Utopia and a Garden Party

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Utopia and a Garden Party


Edited by Paul Jerry, Yvonne Masters and Nancy Tavares-Jones

Year: 2012

Format: eBook


A collection of papers presented at the 2nd Global Conference on Experiential Learning in Virtual Worlds, held in Prague, Czech Republic. Presenters discussed their research on the impact of utilising virtual worlds for educational purposes. Presenters also discussed the influence virtual worlds have on concepts such as identity, learning and interaction.

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‘I went to a garden party’ – Rick Nelson (1972) sang of attending a garden party and no-one recognising him. In this volume, the chapter authors provide the interested reader with signposts to assist in the recognition of virtual worlds and their many faces. Virtual worlds are not going to disappear. Over the last decade the numbers of people using such spaces has grown exponentially, as have the uses of virtual worlds. The chapters in this volume demonstrate that virtual worlds are no longer just for socialising – they are providing real possibilities for learning. Whether you are interested in virtual worlds per se, in the future of virtual technology or in providing innovative earning opportunities this book is for you!

Introduction: Utopia and a Garden Party
Paul Jerry, Yvonne Masters and Nancy Tavares-Jones

Social Media Good, Video Games Bad? Negotiating the Dialectical Tensions of Digital Interaction Paradigms in Distance Learning
Jon Leon Torn

Different Virtual Environments: Something for Everyone
Teemu Surakka

Using Virtual Worlds to Support Interaction Design Studio Courses
Spyros Vosinakis and Panayiotis Koutsabasis

Bringing Playfulness and Engagement to Language Training Using Virtual Worlds: Student Experiences, Results, and Best Practices from a Virtual Language Course
Eero Palomäki and Emma Nordbäck

Comparison of Role-Plays in a Virtual World
Sue Gregory and Yvonne Masters

Branching Out through VirtualPREX: Enhancing Teaching in Second Life
Yvonne Masters, Sue Gregory, Barney Dalgarno, Torsten
Reiners and Vicki Knox

Fusing Virtual, Digital and Real-World Experiences for Science Learning and Empowerment
Audrey Aronowsky, Beth Sanzenbacher, Johanna Thompson
and Krystal Villanosa

Mixing Virtual, Real-World and Digital Communication Elements to Create Successful Global Teams
Audrey Aronowsky, Beth Sanzenbacher, Johanna Thompson and Krystal Villanosa

Meaningful Assessment within Virtual Worlds: What Should It Look Like?
Geoffrey Crisp

Wild and Crazy: Confucian and Contemporary Selves and Their Attitudes towards Virtual Sexual Experience
Christina A. DeCoursey

Reflections on Identity and Learning in a Virtual World: The Avatar in Second Life
Paul Jerry and Nancy Tavares-Jones

Paul Jerry is Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology, Athabasca University, Canada. This is Canada’s first on-line/blended delivery graduate degree in counselling psychology and Paul has been with the program since before it opened its virtual doors some 12 years ago. His research interests include clinical training from a psychoanalytic perspective, regulation of professional psychology, and the use of counselling skills to manage virtual education experiences. Some of his writing includes some of the first descriptions of the use of streaming video in training counselling skills using the Web, identity representation in on-line education and neuropsychological correlates of virtual learning. His clinical writing covers neurodevelopment and the counselling relationship, art in therapy and various psychoanalytic case studies. He is a Past President of the College of Alberta Psychologists and is a Registered Psychologist maintaining a clinical practice in rural Canada. He has been a resident of Second Life since 2010.

Yvonne Masters has worked at the University of New England (UNE), Australia for the past five years as a lecturer in teacher education, occupying the role of Director of Professional Experience. Prior to taking up her position at UNE Yvonne had 30 years experience in secondary schools including in the roles of Curriculum Coordinator, Deputy Principal and Principal. Yvonne’s research interests centre around professional experience and virtual worlds, with a particular focus on distance education students. She has been a co-recipient of several grants for research into the use of a virtual classroom as a teaching and learning space and has developed this research through presentations at a range of national and international conferences. Yvonne has written papers on distance education and co-written regarding virtual worlds. Her most recent research grant is, as a member of a five university consortium, to explore the use of virtual worlds for teaching practice and assessment. Yvonne is currently examining a range of virtual worlds to gather data about the efficiency of transferring teaching and learning practices from one world to another.

Nancy Tavares-Jones is in her final year of her Masters of Counselling Psychology degree program at Athabasca University. Her research interests include psychometric assessments and their applications, psychoanalytic theory, personality theory and understanding the concept of ‘identity’ in actual and virtual worlds. Her thesis work involves an exploration of personality type and virtual world participation. She runs a private counselling practice in Ontario, Canada. She has been a resident of Second Life since 2011.