dr christopher c whitehead tsys department of computer science l.
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Teaching in a Virtual World
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  1. Dr. Christopher C. Whitehead TSYS Department of Computer Science Teaching in a Virtual World

  2. Schedule • Introduction • History of Virtual Worlds • Current Uses • Conclusions

  3. Introduction This research focuses on the pedagogical issues associated with teaching in virtual worlds such as Second Life. The presentation will discuss the preliminary investigation of the current use of this environment by other institutions and the impact the use of this environment will have on the future of education.

  4. What is a virtual world? • “a computer-based simulated environment intended for its users to inhabit and interact via avatars” • Avatar: • “a computer user's representation of himself/herself or alter ego”

  5. How did this all begin? • Dreams • Computers • Tron (Disney, 1982) • Habitat (Lucasfilms, 1985) • Virtual reality boom (1990s) • The Lawnmower Man (Steven King, 1992) • The Thirteenth Floor (Josef Rusnak, 1999) • The Matrix (Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, 1999) • Games (World of Warcraft, 1994) • Second Life (2003)

  6. How far has it come? • Google – 11,200,000 results • Google Scholar – 62,500 results • ACM Digital Library – 17,412 articles

  7. Who’s using virtual worlds? • Over 200 colleges and universities in Second Life including: • MIT • Harvard University • University of Notre Name • University of Southern California • Princeton University • Stanford University • University of Texas

  8. Who’s using virtual worlds in the University System of Georgia? • Darton College • Georgia State University • Middle Georgia College • Kennesaw State University Institutions and Organizations in Second Life Ohio University

  9. What are they using it for? • Computer graphics • E-Business simulations/games • 3D geometry • Drama/Screenwriting, Sound Design, Screen Composition, Set/Environment/Interactive Design, Cinematography and Digital Media • Exhibitions of student art, photography, fashion and design • Distance learning • Conferences , workshops and seminars • New student orientation http://simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Second_Life:_Universities_and_Private_Islands

  10. Why should we consider using it? • Regents Subcommittee on the Educational Use of Second Life: • Allows educators and students to work together “as part of a globally networked virtual classroom environment” • “provides new opportunities for enriching an existing curriculum” • Georgia State: • “provides a unique and flexible environment for instructors who are interested in online learning and computer-supported collaborative work...an immersive learning simulation that allows the users to learn new skills, learn in a social environment, and to learn the cultures and manners of a virtual environment.” • “Virtual worlds support rich, engaging, learning experiences.”

  11. Perspectives from the educator’s point of view? • Supports “a constructivist model, specifically situated learning and shared meaning through collaborative experiences” • Supports active learning • Supports multiple learning contexts • Formal education – classroom, laboratory • Informal education – museums, cultural events • Distance learning • Vocational training • Special needs education

  12. Perspectives from the educator’s point of view? (cont) • Multi-disciplinary research opportunities • Richer learning experience than an LMS • Enhances experiential learning Disadvantages: • Learning curve • Technical requirements • Limited non-verbal communication compared to face-to-face environment • Limited document support

  13. Perspectives from the student’s point of view? • Express creativity • Immersion into the learning process • Discovery • “Learn to be”

  14. Second Life for Educators • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOFU9oUF2HA

  15. Interested in getting started? • Second Life for Educators: • http://secondlifegrid.net/slfe/education-use-virtual-world

  16. Conclusions • Research on the effectiveness of the use of virtual worlds is limited • As technology improves, the use of virtual worlds will continue to grow • Virtual worlds can be an excellent tool for supporting teaching and learning

  17. References • Institutions and Organizations in SL, http://simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Institutions_and_Organizations_in_SL • Kemp, J., & Livingstone, D. (2006). Putting a Second Life 'metaverse' skin on learning management systems. In Livingstone, D. (Ed.), Second Life Community Convention, San Francisco, 20th August. University of Paisley. Retrieved May 7, 2007, from http://www.sloodle.com/whitepaper.pdf • Regents Administrative Committee on Distance Education , Subcommittee on the Educational Use of Second Life by Linden Labs , http://banzi.gcsu.edu/racde/ • Second Life: Universities and Private Islands, http://simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Second_Life:_Universities_and_Private_Islands • Stoerger, S. (n.d.) It's Not Whether You Win or Lose, but How You Play the Game: The Role of Virtual Worlds in Education, http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~sstoerge/virtualworlds.htm • Virtual Worlds: The Future of the Internet? The Future of Education?, http://library.thinkquest.org/23138/hwelcom.htm