Re: [xmca] zopeds and virtual learning environments

Date: Wed Jan 03 2007 - 09:10:39 PST


It looks like an extremely fascinating study and classroom practice that
you are implementing.

I believe all three questions you ask are intertwined:

the level of collaboration necessary depends upon the theoretical knowledge
the students already hold regarding the subject matter. If the gaming is
an introduction to the subject matter and then lessons are augmentations of
this initial exploration than an assessment aspect should be sandwiched
between exploration and the lesson. If the students spend all of their
time gaming and there is no theoretical knowledge gained it is my belief
the students could better spend their time playing "guitar hero". Donna,
do you use "scaffolding" as a substitute for zoped or do you use
"scaffolding" as a term referring to the teaching of a specific skill set?


                      "Mike Cole"
                      <lchcmike who-is-at gmail. To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
                      com> cc:
                      Sent by: Subject: Re: [xmca] zopeds and virtual learning environments
                      xmca-bounces who-is-at web
                      01/02/2007 12:33
                      Please respond
                      to mcole; Please
                      respond to
                      "eXtended Mind,

Odd that no one responded to your note, Donna--

For a long time we have known that the time shifting using list serves in
connection with courses also
re-mediates the forms of participation of students with the usually more
silent students becoming relatively
more active and visible. But the affordances of real time, virtual
environments now available in some quarters
offers, as you note, a lot of new and interesting potentials for creating
environments were students can be more
active learners.

Can you be the only one on XMCA pursuing these issues? how odd!!

On 12/20/06, Russell, Donna L <> wrote:
> Paul and All
> I would like to add another issue to this discussion of zopeds and the
> impact of context on learning and development.
> I am designing collaborative learning environments using immersive
> technologies such as 3-D
> massive multiplayer onling games (mmpogs) . My questions/comments are
> concerned with how to use CHAT to study immersive technologies such as
> 3-D virtual learning environments. I call this design and research
> process v-CHAT.
> Collaborative virtual learning environments have, I believe, an
> potential to offset the issues of standard educational programs that Paul
> and Mike discussed. They can be designed to incorporate the joy of
> learning.
> They are fun, engaging and purposeful. They also are collaborative so
> designer can consider- as in a real-world classroom- the benefits and
> costs
> of varied collaborations including mentoring, (guides in gaming)
> and
> group processes to facilitate movement through the Zone.
> I am currently designing both programs and research including the design
> of a high school urban geoscience program, a professional development
> simulation program for urban preservice teachers and a study of a
> university
> creative writing course taught in 3-D virtual online spaces. The aspects
> that I am studying in the nature of the simulated dialogs and
> associations,
> the collaborative spaces, and the design of the learning context.
> Virtual Associations and Zoped
> These simulated learning environments occur in highly interactive virtual
> scenarios with avatars (characters) that can dialog in real-time
> the digital characteristics of laughter, hand gestures, and head
> movements.
> One researcher at the ICLS told me her students would 'talk' more in
> spaces of their avatars could 'laugh' at jokes. Another researcher told
> me
> that one of her participants in a study of a 3-D virtual learning
> environment asked if her avatar (virtual character) could also sign- the
> implication was that her avatar was separate. These levels of
> associations
> are a very interesting aspect of these environments. McCluhan wrote in
> 1964
> in Understanding of Media: The Extensions of Man that "Having extended
> tanslated our central nervous system into the electormagnetic technology,
> it
> is but a further stage to transfer our consciousness to the computer
> as well." (pg. 60) This forum has previously discussed some of these
> aspects
> of extended consiousness in response to the book Natural Born Cyborgs by
> Andy Clark where he discussed the plasticity of the human brain in its
> ability to extend its awareness into virtual spaces.
> Collaborations
> Additionally, these learning environments allow the instructional
> to consider scaffolding aspects very similar to the design of a 'real
> world'
> collaboriative learning environment including the types and qualities of
> these virtual collaborations and the development of the learner's
> responses
> through mentors, tutors, virtual guides or other supportive avators to
> facilitate scaffolding.
> Virtual and Real-World Problem-Solving
> These virtual worlds are designed to be simulations of authentic learning
> processes such as problem-solving and case-based reasoning. For instance,
> we
> are designing a fossil wall for the geoscience program that will allow
> students to 'touch' a fossil on the wall and time travel to a paleo world
> with the fossil recreated as the organism. They use information learned
> about extinction etc. from the simulations to address real-world
> environmental issues such as global warming that are correlated to these
> virtual environments by their real-world classroom facilitator. We will
> convene a group of experienced inner city teachers in Kansas City to
> discuss
> their transformative classroom experiences and will use their combined
> expertise to design classroom scenarios that have that potential for the
> preservice teacher into our virtual spaces. The urban preservice teachers
> can 'walk into' a diverse urban classroom and be a virtual student or
> teacher and respond to the decision-making processes in a real-time
> simulation of these fluid environments as part of their professional
> development.
> So, finally, my questions are
> 1. How can the characteristics of the avatars impact the immersion of the
> students in these 3-d environments be defined and assessed for their
> impact
> on the potential for collaboration and learning using v-CHAT? How
> important
> are the development of these virtual personas to the potential for
> meaningful learning?
> 2. How can the collaborations designed into the scenarios consider the
> salient aspects of these virtual collaborations and dialogs and develop
> productive interactions that result in meaningful learning processes
> including productive scaffolding processes?
> 3. What are the characteristics of the problem space, the virtual
> simulation itself, that will impact the capabilities of the students to
> develop advanced problem-solving abilities? How much 'gaming' is enough
> to
> engage but does not detract from the learning?
> I would appreciate any advice on how to conceptualize these parameters of
> human development and learning from a CHAT perspective.
> thanks
> Donna
> Donna L. Russell, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Learning Technologies
> Educational Psychology
> Teacher Education
> Curriculum and Instructional Leadership
> School of Education
> University of Missouri-Kansas City
> (email) <>
> (website)
> (member of the Virtual Instructors Pilot Research Group)
> 816.235.2232
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
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