Virtual Worlds Research
Second Life as an environment for education
Zagami, J. (2010, June). Second Life as an environment for education. Paper presented at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference, Denver, USA. Retrieved fromhttp://center.uoregon.edu/ISTE/2010/program/search_results_details.php?sessionid=49957160&selection_id=59495889&rownumber=1&max=2&gopage=
Zagami, J. (2010). Second Life as an environment for education [Presentation slides]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.slideshare.net/j.zagami/iste2010-secondlife-4679801
Can virtual environments effectively support learning? Three studies into online discussions, collaborative design and co-construction, and primary years arts teacher education. Recommended by ISTE's SIGVE
Second Life as an environment for higher education
Zagami, J. (2010, April). Second Life as an environment for higher education. Paper presented at the Australian Council for Computers in Education Conference, Melbourne, Australia. Retrieved from http://acec2010.info/proposal/256/second-life-environment-teaching-technology-education
Zagami, J. (2010). Second Life as an environment for higher education [Presentation slides]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/j.zagami/acec2010-second-life
Students are engaging with online 3D virtual environments as creative social spaces but virtual environments such as Second Life also provide opportunities to facilitate education in a flexible, connected and creative medium. Using a Second Life environment developed for Griffith University this study compared the BlackBoard online chat system with the Second Life chat system, the use of collaborative online design processes compared with individual online design processes, and the development of arts education concepts in a virtual environment. It finds that some educational concepts and processes are supported by the use of virtual environments, particularly online discussions, collaborative design, and Drama Education concepts.
Second Life as an Educational Technology
Zagami, J. (2009). Second Life as an Educational Technology [Presentation slides]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/j.zagami/inspirational-teaching-3698328
Presentation at The Third National Leading a Digital School Conference. September, 2009 Gold Coast, Australia.
Online course discussion through Second Life
Zagami, J. (2009, May). Online course discussion through Second Life. Paper presented at the EDUCAUSE Australasian Conference, Perth, Australia. Retrieved from http://www.caudit.edu.au/educauseaustralasia09/assets/papers/monday/Jason-Zagami.pdf
Zagami, J. (2009). Online course discussion through Second Life [Presentation slides]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.slideshare.net/j.zagami/online-course-discussion-through-second-life
Zagami, J. (Speaker). (2009, May 4). Online course discussion through Second Life [Audio podcast]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.caudit.edu.au/educauseaustralasia09/assets/audio/monday/Simulations-Jason_Zagami.mp3
The Griffith University Virtual Learning Environment was created using the Second Life application in 2007. Now in its third year of development and implementation, the effectiveness of the Second Life environment to support postgraduate online course discussions is compared to the online text chat tool available to the Blackboard Learning Management System.
In a study involving two postgraduate courses, each of 14 students, the group using the Second Life environment was found to more effectively support small group online text based discussions through three effects generated by the use of avatars to represent physical presence within the environment.
Firstly, participants could automatically telegraph their intention to contribute to discussions through animated typing simulated by their avatar while preparing a contribution. This provided pauses in discussions as participants waited for contributors to present their textual contribution before conversations progressed. This process was not evident in traditional text based chat systems where participant contributions would frequently be included after the discussion had moved on and this limitation was found to be an inhibiting factor to the participation of slower contributors.
Secondly, participants were strongly encouraged by the second life environment not to multitask during discussions. When the second life environment was not the focus of their activity or they left their computer inactive for any significant time, their avatar would animate as asleep. This indicated to all participants that the owner was absenting him or herself from the conversation and provided strong social pressure to remain active or at least attentive to conversations.
Finally, the Second Life environment encouraged ancillary conversations between participants to a greater extent than the Blackboard chat system. The Second Life environment enabled participant avatars the ability to cluster and physically move apart from the main group to conduct private or smaller group discussions. The physical separation of avatars within the environment, beyond the distance they send and receive typed messages, provided an effective sense of privacy while retaining the perception of remaining part of a larger group through the retained ability to observe clusters of avatars without receiving or contributing to their conversations.
Second Life presents an innovative online course discussion environment but as an emerging technology is subject to significant technical disruption and system requirements. However, the Second Life environment was found to support intuitive processes afforded by the Second Life environment that could not be replicated in a purely text based system.
Second Life as an Arts Education Environment
Zagami, J. (2008). Second Life as an Arts Education Environment. In M. Docherty & D. Rosin (Ed.), CreateWorld 2008: The Art of Serious Play. The Serious Art of Play (pp. 3-8). Brisbane, QLD., Australia: Apple University Consortium Australia. Retrieved fromhttp://www.auc.edu.au/myfiles/uploads/Training/CW08/CW08_Proceedings.pdf
Zagami, J. (2008). Second Life as an Arts Education Environment [Presentation slides]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.slideshare.net/j.zagami/moodle-on-a-shoestring
While some students are engaging with online 3D virtual environments as creative social spaces, Virtual environments such as Second Life also provide opportunities to facilitate arts education in a flexible, connected and creative medium. Using a Second Life environment developed for Griffith University this study explored the use of a Second Life virtual environment to support the development of primary school arts education concepts. The study found that for some concepts, such as drama and dance, a virtual environment could assist in the development of these concepts, while for other concepts, such as visual arts; a more traditional environment achieved greater understanding of the concept.
Technology Education through online virtual environments
Zagami, J. (2008). Technology Education through online virtual environments in Technology Education, in Proceedings of the 5th Biennial International Conference on Technology Education Research, 28-29 November 2008, Crown Plaza, Surfers Paradise. Retrieved from http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/handle/10072/24216
Teacher education through online 3D virtual environments
Zagami, J. (2008). Teacher education through online 3D virtual environments [Presentation slides]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/j.zagami/teacher-education-through-online-3d-virtual-environments
Zagami, J. (2008, July). Teacher education through online 3D virtual environments. Paper presented at the Australian Teacher Education Association National Conference, Maroochydore, Australia. Retrieved from http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/10072/24281/1/52213_1.pdf
Students are engaging with online 3D virtual environments as creative social spaces but virtual environments are foreign to many educators. Second Life is a popular virtual environment and is being evaluated for its potential in facilitating online education. This paper describes the range of educational applications being explored within the Second Life environment and highlights the issues involved in the development and implementation of a virtual environment at Griffith University. Presented are findings of a trial of the environment comparing the effectiveness of the Second Life environment with the BlackBoard environment to support small group discussions. Findings suggest a substantial difference in participant discussion during online tutorials between the two environments. While individual responses were less considered and detailed from students using Second Life than those in using BlackBoard, the interplay of ideas and collaborative contribution to discussion threads resulted in an overall increase in the depth and breadth of discussions using Second Life. Both prompted and unprompted contribution to discussion were greater in the Second Life group and this was attributed to the sense of physical presence providing pressure on participants to respond to points raised in discussions.