I have to admit when it came to this aspect of emerging pedagogies I was skeptical. Virtual worlds are “engaging, stimulating spaces where students can meet online for normal class activities” (Calongne, 2008) but what about the huge distract of THE GAME!
“Play is an activity that enhances children’s abilities by promoting exploration and experimentation. Children create imagined worlds in their play. As we grow older, though, our opportunities to explore and create imagined worlds are increasingly limited, and our creativity is curbed as a result.”
Garcia-Murillo & MacInnes, n.d.
What I have come to find is that virtual worlds used in education provide a myriad of opportunities that allow students to get a more hands on experience that allows them to practically apply what they are learning. For example virtual worlds provide a virtual meeting space for students to participate in a mock court trial. They are able to design the courtroom, and assign roles for each student. This allows students to visualise learning scenarios through active engagement and learn by doing in a virtual world that transcends safety or distance parameters (Clifford, 2012). A multimedia environment in a digital society can enrich students learning experiences, making it much more compelling and engaging (Garcia-Murillo & MacInnes, n.d.).
As I began to explore virtual worlds for myself I saw the opportunities it presents for students and as I explore this further and apply it in my teaching I have found a huge number of resources that have been created by teachers for teachers that can help me facilitate learning in this space.
While this is still an area of technology in education that I have to wrap my head around I can see the possibilities that can be created for students in this space.
Clifford, M. (2012). Top 20 uses of Virtual Worlds in Education. Retrieved from www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/top-20-uses-of-virtual-worlds-in-education/
Garcia-Murillo, M., & MacInnes, I. (n.d.). An exploration of the use of games in virtual worlds for online education. Retrieved from www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/15096/PA6-1_iconf08.doc