Listen to the Episode:
Jason Zagami (Griffith University) has been investigating online 3D virtual environments and their potential as learning spaces, and he and his team have just completed a study into the effectiveness of Second Life in training of a group of pre-service primary school teachers. In the study Second Life was used to support the development of primary school arts education, focusing specifically on the Queensland Education Department’s key learning areas of dance, drama, media, music, and visual arts.
Which key areas do you think responded most positively to exploration through Second Life? Have a listen to this podcast episode – the results that have emerged from testing might surprise you.
A number of universities and tertiary insitutions in Australia have bought real estate in Second Life and are delivering programs in that virtual space. The growing interest in the platform is reflected in the fact that at the recent ASCILITE 2008 conference there were three papers on it, by Muldoon et al (USQ), Butler & White (QUT), and Saeed et al (Swinburne).
John Lester, of Linden Labs, developers of Second Life, is reported as saying that it “gives both students and faculty a new medium for exploring things like distance learning, experiential learning, simulation, and scientific visualization in a fundamentally collaborative environment.” For those interested in following up further on Second Life educational applications, Jeremy Kemp’s SimTeach site, which covers a range of multi-user virtual environments, might prove useful.
Listen to the commentary:
Deirdre Russell Bowie (University of Western Sydney) & Mark Foster (University of NSW) were at Jason’s talk, curious to find out more about Second Life. During the presentation Deirdre suggested conducting a follow-up study that might compare the learning outcomes of students who studied in virtual space to those of conventionally taught students. And in this commentary, Deirdre and Mark discuss whether virtual space students will get sufficient experience in the real world practice of such skills as singing and dancing to be able to actually teach them; it has to do with confidence, they say. They also offer other reflections on the platform, and formulate a range of interesting questions for further investigation.