Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Posts tagged ‘virtual environment’

When are IT labs still valuable?

S. Movafaghi, S. Hojjati, H. Pournaghshband, T. Chan, J. S. Collins (2012) Impact of Virtualization Technology in the IT Classroom

In this paper virtualization technology, especially the virtual operating system, and its usage within an appropriate environment for the information technology (IT) classroom is discussed. We will categorize two types of environments using virtual technology, namely stable and unstable environments. Some universities are dismantling IT labs because of high cost to support and based on the assumption that all IT students have laptop computers. We agree with this assessment as long as the appropriate virtual lab is established for courses that require a stable environment. However, we continue to recommend that appropriate physical lab(s) be available also for courses that require an unstable environment. In this paper we will discuss the recommended number of guest operating systems for a specific number of students and resources.

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Does the use of Place Affect Learner Engagement? The Case of GeoStoryteller on the Streets of New York

Drs. Anthony Cocciolo and Debbie Rabina (2012) Does the use of Place Affect Learner Engagement? The Case of GeoStoryteller on the Streets of New York, Proceedings of the 2012 iConference

The aim of this research project is to uncover if place-based learning can increase learner engagement and understanding of historical topics. To study this, learners will use GeoStoryteller to learn about a historical topic on the places where those events occurred, and then be interviewed by the researchers. GeoStoryteller is a tool developed by the researchers that runs on smart phones such as Apple’s iPhone. It provides the user multimedia stories about the historical sites, delivered via the mobile web or through Layar, an augmented reality web browser. Place provides the learner with a meaningful entry point to the topic and one that increases the topic’s prominence within an information environment that is seemingly limitless. This environment—for those who have broadband connections to the Internet—is constantly growing in interesting facts and resources yet proves difficult for the user in determining what is worth knowing, creating what individuals often describe as information overload (e.g., Shirky, 2008). Whereas the Internet is seemingly unbounded, geographic space has the advantage of being finite and inherently understood. Providing users with meaningful entry points to information, such as through the use of already familiar places, is hypothesized to increase engagement and subsequent understanding.

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Can a 3D Multi-User Virtual World support Language Learning?

Ibáñez, M. B., García, J. J., Galán, S., Maroto, D., Morillo, D., & Kloos, C. D. (2011). Design and Implementation of a 3D Multi- User Virtual World for Language Learning. Educational Technology & Society, 14 (4), 2–10.

The best way to learn is by having a good teacher and the best language learning takes place when the learner is immersed in an environment where the language is natively spoken. 3D multi-user virtual worlds have been claimed to be useful for learning, and the field of exploiting them for education is becoming more and more active thanks to the availability of open source 3D multi-user virtual world development tools. The research question we wanted to respond to was whether we could deploy an engaging learning experience to foster communication skills within a 3D multi-user virtual world with minimum teacher’s help. We base our instructional design on the combination of two constructivist learning strategies: situated learning and cooperative/collaborative learning. We extend the capabilities of the Open Wonderland development toolkit to provide natural text chatting with non-player characters, textual tagging of virtual objects, automatic reading of texts in learning sequences and the orchestration of learning activities to foster collaboration. Our preliminary evaluation of the experience deems it to be very promising.

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How can Educational Games Enhance Adaptive Learning in Virtual Learning Environments?

Angel del Blanco, Javier Torrente, Pablo Moreno-Ger, Baltasar Fernández-Manjón (2011) Enhancing Adaptive Learning and Assessment in Virtual Learning Environments with Educational Games, Intelligent Learning Systems and Advancements in Computer-Aided Instruction: Emerging Studies

The rising acceptance of Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) in the e- Learning field poses new challenges such as producing student-centered courses which can be automatically tailored to each student’s needs. For this purpose digital games can be used, taking advantage of their flexibility (good video games always try to adapt to different players) and capabilities to stealthily track players’ activity, either for producing an accurate user model or enhancing the overall assessment capabilities of the system. In this chapter we discuss the integration of digital games in Virtual Learning Environments and the need of standards that allow the interoperable communication of games and VLE. We also present a middle-ware architecture to integrate video games in VLEs that addresses the technical barriers posed by the integration. We present a case study with the implementation of the architecture in the <e-Adventure> game authoring platform, along with three examples of video game integration in educational settings.

