Authentic Virtual World Education - Facilitating Cultural Engagement and Creativity
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Introduces a new assessment methodology focusing on goal-oriented performed actions of learners
Provides insights into the affordances of virtual worlds as a safe and effective intercultural learning environments
Synthesizes case studies focusing on the use of 3D virtual worlds in higher education
Sue Gregory is an Associate Professor, Chair of Research and a member of the ICT education team in the School of Education at the University of New England, Australia, where she is responsible for leading and driving research within the school and training pre-service and postgraduate education students on how to incorporate technology into their teaching. She is a long-term adult educator and, since 2008, has been teaching in Second Life, in which she has created and manages several inworld spaces including classrooms and a playground for students. Sue’s research focus is on adult learning, authenticity, engagement, immersion, impact, and the efficacy of virtual worlds for education; in particular, she has been examining student perceptions of their learning in a virtual world. Sue is chair of the Australian and New Zealand Virtual Worlds Working Group (VWWG) and recently led an Australian Government Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT)-funded project entitled “VirtualPREX: Innovative Assessment using a 3D Virtual World with Pre-Service Teachers”.
Denise Wood is a Professor, Engaged Research Chair and Director of the Centre for Regional Advancement of Learning, Equity, and Participation (LEAP) at Central Queensland University, Australia. She had led over AU$6 million in national funded research projects focusing on learning and teaching, and the innovative use of information and communication technologies, including virtual worlds, to enhance learning outcomes and the social and educational participation of people from underrepresented groups in Australia and South Africa. One of these projects, which is of particular interest to this publication, was an Australian Leaning and Teaching funded national project, “Facilitating flexible, enquiry-based experiential learning through an accessible, three-dimensional virtual learning environment (3DVLE)”, the outputs of which included guidelines for academics teaching in virtual worlds about the affordances and features virtual worlds for learning and teaching in higher education, case studies across a range of disciplinary fields and the development of an accessible virtual world viewer.