identity and learning in virtual worlds

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Panel discussion of a book at the HASTAC III conference on April 20, 2009. Editors Sharon Tettegah and Cynthia Calongne. Book contributors include Jase Teoh, Grant Kien, Al Weiss, Eun Won Whang, Rhonda Trueman, Arlene de Strulle, Lisa Perez, Kona Taylor and Danielle Holt.


  • 1. Identity, Learning and Support in Virtual Worlds HASTAC 2009 EditorsSharon Y. Tettegah University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign& Cynthia Calongne Colorado Technical University Publisher: Sense Publishers

2. Sharon Tettegah Amaagariwah Kawabata

  • Teacher in social virtual worlds
  • & other virtual environments

3. Lyr Lobo - teachesin Second Life Colorado Technical University Institute forAdvanced Studies doctoral classes Mentor forRamapo on the Teen Grid Suffern Middle School in NY Cynthia Calongne 4. Finding Flow 5. Traversing digital boundaries: Our journey Physical/material Virtual 6. Virtual World 7. Where are all the normal students? (Rose & Meyer, 2002)

  • Important revelation from recent brain research indicates that there are no normal students.Each student has their own unique strengths, weaknesses, and preferences for learning.
  • Yet, the flexibility of new technology such as Second Life opens previously closed doors to these diverse learners by accommodating the varied strengths and weaknesses of each type of learner.
  • One framework that supports this type of learning environment is the Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
  • The concept of UDL is the intersection where all our initiatives integrated units, multi-sensory teaching, multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, use of computers in schools, performance-based assessment, and others-come together.

8. Educational Approaches

  • Differentiated instruction
  • Teachers as coaches or guides
  • Learning as a process
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Demonstrating learning in a wide variety of media
  • All of these approaches represent aspects of a model where learners actively construct meaning and teachers participate and support learning rather than impart knowledge.

9. Empowering Learners

  • Co-design- constructivist learning
  • Customize- different styles of learning work better for different people
  • Identity- being a scientist doing science
  • Manipulation and distributed knowledge- cognitive research suggests that for humans perception and action are deeply inter-connected

10. Understanding

  • System Thinking people learn skills, strategies, and ideas best when they see how they fit into an overall larger system to which they give meaning.
  • Meaning as action image humans do not usually think through general definitions and logical principles. Rather they think through experiences they have had and imaginative reconstructions of experiences

11. Problem solving

  • Well-order Problems- lead up to harder problems, dont start at too hard of a level
  • Pleasantly Frustrating challenges are hard but doable
  • Cycle of Expertise continued practice of skills leads itself to mastery
  • Information on demand and just in time get information when it is needed
  • Fish tanks use of simplified systems that represent more complex systems
  • Sandboxes places to try out skills without being penalized
  • Skills as Strategies use new skills to accomplish a goal

12. Learning in SL

  • Learning and instruction using Second Life basically becomes a question of how curricular goals and objectives can be effectively promoted within this environment.
  • (Goldstein et al, 2004)
  • It has been suggested that synthetic simulated social environments such as Second Life can enhance media and computer literacy, cognitive skills (such as problem solving and spatial awareness), and social skills (such as the ability to collaborate) within its users.

13. Learning in SL

  • Second Life provides a perfect environment to enrich student learning in a variety of ways, limited only by the imagination of the instructor and students.
  • Specifically, SL can be used to focus on the following principles of learning (Gee, 2005)
    • Empowering Learners
    • Problem Solving
    • Understanding

14. SL as a Distance Education Tool

  • Three-dimensional
  • No pre-programmed animated figures
  • Highly Immersive
  • The potential use of Second Life in research setting has spurred group members to pursue research in area schools
  • Engagement of many users simultaneously across boundaries
  • High social presence
  • Collaborative
  • Replication

15. Instructional Uses of Second Life

  • The best way of understanding a word is seeing how it applies in the world, how it applies when you have to do something. You have to use it in talk, or you have to use it in action. (Foreman, et al, 2005 p. 6)

16. Learning Center 17. Tettegah: The environment:Iluminateur de La Vie

  • A community for learning
    • Early childhood exploration
    • Elementary Education (kinesiology & math)
    • Middle School (Astrophysics & marine biology)
    • High school (Learning styles & literacy)
    • University (Freshman ecology)
    • Adult learning (skill development & real estate)
    • Community Center (games & leisure)

18. Middle School: Iluminateur de La Vie 19. Class discussions in Second Life 20. Interaction Lyr and CTU students meetin Second Life to test a class project 21. Nanotechnology lab - interacting with learning objects 22. CTU students evaluate an AF game simulation at the Global Learning Forum. 23. Middle school students roleplay the Steinbeck book Of Mice and Men 24. Human barometeractivityfrom GlobalKids Students take a stand and discuss their opinions. As they change their minds, they move to a different position. 25. Identity, Learning & Support in Virtual Worlds: contributors

  • Sharon Tettegah (UIUC)
  • Cynthia Calongne (Colorado Technical University)
  • Grant Kien (Cal State, East Bay)
  • Al Weiss (UIUC)
  • Eun WonWhang (UIUC)
  • Rhonda Trueman (Johnson-Wales)
  • Jase Teoh (Illinois State)
  • Arlene de Strulle (National Science Foundation)
  • Lisa Perez (Chicago Public Libraries)
  • Kona Taylor (UIUC)

26. Creating new boundaries 27. References

  • Rose, D.& Meyer, A. (2002).Teaching every student in the digital age: universal design for learning . Washington, DC: ASCD.
  • Foreman, J., Gee, J.P., Hertz, J.C., Hinrichs, R., Prensky, M. & Sawyer, B. (2005). Game-Based Learning: How to Delight and Instruct in the 21st Century.EDUCAUSE Review,vol. 39, no. 5 (September/October 2004): 5066.
  • Gee, J. (2007).What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy . New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2 ndEd.

28. Identity , Learning & Support in Virtual Worlds

  • Coming Summer 2009
  • Sense Publishers