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Can a Virtual World be culturally sensitive and support language learning?

Michael Gardner, Adela Ganem-Gutierrez, John Scott, Bernard Horan and Vic Callaghan (2011) Immersive Education Spaces Using Open Wonderland: From Pedagogy Through to Practice , Published as chapter in IGI Global book ““Multi-User Virtual Environments for the Classroom: Practical Approaches to Teaching in Virtual Worlds”, 2011

This chapter presents a case study of the use of a Virtual World environment in UK Higher Education. It reports on the activities carried out as part of the SIMiLLE (System for an Immersive and Mixed reality Language Learning) project to create a culturally sensitive virtual world to support language learning (funded by the UK government JISC programme). The project built on an earlier project called MiRTLE, which created a mixed-reality space for teaching and learning. The aim of the SIMiLLE project was to investigate the technical feasibility and pedagogical value of using virtual environments to provide a realistic socio- cultural setting for language learning interaction. The chapter begins by providing some background information on the Wonderland platform and the MiRTLE project, and then outlines the requirements for SIMiLLE, and how these requirements were supported through the use of a virtual world based on the Open Wonderland virtual world platform. We then present the framework used for the evaluation of the system, with a particular focus on the importance of incorporating pedagogy into the design of these systems, and how we can support good practice with the ever-growing use of 3D virtual environments in formalised education. Finally we summarise the results from the formative and summative evaluations, and present the lessons learnt which can help inform future uses of immersive education spaces within Higher Education.

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How can Virtual Social Learning Environments support Communities of Practice?

Keleher, Patrick and Hutchinson, Steven (2010). Communities of Practice, a social discipline of learning: nurturing a physical and virtual social learning environment. In: World Association of Co-operative Education International Conference on Work Integrated Learning, 3-5 Feb 2010, Hong Kong, China.

Communities of Practice are powerful way of thinking about and exploring the social discipline of learning. Rigorous models for informational and cognitive aspects of learning are well defined, but social dimensions of learning are not so well explored nor are the practices involved in establishing an appropriate learning environment. A workshop conducted by Etienne Wenger was specifically structured to model the practices to establish a social learning ‘space’ and provided an opportunity for participants in the professional disciplines of health, social care, education and business to engage in social learning. The workshop enabled a telling and recording of people’s own learning stories, through individual and group face-to-face encounters and further non-face-to-face communication encounters (within the workshop group and the world) through a range synchronous and asynchronous electronic media, video, wikispace1, blog and twitter. This is a powerful process by which to explore the development of professional practices in a Work Integrated Learning or Practice Based Learning context and illustrates the manner in which transitions or boundary encounters arise and are navigated as individuals explore the ‘landscape of professional practice’.

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Can a Virtual Reality Library help students develop information literacy skills?

Jamshid Beheshti (2012) Teens, Virtual Environments and Information Literacy, Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Volume 38, Issue 3

As digital natives, the vast majority of teens are used to cellphones, text messaging, social networking sites and other forms of electronic communications and technologies. Though rooted in the digital world for many of their daily activities, teens lack basic information literacy skills for academic tasks and other demands. Specific instruction through the educational system may not be feasible, but it may be possible to build teens’ information competence through interactive virtual learning environments. Game-style virtual environments are highly motivating and engaging, providing opportunities for repeated practice and reward for persistence and achieving goals. A virtual reality library, VRLibrary, was constructed, collaboratively designed by young teens and adults, based on the metaphor of a physical library. Teens could wander the virtual space and browse links to age-appropriate websites presented as virtual books. VRLibrary was very positively received and succeeded at engaging teen users. A librarian avatar could be incorporated to provide help as needed with a user’s information seeking.

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