Re: [xmca] zopeds and virtual learning environments

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Fri Jan 05 2007 - 14:17:19 PST

Maybe we need some kind of meeting of xmca-ers interested in this topic,
Donna. I simply
cannot make it to the gamers conf in Madison, although that should be REALLY
I am interested in it at several levels of the educational system, starting
with high school.

On 1/5/07, Russell, Donna L <> wrote:
> hello mike and everyone
> i am working in SL with a university course and in SL Teenworld with a
> high school geoscience course that i am designing - i am also designing a
> 3-D virtual online simulation site to be used to train urban teachers at the
> Instituted for Urban Education in KC. i believe these virtual simulations
> are going to be used extensively for educational purposes - including
> training teachers or insurance agents or anyone else who needs to be able to
> problem-solve in fluid complex environments. these 3-D virtual environments
> are very social- as Anna asked- and i can design the 'group work' in these
> environments in much the same way that i would design a real world classroom
> --
> mike- i use SL because it is very friendly- as linda noted- to
> researchers- Linden agrees to give you a free island and there is a
> collaborative group -SLED- that is a great resource-but for my high
> schoolers- we will go to TeenWorld -- a much more controlled environment-
> you can control the access much easier- and there are - as linda noted-
> incredible resources available in SL teen world -- the US Geological Society
> is in SL for instance-
> but i believe that it may be necessary if you get into a large program
> (like Sasha's Quest Atlantis) to design your own virtual world. i have
> written a grant to get funding for this for the GeoWorld program-
> as for research--how do these virtual environments impact the acquisition
> of knowledge and the useability of this knowledge in RL? when does the media
> impact (as Jay noted) - the gaming environment for instance- benefit the
> learning --with higher levels of engagement for instance- and when does it
> become a detractor from the learning and the knowledge acquisition and
> use? i design for student to use information learned in virtual worlds to
> be used to solve real world problems--- as a result i think this process
> should also be studied in relation to the design of the learning environment
> and the goals of the learners- i am also currently completing an article on
> using CHAT to understand online problem-based learning-
> i am also a member of the virtual instructor pilot research group- we are
> meeting in january RL as a result of an NSF grant- -- we are looking at
> defining the characteristics of tutors/ mentors/ guides in 3-D virtual
> environments- including how the virtual instructor characteristics impact
> the learner responses -
> i would also appreciate any ideas about meeting at gaming conferences or a
> new v-CHAT collaboration process --
> donna
> Donna L. Russell, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Instructional Technology
> Curriculum and Instructional Leadership
> School of Education
> University of Missouri-Kansas City
> (email)
> (website)
> (cell) 314.210.6996
> Hi Mike.
> Linden Labs (Second Life) gave me a semester free trial for the whole
> class. I eventually just sucked it up and bought an island (very
> expensive, but I run the doctoral program and buried the cost for the
> initial set-up and coaxed the masters degree program into splitting
> the monthlies). Since then, the grad. biz school (not to be outdone
> by Harvard) has decided it wants to look at using Second Life because
> of all the RMT stuff, I think (real money transactions). I asked them
> if they'd pony up so we could buy a bigger island. Membership in SL
> is free, but to build you need land, and land costs money (clever).
> Perhaps we could be more consortium-oriented in our dealings and
> invite other institutions as well. How about an XMCA island? Our
> Masters students recently had Daniel Pink come visit to view the
> projects they had constructed in response to his book, A Whole New
> Mind. My doctoral class had the pleasure of a visit last semester, in
> SL, with MIchele Knoble and Colin Lankshear, as we were finishing up
> their text, New literacies: Changing knowledge and classroom learning.
> Because SL can be quite raunchy, and because I'm at an extremely
> conservative institution, I decided to keep the island "off the grid"
> so to speak. You have to be invited there. Students can always roam
> about anywhere in SL they wish, of course. I've only formally taken
> them out to the New Media Consortium site during the wonderful couple
> of weeks of invited speakers and clever activities they sponsored
> last semester.
> Now...MMOs...a little different story. WoW (World of Warcraft) is
> $48 start up for an account (think: lab fee), I think, and $16/mo
> roughly (less than the cost of a movie date once a month). I "m not
> above requiring that, but I don't require it, partly because I'm not
> willing to take heat from my institution just yet. I have a subset of
> doctoral students interested in gaming, specifically MMO type games,
> and they have chosen to join me into WoW. We hve been there more than
> a year now. Some were already EVE or Everquest veterans. Of course,
> one of my doc students totally decimated my safe haven when he shared
> in class, the famous YouTube video of the Onyxia wipe (a large group
> effort gone bad) in which the raid master uses the F word about every
> other word. =sigh= Oh well, I"m tenured.
> I have been talking with Sasha about jumping a class into Quest
> Atlantis, which Sasha bills as an MMO, but which is an explicitly
> educational framework, as is Whyville. I think that makes it different.
> Constance et al have a researcher guild on a PVP WoW server. Doctoral
> students and researchers can join by nomination. There is an
> associated private blog/site that often (not always) is about theory,
> research, and observations about learning in WoW and to some extent
> other games.
> In the MacArthur web portal there is a terrific thread of discussion,
> still available I believe, on gaming, led by Katie Salen. It is
> accessible for viewing. I think the discussion has officially closed.
> I would direct you to our research blog, but the guild in which my
> students and I play (*not* a researcher guild, mostly JPFs) is in the
> midst of some "guild emo" (drama, emo = emotion) and the language is
> not PG rated as we all reflect on the situation we see going on (yet
> again). Talk about communities and tension...whew...makes the
> butchers, midwives, doctors, and artifical intell workers look civil
> and tame. LOL.
> Mike, come to Games, Learning, & Society in Madison in June. It's a
> great high touch conference.
> Perhaps we should all get our classes or doc'l students together
> virtually, if not IRL (in real life).
> Hope the jargon isn't too thick in this posting. I'm rushing because
> I"m still finishing the syllabus for the class that starts tomorrow.
> =grin=
> Linda
> ps - the games/literacy class will next occur in Fall '07.
> On Jan 3, 2007, at 3:27 PM, Mike Cole wrote:
> > Linda & Jay--
> >
> > What do you do about teaching using costly mmogs to large classes?
> > Its a practical question we face and I assume others do as well.
> >
> > Donna is using Second Life. Same question!!
> > mike
> >
> > On 1/3/07, Linda Polin <> wrote:
> >>
> >> Funny, last term I had revised a class similarly. (Are you playing in
> >> Terror Nova, Jay?). Anyhow...I would also recommend the last third of
> >> TL Taylor's book, Play Between Worlds.
> >>
> >> On Jan 3, 2007, at 2:51 PM, Jay Lemke wrote:
> >>
> >> >
> >> > I have been away for a while, and too busy to participate much in
> >> > xmca lately, but noticed this message today. You might have a look
> >> > at a draft of a research proposal on my website
> >> > [click on New Additions to get to the
> >> link]
> >> >
> >> > It proposes comparing learning affordances and their uptake by
> >> > users in commercial computer games and in educational software.
> >> > There are references to several projects currently trying to make
> >> > virtual learning environments in the mold of multiplayer games, and
> >> > there is great promise in a social approach (guilds in online
> >> > gameworlds, studied by Steinkuehler at Wisconsin; Whyville, studied
> >> > by Yasmin Kafai at UCLA, etc.).
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