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Research methods in Second Life

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Judith Bündgens-Kosten
2 May 2011

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Alice Shepherd
3:20pm 2 May 2011 (Edited 3:28pm 2 May 2011)

The ReLIVE (Researching Learning in Virtual Environments) conference was held at the OU in 2008.  I have added a link to the conference proceedings.  The paper by Moschini might be of particular interest to fellow H809 students, because it does suggest some possibilities of 'new' research methods, so I have added citations to the conference proceedings version and also to a later version of the paper in the academic references tab.

Nathan Lomax
8:21am 8 May 2011

Hi all,

The first time I saw SL I was blown away with its potential for teaching, particularly for Arabic girls who are quite isolated from the world by their culture. I have experimented with it myself, but never managed to get students to sign up in the f-t-f classroom due to technical difficulties (firewalls etc).

For my own teaching (English as a Foreign Language), exposing learners to inappropriate content would be an issue. The times I have logged in all I have seen quite a lot of 'flaming', including racism towards public figures (US President). I would like to take the students to a 'safe' area such as the British Council Isle, but there never seems to be anyone there. Another issue could be that discussion threads seem to disappear quickly, so it's difficult to remain on one topic. For teaching languages, I wonder if SL has any value over a social network like Edmodo, where posts are visible for longer.

Another point that I saw mentioned in a thread somewhere here (can't find it now!) is that SL is still essentially interaction with a keyboard. It would be great to see more Wii style interaction with avatars, to make the learning more  semi authentic e.g. walking into a shop and buying something in another language.


derek stevens
2:26pm 15 May 2011

Hi Nathan, 

I did some contract work in government a little while ago, and they had built their own island in SL.  This meant that only those who knew how to navigate to it could get there and it was password protected.  This solved many of the problems you mention (away from inappropriate content)

I still feel that the technical impediments are fairly strong though - you need a decent graphics capability to get SL to work nicely, and while OU students might consider that relatively easy to come by, there is a significant part of the potential education audience that have no appropriate capability.



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