April 9, 2016

Teaching in Virtual Worlds: The Most Important 'Basic' Skill [For Educators]

"Figuring out how to move, look around, and interact with others is not intuitive for most users. If the first class begins here, some students will exit the software, vowing never to return. Rather than startle students, the first class needs to show them the benefits of using virtual worlds, demonstrate what students of all ages have accomplished in only a few days, and provide a brief introduction on how to use the tool effectively. The first class should feature cool technology, exciting research, entertainment, and great visuals to inflame students’ imagination." ~ Cynthia M. Calongne (“Lyr Lobo” in SL), Professor of Computer Science at Colorado Technical University. (You can read the full article here.)

I tend to agree with Professor Calongne's view: for me, the most important 'basic' skill for any teacher/trainer is the ability to effectively communicate the benefits of using virtual worlds to their students/trainees. I find that skill to be especially important in adult education, due to the characteristics of adult learners.

Once the teacher/trainer manages to successfully communicate the benefits of using virtual worlds, students/trainees will then feel more motivated to develop technical skills - e.g. how to join Second Life [or any other virtual world], move around, communicate, search, etc. In many cases, learning how to do these things can be accomplished with the help of video tutorials, several of which - with rather good quality - are already available on the Web.

Here's an example:

And these video tutorials are not all in English. Here's a very short video tutorial, in Italian, showing how to use "notecards" in Second Life:

Students/trainees can also learn how to do things in Second Life by, for instance, completing the very detailed Basic Skills Tutorial available at the Caledon Oxbridge University campus.

Image via Caledon Oxbridge

See you in-world, :)

P.S. - Text, links to videos and picture originally posted on the SL MOOC 2016 Moodle website.

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