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LOM nr. 3: Læringspotentialet i virtuelle verdener

Online tidsskriftet Læring og Medier nr. 3 handler denne gang om læringspotentialet i virtuelle verdener.


Om artiklerne:

Rejseguide til Second Life I erkendelsen af at mange har en mening om virtuelle verdner og at kun få har faktiske erfaringer, indledes LOM #3 med Inger-Marie F. Christensens rejseguide ”Turen går til Second Life”. Artiklen er optaget uden for review. Formålet med denne artikel er at give et overblik over Second Life for at gøre det muligt for førstegangsbesøgende at orientere sig og planlægge meningsfulde besøg in-world. Artiklen er opdelt i to sektioner. I første sektion har forfatteren samlet en række praktiske oplysninger om bl.a. avatarfænomenet, installation af Second Life, tidsforskel, valuta samt kommunikationsformer og transport/navigation in-world. I anden del af artiklen har en række dedikerede og entusiastiske Second Life brugere bidraget med slurls til og en kort beskrivelse af deres favoritsteder. Der er noget for enhver smag.

Interview med og rundvisning ved avatar Gunhild Soderstrom – 2 Second Life-optagelser
Første optagelse tager seeren med på en rundvisning in-world, hvor Gunhild Soderstrom præsenterer Percipitopia, der bl.a. byder på en rekonstruktion af den irske filosof George Berkeleys hjem ”Whitehall” på Rhode Island og The White Room of Disorientation, der illustrerer Berkeleys ”Theory of vision”. Rundvisningen afsluttes med en solopgang ved klippen Hanging Rock, hvor Berkeley efter sigende har udtænkt flere af sine teorier. Bag avataren Gunhild Soderstrom gemmer sig lektor i filosofi Cynthia Grund fra SDU, som avataren Inga Miles alias Inger-Marie Christensen i anden optagelse har interviewet i Second Life. Det er blevet til en diskussion om læringspotentialet i virtuelle verdner og om Cynthias konkrete Second Life projekt Percipitopia, der er et eksperiment med 3D mediering af museumsundervisning. Begge produktioner er optaget uden for review.

Rum og rammer i det virtuelle
Efter det indledende afsnit omkring Second Life og det efterfølgende eksempel og interview optaget i Second Life, introducerer Simon Heilesen i ”Rum, rammer og biblioteker i den virtuelle verden” til, hvordan den virtuelle verdens miljø anvendes og opleves i en faglig sammenhæng. Heilesen tager udgangspunk i det danske biblioteksprojekt Info Island DK i Second Life, og sammenligner det med en række andre typiske biblioteker i in-world i relation til design. Han konkluderer, at den virtuelle verden kommer med en række betingelser af både mental og metaforisk art, som både sætter ramme og betingelser for anvendelsen og udfoldelsen.

Litteraturundervisning og virtuelle verdner
Artiklen ”Verklig fiktion om virtuell verklighed” af Ylva Lindberg tager udgangspunkt i spørgsmålet om, hvorfor og hvordan humaniora skal integrere ny teknik, underforstået den virtuelle verden repræsenteret af Second Life. Lindberg tager afsæt i et konkret forsøg på at anvende Second Life i litteraturundervisningen og argumenterer for, at den virtuelle verden er et oplagt sted at lade litteratur og teknik mødes. Afslutningsvis binder Lindberg litteraturen og den virtuelle verden sammen på ny vis, idet hun viser, hvordan to konkrete romaner omhandlende virtuelle verdener, kan knytte an til væsentlige indsigter og diskussioner om litteraturens genstand.

