Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Posts tagged ‘virtual learning’

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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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 Second Life enhance astronomy in education?

Adrienne J. Gauthier (2007) Astronomy in Second Life: A User’s Perspective,  CAP Vol. 1, No. 1, October 2007

Second Life (SL) is a multi-user virtual environment that is not limited to adult social entertainment. SL is also a 3D playground for innovative instructors and education/outreach professionals in the sciences. Astronomy and space science have a presence in SL, but it could be so much more. This paper describes some of the current astronomy themed spaces in SL and briefly discusses future innovations.

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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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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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What do ESL students have to say about using blogs for language learning?

Nadzrah ABU BAKAR, Hafizah LATIF & Azizah YA’ACOB (2010) ESL Students feedback on the use of blogs for language learning, 3L The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies (2010) Volume: 16, Issue: 1, Pages: 120-142

The proliferation of the information and communication technology has provided university educators and e-learning practitioners with the technological tools that can be implemented as pedagogical instruments in the classrooms. This paper provides an account of how the blog was integrated as a pedagogical tool in the ESL classrooms and reports on the students’ feedback and perception on the use of this social medium to enhance their L2 learning. Data was collected via a survey questionnaire involving a selected cohort of low proficiency ESL students at tertiary level. Using the proposed framework, the students carried out several stages of the blogging activities embedded in the English for Social Sciences Course that they were taking at the end of which the questionnaire was administered. Analysis of data in the main indicated positive responses from the students regarding the use of blogs in L2 their learning activities. They perceived that the use of blog had generally enhanced their L2 skills such as reading and writing, developed their self-confidence, improved their communication skills and reduced their anxiety when learning and using the language among their peers. The paper ends by highlighting the benefits that can be gained as a result of the implementation of the weblog in language learning classrooms.

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