Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Make your virtual world a success!

In honor of national distance learning week, I viewed an archived webinar from the USDLA 2010 online conference.The webinar I attended was entitled, "virtual worlds". This presentation was given by Keysha Gamor, PhD and Janet Weisenford.It highlighted several principles to help make virtual worlds successful. Here is a  great pdf about how to blend learning and a virtual world.Also here is a graphic of the virtual world phenomenon.

Why are virtual worlds important in the classroom?
  • able to blend traditional learning and elearning
  • ways to improve and provide more interaction in trainings and classroom sessions
  • learn about what is being learning by "membership"
  • virtual worlds is a tool to use in your teaching toolbox
  • virtual worlds are embedded into our culture
  • By 2012, 70% of organizations will have thier own virutal world established!
8 out of 10 virutal worlds fail, here are some principels to help make your virtual world a success in your learning environment:

Principle 1 - Analyze requirements
  • What is the instructional dilemma? Is there an an instructional dillemma? How can virutal worlds help solve your instructional dilemma?
  • Is there a gap in the technology toolbox?
  • Is there a need? or an interest?
  • Is the content appororpaite for this type of learning environment?
  • Is there a need that only virutal worlds can address?
  • Select the tool based on the needs not just use it to use it!
 Principle 2 - Expand course paradigm
  •  Don't take what happens in a traditional classroom and throw it into a virtual world 
  • Expand the course
  • What are some ways to learn the information?
  • What are the instructional strategies that can be used to get the content across? 3D modeling?
  • Fully engage your learners 
    • role playing
    • 3D tours
    • simulations and interactives
  • Have visual and auditory cues to help learners become more engaged with the content
Principle 3 - Recognize the uniqueness of the medium
  • Don't duplicate what is going on in a traditional environment
  • What are some unique features of the virtual medium and how cna we align our goals to use these resources effectively and efficiently
Principle 4 - Re-purpose & Re-engineer Content
  • Re-evaluate content
  • Does the content lend itself to an online environment?
  • Look for content that can be better represented in online virtual environment
  • Review instructional strategies - encourage collaboration
Princple 5 - Approach holistically
  • Work is never done
  • Revise, redact, etc.
Principle 6 - Contain expectations
  • What can virtual worlds help me do?
  • Communicate effectively to stakeholders
  • Get buy in!
Principle 7 - Recognize changes in ways people are learning
  • Kids prefer to learn differentlly 
  • Listen to audience
  • How do participants want to learn?
  • Add to 21st century literacies
    • social
    • cultural
    • digital
    • virtual
Do's of Virtual Worlds
  • Use affordances that are in virtual worlds
    • power of presence (being a place with others) 
    • this space is real (being in 2 places at once - online and in home etc)
    • sense of: self, distance, presence, space, co-create, practice,  experience, authenticity, and persistence.
    • rich user interface
    • anytime, anywhere, anyplace
    • ownership and authority of avatar or agent that interacts within the virtual world
    • interact, collaborate, connect, co-collaborate with others
  • Combine pedagogy and instructional strategies

Don'ts of Virtual Worlds
  • Don't use virtual worlds if you can do it in a traditional classroom
  • Don't forget to plan accordingly
** If you are looking for some achieved webinars from past USDLA online conference you can visit this site. You can click on any achieved year and document will appear that you can copy and paste the URL into your browser to view the blackboard session**

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