Language Learning in MUVEs: Chapt 15 Veletsianos

November 17, 2010

“Technical, Pedagogical, and Cultural Considerations for Language Learning in MUVEs”. The authors of this chapter are Charles Xiaoxue Wang, Brendan Calandra, & Youngjoo Yi
(Chapter 15)

The authors describe a study of the Multi-User Virtual Environment (MUVE) “Second Life” used in a facilitated manner to connect students in China and the US for the purpose of language learning. In this environment, users create a personal avatar which can move around through the virtual classes, meeting spaces, shops, recreational areas etc. that are part of the online environment. One’s avator can chat via text, use non-verbal gestures and receive documents. Most importantly for this project, VoIP allows users to talk (verbally) to each other in real time.

The integration of skills such as speaking and writing is important here, as the study indicates that students could draw on their stronger skill to support the weaker one. At the onset, specific tasks were assigned and facilitation was incorporated to ensure that distractions (which can be plentiful in this environment) didn’t get in the way.

The authors are very excited about the potential of this approach. There are many features of MUVEs that seem ideally suited to language learning and lots of ideas to be explored in the future.

This is from the “Elizabeth Tweets” series of chapter-by-chapter blog posts related to the 2010 book “Emerging Technologies in Distance Education“, edited by George Veletsianos and published by Athabasca University Press (including a freely available e-book version).

Snorkeling ’the shallows’: what’s the cognitive trade-off in internet behavior? (via Neuroconscience)

June 8, 2010

I love that neuroscience has something to say about the topic that has been debated by Carr and Shirky.

Snorkeling ’the shallows’: what's the cognitive trade-off in internet behavior? I am quite eager to comment on the recent explosion of e-commentary regarding Nicolas Carr’s new book. Bloggers have already done an excellent job summarizing the response to Carr’s argument. Further, Clay Shirkey and Jonathan Lehrer have both argued convincingly that theres’ not much new about this sort of reasoning. I’ve also argued along these lines, using the example of language itself as a radical departure from pre-linguistic living. Did ou … Read More

via Neuroconscience

Ancient History

March 30, 2009

Today I had a reason to look to the past.

ETUG (BC Ed Tech Users’ Group) is putting together a history archive and they called for stories.  So I googled my own name and found couple of my old OLD documents 🙂 (1991 and 1996) The story told in these is that the BC provincial government was addressing technology in education before there was even a WWW. The “Education Technology Centre” that began at Dunsmuir Lodge (the Lodge itself has just closed its doors) began in 1989 as a small group of folks with a mission to incorporate technology into the K-12 curriculum.

Some Highlights:

Pea and Solway were concerned in 1987 that there was an ever-widening gap between school and society. Interesting to reflect on whether our current education system reflects what kids do online now, in 2009? And in that year they were the authors of one of my all-time favourite quotes: “information access does not make education.”

Reading through I realize I still believe quite a bit of what I said and quoted back then…   having an enormous wealth of information available is not enough to guarantee that we will have an educated society.  But if an educated society *does” have access to each other and to virtually unlimited information, the potential is amazing!

And much of what went on all those years ago was like a preview of coming attractions….

CSILE (Marlene Scardamalia and Carl Bereiter in the 90s) was almost a wiki. John Seely Brown, who I quoted then for the cognitive science viewpoint and his emphasis on authenticity is someone I follow on Twitter now 🙂  Clay Shirky wasn’t on my radar screen back then, but he’s all about how we can make good use of what’s available (as were the cognitive science thinkers 20+years ago) and he’s looking to a future where the cognitive surplus, when used wisely, can take us in directions we were barely dreaming of  “back then”.

And work like Zimbardo’s can perhaps help us understand how we’ll take on new online roles, and what those roles will mean with respect to our ability to do good or evil.