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Laura Jacob. Using Virtual Worlds to Improve Student Proficiency in World Language. Introduction. Instructional Technology Coach of McGuffey School District, PA, USA EdD Instructional Technology student of Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Research and practical experience.

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laura jacob
Laura Jacob

Using Virtual Worlds to Improve Student Proficiency in

World Language


Instructional Technology Coach of McGuffey School District, PA, USA

EdD Instructional Technology student of Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Research and practical experience


Laura Jacob


questions for participants
Questions for participants
  • What level do you educate?

A. Pre-K

B. Public K-12

C. Private K-12

D. Higher Ed

E. Retired


3. What information do you expect from this session?

  • Background information
  • Current Research
  • Current Usage
  • Ideas for implementation
  • All of the above
  • None

5. What are you most familiar with:

  • Second Life
  • Open Sim
  • Reaction Grid
  • Activ Worlds
  • Adobe Atmosphere

6. What mode of teaching do you (or your colleagues) spend the most time with:

  • Face to face
  • Blended
  • Distance
session objectives
Session Objectives

Introduction on 3-D virtual worlds

Current research

Virtual worlds + world languages

Small group simulation/ discussion

Lesson plan development/ connections



what does the current research state
What does the current research state?
  • 69% conducted at University setting
  • 19% Secondary schools
  • 12% Primary schools
  • Of the past virtual world research, 12.5% has addressed virtual worlds and education
what does the current research state1
What does the current research state?

Overall research indicates student enjoyment of virtual worlds (Hew, K. & Cheung, W. 2010).

Overall research states that virtual worlds could help students learn (Hew, K. & Cheung, W. 2010).

Dickey, 2005: The combination of the text chat tool, unique names and avatars provided a sense of anonymity.

Bailey & Moar, 2001: Avatars appear to be a very successful means to facilitate interaction among primary school children.

what does the current research state2
What does the current research state?
  • Majority of studies were based on descriptive research.
  • Lacked detailed qualitative research design
  • Many of the studies did not utilize a control group.
  • More than half (53%) were limited in duration of one semester-one year. (novelty effect)
vw wl vw 2 l environment possibilities
VW+WL= VW2L Environment Possibilities

Safe Environment


Promote higher-order thinking

Avatar as positive barrier


implementation of vw 2 l1
Implementation of VW2L:

S: Support others in the world when they need it

T: Take care with your talk and use appropriate words

A: Always ensure that you never reveal your personal details

R: Respect others and their property and always be kind and considerate

MacIT.(2010). Virtual Worlds Project.

implementation of vw 2 l rubrics
Implementation of VW2L:Rubrics

Building Objects


Written Activities


practical applications general
Practical Applications: General

Immersive environment

Famous monuments

Cultural art tours

Spatial awareness

Cultural Rooms


Folklore and proverbs


Using public transportation

Holiday celebrations

practical applications french
Practical Applications: French

Le Petit Prince

Ordering at a Café

Ordering a plane ticket

Tour of Paris

practical applications spanish
Practical Applications: Spanish

Ordering at a restaurant

Tour of Latin America

Shopping in a market

Mesoamerican Ballgame

practical applications german
Practical Applications: German


Oktoberfest Celebration



Skiing in the Alps

German Rail- ICE

practical applications english
Practical Applications: English

Driving in the United States

US Government System

US History


Technology-enhanced curriculum



Computer requirements

Prebuilt locales vs. building


What language do you (or your colleagues) teach:

  • French
  • Spanish
  • German
  • English
  • Mandarin
  • Other
lesson plan development and connections
Lesson Plan Development and Connections
  • Create a workable lesson plan and find someone to connect with
  • Share ideas in large group

1. From my perspective, the possible benefits are worth trying virtual worlds with world language students.

  • Yes
  • No

3. I intend to try virtual worlds with world language students for the 2010-2011 school year.

  • Yes
  • No

Questions and Thank You!

Visit booth 1626 for more information


Bailey, F. & Moar, M. (2001). The Vertex Project: children creating and populating 3D virtual worlds. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 20, 1, 19-30.

Barriers to student learning in second life.(2009). Library Technology Reports, 45(2), 29.

Brenda Eschenbrenner, Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah, Keng Siau. (2008). 3-D Virtual Worlds in Education: Applications, Benefits, Issues, and Opportunities. Journal of Database Management, 19(4), 91-110. Retrieved May 15, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Global database.

Dede, Chris (1995). The Evolution of Constructivist Learning Environments: Immersion in Distributed, Virtual Worlds. Educational Technology, Saddle Brook, NJ, 1-12.

Dickey, M. D. (2005). Three-dimensional virtual worlds and distance learning: two case studies of Active Worlds as a medium for distance learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36, 3, 439-451.

Hew, K. & Cheung, W. (2010). Use of three-dimensional (3-D) immersive virtual worlds in K-12 and higher education settings: A review of the research. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41, 1, 33-55.

Junglas, Iris A., Johnson, Norman A., Steel, Douglas J., Abraham, D. Chon, Loughlin, Paul Mac (2007). Identity Formation, Learning Styles and Trust in Virtual Worlds. ACM SIGMIS Database, 38(4), 90-96.

Koenraad, T. (2008). How can 3D virtual worlds contribute to language education? Focus on the Language Village format. Van Een Virtuele Variant Van Het Taaldorp (ViTAAL), 2008, 1-3.

MacIT.(2010). Virtual Worlds Project. 3842393.

Robinson, Ken. (2009). The Element, Penguin Group, New York.

Salaberry, M. (2001). The use of technology for second language learning and teaching: A retrospective. The Modern Language Journal, 85, 39-56.

Siau, K., Fui-Hoon, F., & Eschenbrenner, B. (2008). 3-D virtual worlds in education: Applications, benefits, issues, and opportunities. Journal of Database Management, 19(4), 91. Twining, P. (2009). Exploring the educational potential of virtual worlds--some reflections from the SPP. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(3), 496.