Virtuelt læringsmiljø til sygeplejestuderende
I artiklen ”CaseConnexion – udvikling af et virtuelt læringsmiljø til sygeplejestuderende” videregiver Line Zimmer Rasmussen og Linda Hauschildt Nielsen deres erfaringer i forbindelse med udviklingen af et interaktivt 3D læringsmiljø. Læringsmiljøet indeholder hospitalsstuer og patienter, som gør det muligt for sygeplejestuderende at omsætte teori til praksis, og tager udgangspunkt i problembaseret læring, hvor de studerende arbejder med cases og opnår øvelse via simulationer. Artiklen indeholder didaktiske refleksioner over valg af platform samt over de principper, der ligger til grund for det konkrete design af læringsmiljøet, herunder overvejelser mht. professionstænkningens indflydelse på disse designprincipper. Artiklen afsluttes med vigtige anbefalinger ift. hvordan undervisere og studerende klædes på til at gennemføre succesfulde læringsforløb in-world.

Hvad mener de studerende selv?
Lillian Wiese har foretaget en analyse af en gruppe studerendes oplevelser i Second Life med henblik på at vurdere, hvor velegnet den virtuelle verden er som platform for udvikling af et 3D-online læringsmiljø baseret på edutainment og pervasive learning. I artiklen ”De virtuelle verdeners læringspotentiale” videregiver hun resultaterne samt egne konklusioner og anbefalinger. Endvidere peger Lillian Wieses analyse af de studerendes oplevelser på nødvendigheden af at skabe gennemtænkte forløb med interessante og veltilrettelagte aktiviteter. Hun anbefaler, at der skabes trygge rammer både psykisk og fysisk og peger på behovet for mentorer og coaches.

Det er fælles for artiklerne i dette nummer af LOM, at de alle illustrerer, hvordan en remediering af undervisning og andre praksisser til en 3D virtuel verden kræver nytænkning frem for overførsel af traditionelle processer og rammer. Nytænkningen viser sig altafgørende for at kunne skabe meningsfulde forløb for deltagerne. CaseConnexion er et glimrende eksempel på, hvordan de virtuelle verdners helt unikke karakteristika anvendes til at skabe immersiv læring, der sætter det sensomotoriske i spil og giver de lærende mulighed for at opnå praksiserfaring.

Det samme gør sig også gældende i VIA University College projektet ”Innovative Learning”, der er nævnt i artiklen ”Turen går til Second Life”, og som netop har modtaget ”Den Nationale e-Læringspris 2009”.  Innovative Learning er et 3D læringsmiljø, der er konstrueret som en byggeplads, og hvor tømmerlærlinge uddannes indenfor sikkerhed og miljø. Her viser Second Life sit potentiale som læringsplatform for unge og ældre, der ikke har gode erfaringer med det overvejende boglige uddannelsessystem i Danmark. Virtuelle verdner er unikke på den måde, at de ikke primært er baseret på sproglige erkendelsesformer, men tværtimod har en stærk visuel og kropslig dimension. Måske er det netop virtuelle verdner, der kan være medvirkende til at give det danske uddannelsessystem et løft og bidrage til at opfylde målsætningen om, at flere unge skal igennem dels en ungdomsuddannelse og dels en videregående uddannelse.

/Mariis

Lessons learned from presenting SL via SL

UNINETT2009

Thursday June 11th  a former MIL student, Cecilie Aurvoll had invited me to present my SL project at the UNINETT 2009 conference in Norway. Unfortunately I was unable to attend IRL, so we decided that I should do my presentation from within SL.

Obviously to make such a presentation you need an on-site mediator who’ll be able to log in-world and interact/communicate so that the audience gets an impression of the real time possibilities and challenges.  It was the second time I presented SL at a conference in this way and even though I think it it’s a good idea, I also think it’s easier said than done – at least I’ve learned a few valuable lessons.

The first time I did this kind of presentation one of my students, who together with the rest of his group had been studying SL for several months and therefore had quite a lot experience with SL and its functionality, acted as mediator. During this session we had an ongoing voice conversation and I knew that I could easily direct/instruct him (e.g. ask him to interact with objects) and just in general ask him to show the audience different things on his screen. The in-world locations we visited were places where the student and I had been before and he instinctively knew where to place his avatar and how to use his camera for the audience to get the best view.  From the feedback we got on this session it was evident that especially the ongoing voice conversation and the interaction between our avatars and in-world objects left the audience with a reasonable impression of SL.

