Sélection d’articles de la revue Journal of Virtual Worlds Research sur les thèmes éducation, jeux et mondes virtuels

La revue Journal of Virtual Worlds Research propose gratuitement, via son site internet, les articles de ses précédentes parutions. Sélection de quelques articles sur les thèmes éducation, jeux et mondes virtuels.

Volume 2, Number 1: Pedagogy, Education and Innovation in Virtual Worlds

Introduction: Pedagogy, Education and Innovation in Virtual Worlds

par Leslie Jarmon, Kenneth Y. T. Lim, B. Stephen Carpenter, II

Extrait :

Virtual worlds such as Second Life are no longer the preserve of the stereotypical geek, nor are they just technical or social curiosities that educators and other stakeholders in schools can safely ignore. Gartner, Inc. (2007) estimates that by 2011, 80 percent of active internet users, including Fortune 500 enterprises, will have a “second life” in some form of virtual world environment. It also seems clear, however, that virtual worlds in whatever form will be a widely used knowledge- and social-interaction tools and will become another part of the social-technical system people use for teaching and learning in the foreseeable future.


Using Second Life for Problem Based Learning in Computer Science Programming

par Micaela Esteves, Benjamim Fonseca, Leonel Morgado, Paulo Martins

Abstract :

A large number of students fail when beginning the study of computer programming, and withdraw from courses because of the many difficulties they face while trying to grasp the basic concepts. Programming education is typically based on putting problem-solving skills to use, by identifying a problem, developing an algorithm to tackle it, and coding that algorithm with some programming language, whose syntax and semantics must be learned. Extant research has highlighted the challenges associated with learning/teaching a programming language. However, researchers are still struggling to provide effective guidance to practitioners in this field. We believe that a better understanding of the teaching/learning process in the virtual world Second Life is a potential avenue for using this environment in classes. In this experimental research, we observed and reflected upon the problems that came up and then presented and discussed the results. We conclude with implications for future research and for practicing teachers.


Beyond the Game: Quest Atlantis as an Online Learning Experience for Gifted Elementary Students

par Jackie Gerstein

Abstract :

Quest Atlantis (QA) is a learning and teaching project that uses a 3D virtual environment to immerse children, ages 8-15, in educational tasks. It allows users to travel to virtual places to perform educational activities known as Quests. The core elements of QA are: 1) a 3D multi-user virtual environment (MUVE), 2) inquiry learning Quests and unit plans, 3) a storyline involving a mythical Council and a set of social commitments, and 4) a globally-distributed community of participants (Barab, Arici, & Jackson, 2005). These inherently engaging environments are natural motivators for this age-level student, who can be considered members of the Club Penguin generation. To determine the perspectives of the users, themselves, a survey was conducted with a group of 35 gifted elementary students. The results, gathered through both closed and open-ended questions, identified the strengths and limitations of this media as a viable pedagogy for teaching more traditional content area subjects. Teacher observations of student behavior both in the real life classroom and in the online environment present additional insights how digital natives engage in and interact with this media. Implications for using virtual worlds such as Quest Atlantis for distance learning of upper elementary students are proposed.


Virtual Education: Teaching Media Studies in Second Life

par David Kurt Herold

Abstract :

Following the adoption of the virtual world Second Life by tertiary educational institutions worldwide, a limited study was conducted at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to test the feasibility and desirability of employing a virtual environment to conduct classes. Thirty tutorials were held in Second Life over a period of five weeks in support of a course on Media Studies with sixty students. Feedback was gathered continuously from students and the lecturer via informal interviews, feedback forms, and participant observation. The results did not support most of the hypotheses, but supported the value of virtual teaching and learning in a well- supported institutional environment. The paper emphasizes the need to integrate virtual environments into the educational framework of courses and for a careful consideration of the educational aims and uses of virtual worlds within specific courses.


Using Second Life to Teach Operations Management

par Peggy Daniels Lee

Abstract :

This paper describes the use of Second Life to enhance the author’s delivery of the core MBA Operations Management course at a major northeastern university. The purpose of the Second Life Project was to help students to attain the learning objectives for the course and to expose them to a Web 2.0 technology. The students wrote brief papers summarizing their research findings and presented their work inside of Second Life. Resident course delivery and in-world student work were augmented with in-world office hours, guest speakers and technical assistance provided by the instructor and the university’s instructional design staff. At the completion of each term, students were asked to complete a questionnaire that asked them whether the Second Life experience helped them to meet each course objective. They were also asked their opinions regarding whether Second Life has a place in the MBA curriculum. My findings indicate that some of the learning goals were met and that although some students were not sure within which course Second Life should be included, the consensus was that virtual worlds are the wave of the future and should be included in the curriculum.


