Do Educators Need a Second Life? Exploring possibilities for technology-based distance learning in higher education
Anita Zijdemans-Boudreau, Pacific University, United States ; Scot Headley, Robin Ashford, George Fox University, United States
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Charleston, SC, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-67-9 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA
This paper reports outcomes of our first Action Research study involving implementing Second Life [SL] in a graduate distance course on exploring community online. Participant blog entries and transcripts of ‘in-world’ class sessions were analyzed to determine: how well the participants learned to be successful SL residents; whether observations and meeting discussions reflected themes of community and experiential learning; and how participants evaluated their experiences and the educational potential of SL. Results indicate that SL is a complex environment requiring much practice to develop competencies for navigating in-world. Once accomplished, however, participants reported that although SL did not replicate real life, they experienced personal and emotional connections with the communities and residents they engaged with. It was also agreed that SL has potential for a variety of educational applications. The affordance of SL to sustain community and actively engage participants – crucial elements for collaborative and experiential learning – warrants further investigation.
Zijdemans-Boudreau, A., Headley, S. & Ashford, R. (2009). Do Educators Need a Second Life? Exploring possibilities for technology-based distance learning in higher education. In I. Gibson, R. Weber, K. McFerrin, R. Carlsen & D. Willis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2009--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 1617-1622). Charleston, SC, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).