Session Title: Avatar Me! Designing Virtual Communities of Practice
Tuesday, March 12, 2013, CoSN 2013, San Diego, CA, 9:45AM-10:15AM – Room: Nautilus 4
As students and teachers begin to interact within a virtual world, a unique opportunity unfolds for learning within a community of practice. Because users can create anything they can imagine, a virtual world is an excellent tool for creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Learn from the multiple perspectives of a school district, higher education, and an international expert on how virtual worlds are being used today. Come learn about this open-source 3D environment where educators transport their students to far-off lands and places of the imagination, such as the Berlin Wall during the Cold War or a castle in the Medieval era. Discover how this emerging technology facilitates student learning, agency, community, online safety, and digital age skills.
Introduction to Virtual World Learning
- Definition: A virtual world is an online community that takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects. (Wikipedia)
- This session is an introduction to concept of learning communities within virtual worlds.
Perspectives of Virtual World Learning
Panel participants introduce themselves and briefly discuss their experiences in virtual worlds:
- Second Life – Bernajean Porter describes experiences in Second Life.
- Digital Storytelling in Second Life – Learning & Leading with Technology
- Hands-on Learning in the Virtual World – Learning & Leading with Technology
- NOBLE – Jill Hobson provides an overview of NOBLE (New Opportunities for Better Learning Environments).
- Minecraft – Tim Clark explains the use of Minecraft/Eden with mobile devices
Benefits of Virtual World Learning
- Digital Age Skills – The 4C’s of Digital Age Learning in Virtual Worlds
- Problem-solving for building/planning (critical thinking)
- Designing and constructing the world (creativity)
- Working with others to innovate (collaboration)
- Discussing ideas, topics, and concerns (communication)
- Rigor – Culmination of Digital Age Skills
- Driving question to pull together the digital age skills
- Agency – Explanation of how students “Own the Learning”
- Closed/Shared and Open questions/topics/tasks
- How do students establish ownership and territory?
- Online Safety – Ethical issues of working within virtual worlds
- Importance of protecting privacy
- Ensuring age-appropriate content
- Focusing on responsible use
- Community – How community develops
- Building of objects in virtual space
- Negotiation of rights and responsibilities
Strategies for Virtual World Learning
- Personalize It – Students design their avatars.
- Customizing an avatar so that a student can develop voice
- Becoming something different to fulfill a role or complete a task
- Changing an avatar along with the changing needs of the student
- Establish Norms – Establish guidelines for virtual world behaviors.
- Explaining the non-negotiable expectations
- Negotiating student opinions about appropriate use
- Modifying norms through on-going practice
- Differentiate – Expect that students will differentiate roles/responsibilities.
- Encouraging the differentiation of roles (builders/socializers/gamers)
- Utilizing the strengths of the different learning styles/behaviors.
- Engaging Challenge and Purpose – Focus student engagement.
- Providing time to learn the new tools in context of the challenge
- Creating a sense of belonging
- Build Together – Learn alongside the students.
- Flattening the typical teacher/student roles
- Doing what cannot be done in the real world – simulations/experiences
- Participating as co-learners within the world.
- The Association of Virtual World Educators
- The Noble Virtual World – Forsyth County Schools
- Mr. BYOT – @MrBrotherton (Mitch Brotherton)
- Knowclue’s Wiki – @knowclue (Marianne Malmstrom)
- World of Warcraft in School – @peggysheehy (Peggy Sheehy)
- Gamification of the BYOT Classroom (BYOTchat Archives from 11/29/12)
- Bill’s Video Story of Living in Second Life
- ISTE SIGVE [Virtual Worlds]
- Building 3D StoryWorlds
- Video of Fires of Genocide [Second Life Immersive Experience]
- Ramapo’s Video Story of Frost StoryWorld
- Machinima Examples – Resources
About the Presenters
Tim Clark, Ed.D.
Coordinator of Instructional Technology
Forsyth County Schools
Director of Instructional Technology
Forsyth County Schools
Bernajean Porter Consulting