The scenario for the second presentation at the UNINETT conference was somewhat different. The mediator was a local technician whom I didn’t know but only met shortly in-world the day before where he told me that his experience with SL was limited. This is by no means a critique of his work during the session – I actually thought he did very well, but there were some differences compared to the first session.  During the session we were accompanied by Cecilie and one of her friends, and since they both were located in different RL locations I hope we managed to show how SL can be used as an alternative to more conventional meeting tools. However, because I was unsure of the mediators ability to use different functionalities I hardly asked him to do anything, which in hindsight made his interaction (projected to the audience) rather passive. Ideally the session could have been rehearsed in real time beforehand but how often is that realistic? I’d made a manuscript, including landmarks and points to be aware of for both sessions, and for future presentations it probably would be a good idea to share this with the mediator in advance instead of just verbally expressing my intentions.

Another difference was related to the communication. Not entirely certain that I would be able to understand all their Norwegian I’d recommended that they communicated mainly by text, while I used voice. I also thought it would be interesting to show how the voice-text combination usually works very well. Voice presentations with texting audience are common in-world, I’ve attended many such sessions and so far I’ve found it to be both satisfactory and engaging.  I did forget one crucial point though; the difference in perception when you’re immersed respectively nonimmersed. When I watch the recording of the session it strikes me as being pretty boring listening to my avatar talking, while text pops up occasionally on the screen. From the view of the outsider it almost comes across as traditional one-way communication – at least that’s my sentiment and even though I don’t know how the audience perceived it, I would recommend mutual voice in the future.

Despite these challenges I do find this way of presenting SL to be a viable alternative when RL presentation isn’t an option – I still just have a lot to learn ;-)  In fact I think presenting SL via SL often is better than flat 2D presentations, but it depends on the purpose and it is a different story …

/Mariis

BTW; for those who understand Norwegian, Cecilie and her colleague, Kristine Sevik wrote an interesting article on the educational potential of Virtual Worlds for the conference.

Building Class with Asp & Ballinger

On Tuesday November 18th we had the first building class of the MIL course. Dr. Asp and Heidi Ballinger were the guest teachers, since I don’t know much about building. We first met in MILs Holodeck just to check sound (tedious that you always have to do that, just to be sure it works!) and then we moved on to the sandbox Dr. Asp had set up for the course. I have of course been talking to Asp and Ballinger about the MIL course, the students and why I would like to incorporate a building class in the course. Even though the students will not learn to build complex things, I’m confident that it will give them a unique insight into the process and for sure a greater appreciation for all the things you see and experience in-world.

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Pre-meeting in MILs holodeck

8 students attended and the 2 hrs passed quickly. I decided to enter the student role and do the assignments Asp and Ballinger had planned, but I have to admit that I do not see myself as a future in-world builder .. . I simply do not have the patience! But the students seemed to appreciate the class and even though most of them thought it was quite difficult and time consuming, they all found it to be a valuable learning experience. One of the students pointed out that it had been especially interesting to see and experience that it is actually possible to learn something technical via SL.

The first class was deliberately designed so that the students would learn the most basic stuff in building, and it was really good that both teachers had the time to pay attention to each individual. One student arrived about one hour into the class, but he had technical problems and never really got integrated. After the class Dr. Asp, Heidi and I decided that the 2 next classes will be for those who attended only. The argument for this is to be able to progress – and with limited time, it would be inappropriate to spend it repeating stuff already learned by the majority – not least since all activities are voluntary.

kgi181108_2_004
Changing texture – luckily the arms don’t get tired!

Dr. Asp commented on the class on his blog (in Danish), and one of the realizations that he came to, was that builders in-world truly need to possess a lot of knowledge and he himself who has been building for more than 2 years now still learns new things, so of course you cannot become a skilled builder in the course of 3 sessions. The students realize that, but as one of them states; It’s great that other people are willing to spend so much time on building things the rest of us can benefit from ..

I could not agree more – so here is a big, big TY to all the amazing in-world builders:-)

/Mariis