Virtual Worlds for Online Learning: Cases and Applications

Sue Gregory (Editor)
University of New England, Armidale, Australia

Mark J.W. Lee (Editor)
Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia

Barney Dalgarno (Editor)
Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia

Belinda Tynan (Editor)
The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World
BISAC: EDU041000

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This book showcases contemporary examples of three-dimensional virtual world use for Internet and web-mediated tertiary education from across the globe that cut across a range of disciplinary contexts and settings. By doing so, it seeks to promote scholarly dialogue as well as to assist the development and dissemination of good practice and best practices in the field. While there have been a number of other volumes published on virtual worlds and learning, many were written prior to the existence of mature applications and thus consist largely of early proof-of-concept reports; a number of practical or “how-to” guides for teachers considering using virtual worlds in their teaching have also been produced that have to do with either the technology or learning design.

In general, much of what is available in the area is “show and tell” and does not engage deeply with theory or with key researchable questions and issues. This book is unique in the way it combines analysis and discussion of recent theoretical and empirical research with descriptive accounts and evaluations of exemplary and innovative discipline-based applications, all of which are focused on factors influencing the successful uptake and use of virtual worlds in online learning at universities and colleges. The book is a useful resource for educators with an interest in virtual worlds, irrespective of their level of experience and/or proficiency. The collection of exemplars presented will not only expose newcomers to the potential and possibilities of the technology but will also alert them to the problems and pitfalls of whose existence they need to be mindful of as they make their foray into the educational virtual worlds arena.

Potential solutions and mitigating strategies for many of the common problems are suggested as well. For those who are more seasoned virtual world users, they will benefit from the evidence-based perspectives offered and from opportunities to situate their practice within the scholarly knowledge base, comparing their own experiences with those of others and learning from the stories, vignettes, insights, and reflections being shared. Novices and veterans alike will find the book valuable in helping them manufacture a sustainable business case to put forth to their managers and in their quests to champion investment in virtual worlds at their institutions. (Imprint: Nova)

Prologue
(Sue Gregory, Belinda Tynan, Mark J.W. Lee, and Barney Dalgarno)

About the Editors

Editor Acknowledgements

List of Reviewers

List of Tables and Figures

Foreword
(Sara de Freitas)

SECTION 1: SIMULATION AND PRACTICE

Chapter 1. VirtualPREX: Providing Virtual Professional Experience for Pre-Service Teachers
(Yvonne Masters, Sue Gregory, Barney Dalgarno, Torsten Reiners and Vicki Knox)

Chapter 2. Virtual Bodies Speaking Real Languages: The Use of the Virtual World in the Foreign Language Classroom
(Angela Giovanangeli)

Chaper 3. SLIS Island 360o—Is There Value in Virtual Worlds?
(Patricia C. Franks and Brande Hall Gex)

Chapter 4. Virtual World Narratives for Ethical Decision Making
(Andrew Cram, John G. Hedberg, Maree Gosper, and Geoff Dick)

Chapter 5. Sounding the Alarm: Emergency Managers Learn in Second Life
(Charlene A. Merritt and Robert Crow)

SECTION 2: PEDAGOGY

Chapter 6. Teaching Technical Writing with Virtual World Technology
(Cindy M. Raisor and Rochell R. McWhorter)

Chapter 7. Immersing University Staff in Professional Learning
(Meg O’Reilly, Allan Ellis, and Lisa Jacka)

Chapter 8. Building Virtual Clubs for Jazz History in Second Life
(Dan Keast)

Chapter 9. Psychology Island: A Case Study of Interdisciplinary Education in a 3D Virtual World
(Richard L. Gilbert, John David N. Dionisio, and Nora A. Murphy)

Chapter 10. Architectural Design and Language Learning in Second Life
(Christine Rodrigues, Ciara Rachel Wigham, Anne-Laure Foucher, and Thierry Chanier)

Chapter 11. Eversion as a Generative Metaphor for Situating Virtual Worlds in Architectural Design Education
(Burak Pak and Caroline Newton)

Epilogue
(Belinda Tynan, Sue Gregory, Barney Dalgarno, and Mark J.W. Lee)

Abbreviations

Index

"While virtual world learning remains in its infancy and more work is clearly needed to make learning-led design in virtual worlds even more effective, this important volume brings together the most up-to-date research and shows incremental advances in our knowledge base... Learning is no longer a case of regurgitating facts and figures; today, we can be more creative and ambitious in what our students can experience, and we can make things come alive. This volume helps us to evaluate how important education is to us and the many ways in which we can craft learning experiences to support an individual’s development." - Professor Sara de Freitas FRSA, Pro Vice-Chancellor Learning and Teaching, Murdoch University, Australia

C2C Digital Magazine - Shalin Hai-Jew, Kansas State University

The book is a useful resource for educators with an interest in virtual worlds, irrespective of their level of experience and/or proficiency. The collection of exemplars presented will not only expose newcomers to the potential and possibilities of the technology but will also alert them to the problems and pitfalls of whose existence they need to be mindful as they make their foray into the educational virtual worlds arena. Potential solutions and mitigating strategies for many of the common problems are suggested. For those who are more seasoned virtual world users, they will benefit from the evidence-based perspectives offered and from opportunities to situate their practice within the scholarly knowledge base, comparing their own experiences with those of others and learning from the stories, vignettes, insights, and reflections being shared. Novices and veterans alike will find the book valuable in helping them manufacture a sustainable business case to put to their managers and in their quests to champion investment in virtual worlds at their institutions.

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