem and puzzle solving (evaluating and combining information), not just “find this information and you get a point” • Use professional game engines to create your games (e.g. Neverwinter Nights) so they don’t look amateurish • Use mini-games to cover different aspects of information literacy • Get learners to create games or puzzles for each other (learning by creating/ teaching) and face-to-face games may be easier to create than digital ones! Nice examples of schools using games: Webber 2010

  12. Second Life

  13. Second Life (SL), a Virtual World (VW) • VW = persistent, multiuser, avatars, networked • 3-D VW world, owned by (& trademark of) Linden Lab • Most things created by SL residents: SL fashion designers, architects, bakers, animal makers …. • Avatars- 3D representation of yourself – free to signup and can live on freebies, but need Linden dollars if want to own land, buy clothes etc. • Need to download SL browser & have good broadband connection & computer graphics card • Communication through text chat, Voice and Instant Messaging • 40-80,000 people online simultaneously Webber , 2010

  14. “Would you consider SL an educational game?” • SL is a world or environment, not just a game • It does not have a specific goal • It does not have a fixed set of characters • It does not have any pre-set plot lines • SL can be used for games: but you have to create the goals, characters and plot! • There are many role-playing areas e.g. Star Trek, Avatar • You can have treasure hunts, set up special scenes to tell a story, have simulations or role-plays etc. • Or you can wander, shop, build, garden, chat …. Webber 2010

  15. “How SL has been used in teaching in the academic world? Do you know some courses (free accessible) which you would recommend for an inspiration for us?” First World War Poetry sim

  16. Main subject areas • Legal training • Theatre and drama • Computer science programming • Crime scene training • Languages, esp. Spanish • Midwifery • Health and medicine • Nursing training • Health and safety training • Physics simulations e.g. wind turbines • Information science theory • Art and fashion Slide from presentation by John Kirriemuir, April 2010 Virtual Worlds in Education: Why? Webber, 2010

  17. Education Virtual Hajj Uncle D story quest on HIV/AIDS FSU Holocaust Muinjij native American island Teeside Virtual factory

  18. Dr. Steven Hornik / Robins Hermano Kenneth Dixon School of Accounting University of Central Florida 900+ accountancy students Tour of the Testis Biology learning & exploration Peter Miller/ Graham Mills Liverpool University Sheila Webber, 2010

  19. “Why have you chosen SL for your teaching?”

  20. “Why have you chosen SL for your teaching?” • Interacting with concepts in three dimensions: encourage new ways of thinking about things • Engaging with people internationally • Students can pursue new research questions • Students develop communication & technology skills • Involvement of outside tutors • Showcasing students' work in exhibitions • Enabling students to meet up with tutors and peers outside scheduled times safely & from remote locations. • I like it ;-)

  21. Teaching in SL: my examples • First year undergraduate core class (BSc Information Management): student activities: • Exhibiting on “7 Pillars of Information Literacy” • Research interviews about information behaviour • Masters-level option “Educational Informatics”: student activities • Visits; including attending & reporting on a major SL education conference • Reflecting on how could be used for learning & teaching Webber 2010

  22. Webber 2010

  23. Students present their conference highlights, in their Second Life homes in the Educational Informatics village

  24. “What is necessary to prepare a course in SL?” My students Me Webber 2010

  25. Some advice about SL teaching • Attend SL events to learn what/ not to do • Avoid putting learners on seats and just talking at them: this is dull • Help learners take their first steps in SL, so they gain confidence • As for all teaching: be clear about your aims & design learning and teaching that enables you to achieve these aims! • Plan activities carefully, give clear instructions, but don’t try to control people’s every move – let them fly! Webber 2010

  26. Some advice about SL teaching • Only use SL if there is a sound pedagogical or service reason e.g. • The three dimensional aspect helps learners to understand concepts (e.g. creating giant molecules, Boolean logic in the swimming pool, 3D model of information literacy) • You want to use role play or simulation (medicine, business, law, literature) • It is valuable to get external people to see your students’ work (e.g. art students) • Your users are using SL, so it becomes just one more contact point • They are distance or part-time learners • It enables you to include people with disabilities (e.g. physical disabilities) Webber 2010

  27. What do librarians do in SL? • Support staff, students & the public through virtual information and library services • Reader development activities and book groups • Recreate historical or fictional environments • Teach or co-teach virtual classes e.g. • Using SL for quests and activities: learners solving information problems using web resources and SL • Create interactive learning objects • Use SL to plan and “mock up” new services • Organise, and participate in training & networking for librarians Webber 2010

  28. “How are the teaching and learning in virtual environments accepted by the students?” Picture: Vicki Cormie

  29. All students • Spectrum of reactions: from a bit dull/ & childish, to cool, exciting and motivating • Key issue is technology: in particular younger students get frustrated if there is “lag” (making it difficult to move round and do things in SL) • My perspective: key thing is whether it helps them achieve their learning outcomes, students don’t all like lectures, seminars etc. either! Webber 2010

  30. “Could you compare the approach of the Google generation students andthose, who are older by 10-15 years?”

  31. My generalisations (there is variety in all age groups)… • Older students (compared to younger) • may do more outside class time • less worried about being “childish” • may be quicker in seeing applications for SL • part of generally being more mature and motivated • a few might find it a bit strange • Younger students • Happy to try things out • Want to use technologies where they can connect with friends • Expect “games” to be fast moving, have a plot and have good graphics (so their expectations have to be modified or met) • Seem to accept it as another way to learn Webber 2010

  32. Second Life is a valuable as one of the environments I use for teaching & learningand (if you want) you can also have fun!

  33. Sheila Webber Twitter: SheilaYoshikawa Pictures by Sheila Webber unless otherwise stated Sheila Yoshikawa Webber 2010

  34. This presentation is on slideshare at • Second Life and Information Literacy: a three minute video created for this conference with 4 examples from SL: or • Delicious links on SL and libraries/information literacy: (compiled by Sheila Webber, Vicki Cormie, Denny Colledge, Marshall Dozier, Lyn Parker) Webber 2010

  35. Balk, D. (2008), Could a Video Game Assist in the Delivery of Generic Information Literacy Skills to Students in Higher Education?, MSc dissertation, Robert Gordon University Aberdeen. • Clyde, J. and Thomas, C. (2008), ”Building an Information Literacy first-person shooter”, Reference Services Review, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 366-380. • Virtual World Watch (reports on use of virtual worlds in UK HE & FE, podcasts etc.) • Webber, S. and Nahl, D. (2010) “Sustaining learning for LIS through use of a virtual world.” Paper presented at the 2010 IFLA conference. Full text at Webber 2010

  36. Infolit iSchool • wiki: • SLURL: • Flickr site: • Information Literacy in Second Life Wiki (also the focus for Information Literacy Week in Second Life): • LIS Student Union in SL, • Sloog site: • Flickr site: • Website: • YouTube Channel: • SLURL: Webber 2010