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Specify or not to specify – that is the question!

03/10/2011

Below is my work in progress (copied from the class document). By making it public, I’m hoping that I’ll get my act together and come up with at least 2 possible research questions!  ATM, I’m pretty much stuck! Here’s a visual representation of what I’m going through:

It’s a bit like researching the following question:

What is the meaning of life?

So I need to focus my question:

What is the general perception of people under 30 on enjoying life to the fullest in extreme sports – such as sky-diving?

But I can’t be too specific!

Here are some possible titles:

Can we build it? Yes, we can! Second Life as a collaborative tool in learning English as an additional language (EAL).

Where do you live? Designing a collaborative task in Second Life to assist English learners in real life.

Pedagogy & virtual worlds – How can they be combined in learning EAL? (or)

What are the practical applications of second language acquisition (SLA) theories in virtual worlds?

Second Life for real life practicum – What are the benefits of training EAL tutors in virtual worlds?

Fun for fun’s sake – What are the motivational factors in learning EAL in virtual worlds?

I can see I’m not being specific at all! Argh!

Perhaps the following questions from the audience, could help:

Questions:

Do MUVEs really have a large learning curve? and if so how could be shortened?

What are the advantages/disadvantages between using an MUVE which is designed to support multiple purposes vs an application designed specifically for the task?

OK, OK, we’re getting closer…

Let’s think of a task….Giving instructions…Giving directions…Describing places…What? What? What do EAL learners need assistance with or to practise AND how can Second Life enhance this process by providing the 3D MUVE?

There has got to be something that will encourage:

  • co-operation
  • task achievement
  • motivation

in return for time and effort invested in learning this new technology.

What is it?

(to be continued)

Short Description:

The use of web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning languages is increasing. This paper aims to explore the learners’ point of view when it comes to creating, developing and maintaining 3D multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) for the purposes of learning EAL.

Why is it interesting to me?

MUVEs are creative, highly technical and can be extremely enjoyable. Their potential is not fully recognised, probably because it’s still the ‘early days’. Most prospective users are ‘late adoptors’ to technology, especially the educators. I’d like to find out how the current/possible users of MUVEs, the EAL learners, feel about this technology.

Three things I know about it:

  1. established communities
  2. still relatively ‘unknown’ in language teaching and learning circles
  3. can be both inclusive and exclusive learning environments

Three things I believe about it:

  1. MUVEs have a huge learning curve (both for the learners and the teachers)
  2. will become a popular tool in education
  3. time consuming – preparing, searching and maintaining the teaching environments

Three things I don’t know about it:

  1. the potential users of MUVEs
  2. how they learn/find out how to use MUVEs
  3. how they use them

My 3 Questions:

  1. Pedogogy & Virtual Worlds – How can they be combined in learning EAL?

or

What are the practical applications of second language acquisition (SLA) theories in virtual worlds?

or

How can SLA theories be applied in virtual world environments?

or

Applied Languages in Second Life – What are the benefits of using virtual world environments for applied linguistics?

or

What’s in it for me? Applying a pedogogic framework for second language acquisition (SLA) in virtual world environments.

or

Can we build it? Yes, we can! Second Life and self-efficacy in learning English as an additional language (EAL).

Can we build it? Yes, we can! Learners’ perspective on learning EAL in Second Life.

    • How to apply pedogogic framework for second language acquisition (SLA) in virtual world environments?
    • What are learner perceptions of self-efficacy in learning English as an additional language (EAL) in Second Life?

“The implication is that while virtual worlds appear to be able to support students’ perception of relevance, and thereby more effective enactive mastery experiences, further research still needs to be conducted to explore the relationship between the affordances of virtual worlds and the instructional design, including the simultaneous real-life and inworld experiences/interactions of students, in the impact on self-efficacy beliefs.” (link to source)

  1. Second Life for Real Life Practicum – What are the benefits of training language tutors in virtual worlds?
  2. Fun for fun’s sake – Waht are the motivational factors in learning EAL in virtual worlds?
Here’s a master’s thesis (hot off the press) that’s worth reading:
Pedagogical implications of Second Life in education: Educators’ and residents’ perception by Vickel Neelesh Narayan
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2 Comments
  1. Clare permalink
    04/10/2011 10:29 am

    wow – still so many possiblities! 🙂 How many PhDs do you want to do!! Love that you are exploring so much of this – the ‘right’ question will appear I am sure 🙂

    • 04/10/2011 1:21 pm

      Thanks Clare! PhD??? I’m still stuck at the proposal stage 🙂 I don’t know which question to ask, let alone research it!

      Thank you for your encouraging words!

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