Second Life Physics : Virtual, Real or Surreal ?

par Renato P. dos Santos

Abstract :

Science teaching detached itself from reality and became restricted to the classrooms and textbooks with their overreliance on standardized and repetitive exercises, while students keep their own alternative conceptions. Papert, displeased with this inefficient learning process as early as 1980, championed physics microworlds, where students could experience a variety of laws of motion, from Aristotle to Newton and Einstein or even “new” laws invented by the students themselves. While often mistakenly seen as a game, Second Life (SL), the online 3-D virtual world hosted by Linden Lab, imposes essentially no rules on the residents beyond reasonable restrictions on improper behavior and the physical rules that guarantee its similitude to the real world. As a consequence, SL qualifies itself as an environment for personal discovery and exploration as proposed by constructivist theories. The physical laws are implemented through the well-known physics engine Havok, whose design aims to provide game-players a consistent, “realistic” environment. The Havok User Guide (2008) explicitly encourages developers to use several tricks to cheat the simulator in order to make games funnier or easier to play. As it is shown in this study, SL physics is unexpectedly neither the Galilean/Newtonian “idealized” physics nor a real world physics virtualization, intentionally diverging from reality in such a way that it could be called hyper-real. As a matter of fact, if some of its features make objects behave “more realistically than real” ones, certain quantities like energy have a totally different meaning in SL as compared to physics. Far from considering it as a problem, however, the author argues that its hyper-reality may be a golden teaching opportunity, allowing surreal physics simulations and epistemologically rich classroom discussions around the “what is a physical law?” issue, in accordance with Papert’s never-implemented proposal.


Second Life and Classical Music Education: Developing Iconography That Encourages Human Interaction

par David Thomas Schwartz

Abstract :

Since January 2007, Music Academy Online, a web-based business dedicated to generating interest in classical music, has been developing a ‘Disney World for Classical Music’ in the virtual world of Second Life®. The virtual world provides a unique opportunity to teach classical music in an interdisciplinary fashion, the ability to reach out to a population that is hesitant to explore classical music, and a way for reaching out to those who have been disenfranchised by traditional educational paths. This has led to the development of iconography in Second Life that exploits the virtual world’s inherent ability to put seemingly disparate information together in a way that encourages questioning and discussion. But above all, this has led to the conclusion that the importance of human interaction and the Socratic method are the key elements in virtual world education.


Games, Learning, and 21st Century Survival Skills

par James Paul Gee

Abstract :

Digital games hold out great potential for human development. There is no reason to think about games simply as “fun.” At the same time, there is no reason to equate learning with being “serious.” Games and learning, at their best, engage humans at a deep level of pleasure (Gee 2005). Play and learning are primordial human urges. Unfortunately, we have come to take it for granted that adulthood will kill play and schools will kill learning as a human pleasure. These assumptions are particularly dangerous in the twenty-first century.


Use of a virtual world system in sports coach education for reproducing team handball movements

par Antonio Lopes, Bruno Pires, Marcio Cardoso, Arnaldo Santos, Filipe Peixinho, Pedro Sequeira , Leonel Morgado, Hugo Paredes, Oleguer Camerino Foguet

Abstract :

The continuous need for education and the significant changes in European policies and regulations overseeing sports coaching and training require the adjustment of teaching models and methods to the needs and potential of teachers, students, and technology.

In educational and training programmes for team sports coaching, it is common to use a group of athletes or video to demonstrate physical, technical, and tactical procedures. This requires significant human resources, both while developing the procedures and to reproduce them. Furthermore, both cases (live execution by athletes or video recording) are limited in visual perspective and detail. For this reason, specific software for demonstrating tactical procedures is sometimes used. But existing software presents significant limitations, for instance, when one cannot change procedures in real time nor can one interact with the audience.

This article focus on the development of a new resource: a software system combining tri-dimensional automated avatars in the Second Life world, an external control server, and an helper desktop application. Using this system, coaches enrolled in education/training programs can more easily be involved, even taking a player’s role, and analyze movements from various points of view. This system aims to contribute to the improvement of the team handball coach education programs by supporting the understanding of the dynamics between defensive and offensive players in the organized phase of a handball game, using shared 3-D simulations with avatars.


Crédit image : The New York Times

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