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Supervision Session 1

06/03/2012

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Confucius

Without getting too philosophical, I can say that ‘All systems are go!’ Scary, to say the least, but exhilarating, that’s for sure. Still feel like chasing my tail, going around in circles, and will probably feel like this even after I submit the report.

I had to fine-tune my research, put another way, reduce the scope (or have I just increased the scope?). That’s what I mean about chasing my tail! Basically, the notion of interviewing L1 & L2 learners has gone out the window. It’s practically impossible to find language learners, who will turn up regularly, for language exchange practice in Second Life. Yes, I could offer a lot of Linden dollars but that’s not what I wan to research. Second Life is just that – Second Life. It’s supposed to be ‘laid back’ and casual. People can drop by whenever they like. Unless of course they’ve paid a significant amount of money to learn a language in one of the sims.

Whereas, I’d like to investigate the more ‘independent learning’ opportunity it offers. Language learners, who have had some basic learning, in a classroom or in the country where the language is spoken, and would like to practise their new skill with someone else. Believe it or not, this is not always easy, even in an English-speaking nation. (My real-world students always mention that they never have any opportunity to meet fluent English speakers, the Kiwis. My Kiwi friends always mention that they never have the opportunity to meet those from far away lands…You see the problem?)

I’d like to find out if Second Life provides this opportunity. My impression is that, people seem to be able to approach each other in an anonymous environment. Imagine some people waiting at a bus stop. How long before they start talking to each other? Imagine some people waiting at a bus stop inworld? How long before they start talking to each other? So, if the location is more interesting than a bus stop, and a group of people with common interest come together, well, that may just be enough to get them talking.

It’s unfortunate that I’ll need to drop the significant part of the research – the mutually beneficial language exchange. This is unfeasible, given the size of the project and the time-frame. Perhaps leave it for the Master’s research…What I need to concentrate on is the fact that I get the research process right. Follow the guidelines, investigate one step at time, get it right the first time, than apply more ‘variables’, or content.

I was relieved to find out that even a couple of sessions conducted in SL would suffice, as the data gathered would be more than enough for this research at this level. The important part would be analysing this data. Must stay focused.

There will be a good opportunity for me to trial my research – a pilot run, if you will. As I have a group of Japanese students, who are here, in NZ, for a ‘real-life’ language exchange. I’d like to introduce them to SL and find out whether it’d help their studies, where ever they are. You can follow their progress here.

Onto the next item – where’s that Research Design Handbook again? I may need it!

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