This is a very brief and preliminary description of my PhD project. The overall purpose of the project will be to explore the learning potential in 3D virtual worlds seen from a problem oriented project pedagogical perspective. I’m currently exploring Second Life (SL), where I was born on March 26th 2007 as Mariis Mills. In November/December 2007 I facilitated a course in SL with 22 students from The Danish Master Programme on ICT and Learning (MIL).
My assumption is that especially avatar mediation enhances the experience of embodiment, identity and subjectivity, and thus the commitment and engagement in the learning environment. This of course is regarded as positive and promising, since more traditional 2D virtual learning environments often fail in creating a strong sense of community, among both students and teachers, which I consider essential in any learning situation. The GUI and the ability to create user-generated content also contribute in ensuring student participation and orientation, which are central aspects in Problem Oriented Project Pedagogy (POPP). Many more promising features in 3D virtual worlds as learning environments could be pointed out. Even though I’m quite excited about the potentials, I’m not blind to the constraints – and both pros and cons will be focus points in my approach.
As for the methodological level, I expect to focus on ethnography and dialogue research. I’ll be using courses at MIL, and hopefully at a foreign university, in my research.
Theoretically, I expect to draw on hermeneutics, phenomenology, dialogue design and various positions within CSdCL and networked learning in particular.
But I’ll be much clearer on these matters after my first f2f meeting in February with my PhD supervisors, Professor, PhD Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld (Aalborg University) and Professor, PhD Janni Nielsen (Copenhagen Business School).
Since my PhD is co-funded by MIL, I’ll also be able to draw on the expertise from:
- Associate Professor, Bo Fibiger (University of Aarhus)
- Associate Professor, PhD Elsebeth Korsgaard Sorensen (University of Aarhus)
- Professor, PhD Birgitte Holm Sørensen (Danish School of Education, University of Aarhus)
- Associate Professor, PhD, Dr. Phil, Oluf Danielsen (Roskilde University)
The six above mentioned professors constitute the steering committee behind MIL.
Lucky me :-))