Of Student Teachers and Avatars: Working Towards an Effective Model for Geographically Distributed Learning Communities of Pre-Service Educators Using Virtual Worlds
Friday, April 2 11:30 AM-12:30 PM Location: Nautilus 4
Presider: Melda N Yildiz, Chair, Associate Professor, United States
Abstract: This paper constitutes a report on an in-progress research endeavor, employing both qualitative and quantitative methods of research, on using virtual world technologies for building distance-based learning communities of pre-service teacher candidates as part of an undergraduate education program. Focus is placed on a current analysis of research in using Second Life for learning communities, for general community connectedness, and general pedagogical considerations of Second Life. The paper further explores the research design, employing a survey instrument gauging motivation of student participants, interview data and observation as participant. Initial results demonstrate the value of visual and audio-based technologies in connecting students in learning communities. This study, once completed, will prove to be instructive for the use of virtual world-based learning environments as supplemental or primary tools in distance and hybrid educational environments.