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Second Life Calling – Abstract


Full Abstract

This paper aims to provide an overview of a 3D multi-user virtual environment, Second Life (SL) and how it can be used as a medium for teaching and learning English as an Additional Language (EAL). Deutschmann et al sees “the need for interaction and the negotiation of meaning in a communicative situation” where “language learning has moved on from software that involve learners’ interaction with computers to interaction with other humans via the computer which involves ‘every language skill and area, including speaking and listening skills” (2009).
One of the key factors in language teaching and learning is student engagement. This is achieved when appropriate tasks are created, demonstrating the concept or the purpose of a particular language item. In other words, the learners are motivated to learn when they understand a given context and be able to relate to the situation. Most of these tasks are created in the form of role-plays to encourage interaction and participation. This element of role-play can sometimes be limited to the written instructions, pictures or the physical classroom. It relies on the prior knowledge and experience of the participants.
In SL, people from different corners of the globe can participate in live synchronous communication in a shared virtual space through their virtual representations or ‘avatars’. One advantage of the use of SL for such role-play is that the focus is on the avatar, not directly on the language learner.
The paper will report on the research that is currently carried out at a regional Polytechnic on the perceptions of EAL learners using SL. Feedback from the inclass and inworld students will be provided, along with conclusions from the author and suggestions for further development.


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