Education in Virtual Worlds, Second Life, Virtual World Platforms

Carleton Teachers Weigh In On 3D worlds

On the Educational Development Centre blog at Canada’s Carleton University, two authors have started a three-part series exploring Web 2.0 and how it relates to virtual worlds and education.

The first post covers an overview of Web 2.0 and social networks and then delves into the impact of 3D worlds such as Second Life and Lively on students. They write:

These virtual worlds have not only begun to attract attention from companies seeking better conferencing tools, considerable attention has been delivered by educators who believe that virtual worlds have a place in the educational discourse through ‘immersive learning’ – worlds that can offer course content in a virtual setting in different ways that students can immerse themselves in, rather than requiring the student to be adaptive to the material.

The authors are pleased with how VWs in the classroom positively impact teaching, writing, “instructors are immediately transformed from being a uni-directional, dictatorial speaker at the front of the classroom, to a support and orientation mechanism who helps guide students through learning.”

The authors also speak to the potential cost savings of virtual teaching. As class sizes increase but as space at post-secondary schools remain at a premium, VWs may be the next logical step to increase enrollment, decrease tuition, and decrease the need for costly expansion. “Suddenly, ‘distance learning’ within virtual worlds is raising more eyebrows than ever,” they write.

In the next installment, the authors will discuss Google’s Lively. We eagerly await their thoughts.

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