Multi-User Virtual Environments: User-Driven Design and Implementation for Language Learning

Multi-User Virtual Environments: User-Driven Design and Implementation for Language Learning

Julie M. Sykes (University of New Mexico, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-822-3.ch016
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Various features of multiuser virtual environments (MUVEs) make them promising and, potentially transformational, contexts for the development of second language (L2) skills. While there has been a surge of interest in the use of MUVEs for language learning, there is still a relatively small body of empirical evidence that supports our understanding of how these immersive spaces can best be utilized for second language education. After a brief introduction to relevant research on MUVEs and language learning, this chapter is divided into two primary sections. The first section describes one component of a larger empirical study of the first MUVE built specifically for learning Spanish pragmatics. The following section utilizes the empirical findings, combined with lessons learned from classroom implementation, to suggest design considerations for those wishing to implement MUVEs in the language classroom. While the specific focus of the chapter is language learning, the findings are intended to be generally applicable in other disciplines as well.
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Participation in MUVEs is no longer considered merely a hobby or extracurricular activity. Rather, it is a significant, international cultural practice that contributes to an overall shift in the perception and construction of reality, including the political, economic, and social choices people make outside of virtual contexts (Castronova, 2005, 2007; Thorne, 2008). When considering the role of MUVEs in language learning, we must conceptualize them as more than merely practice spaces. Instead, the perspective taken here advocates a move towards transformational educational practice; this makes use of the emerging digital spaces in culturally relevant ways while allowing for learner construction of knowledge.2 Prior to our primary discussion of the empirical study and design considerations presented in this chapter, this section briefly presents relevant background information to frame our discussion of MUVEs in language learning. This includes a review of L2 research relevant to the current project as well as a description of three prominent types of MUVEs. Ten general, potentially beneficial, characteristics of MUVEs for second language learning are also discussed.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Yuanqiong Wang
Giovanni Vincenti, James Braman
Giovanni Vincenti, James Braman
Chapter 1
Daniel Laughlin
This chapter addresses some of the objections to the use of multi user virtual environments (MUVEs) in education that proponents of that medium are... Sample PDF
Overcoming Objections to MUVEs in Education
Chapter 2
Nan B. Adams, Thomas A. DeVaney
The concept of leveraging strategic control of the knowledge from teachers to students in virtual learning environments serves as the basis for... Sample PDF
The Recursive Knowledge Development Model for Virtual Environments
Chapter 3
Timothy F. Duruz
The incredible array of collaborative communication tools that have been incorporated into modern day education rely primarily on the internet as a... Sample PDF
The Techno-Pedagogical Context of Distance Learning: Conceptual Roots
Chapter 4
Michelle O. Crosby-Nagy, John M. Carfora
This chapter examines applications of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for education, including multi-user virtual environments... Sample PDF
ICT Applications in U.S. Higher Education
Chapter 5
Nan B. Adams
The multiple intelligences theoretical framework developed by Gardner (1983) is employed to argue for the recognition of the emergence of a new... Sample PDF
Digital Intelligence: A New Way of Knowing
Chapter 6
Olga M. Alegre, Luis M. Villar
The model Faculty Electronic Professional Learning and Portfolio (FEPLP) is viewed as cyclic with six basic entry points: quality management of... Sample PDF
Faculty Professional Learning: An Examination of Online Development and Assessment Environments
Chapter 7
Craig A. Cunningham, Kimball Harrison
In this chapter, the authors discuss some of the possibilities of Second Life for education from both theoretical and practical standpoints. First... Sample PDF
The Affordances of Second Life for Education
Chapter 8
Antonio Santos
Due to the availability of platforms like Second Life, the use of Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVEs) for learning purposes is gaining in its... Sample PDF
Learning in Virtual Worlds: A Situated Perspective
Chapter 9
Thrasyvoulos Tsiatsos, Andreas Konstantinidis, Theodouli Terzidou, Lazaros Ioannidis, Chrysanthi Tseloudi
This chapter reviews and compares the most promising collaborative virtual environment platforms, which have been used or proposed for supporting... Sample PDF
CSCL Techniques in Collaborative Virtual Environments: The Case of Second Life
Chapter 10
Kosmas Dimitropoulos, Athanasios Manitsaris
This chapter aims to study the benefits that arise from the use of virtual reality technology and World Wide Web in the field of distance education... Sample PDF
Designing Web-Based Educational Virtual Reality Environments
Chapter 11
Stephen A. Schrum
Theatre as a discipline has long been thought of as traditional, organic, and non-technological. In performance, at least one actor performs in a... Sample PDF
Teaching in the Virtual Theatre Classroom
Chapter 12
Fabian Di Fiore, Peter Quax, Wim Lamotte, Frank Van Reeth
In the ASCIT project, several elements of Multi-user Virtual Environments were integrated into a demonstrator enabling long term sick children to... Sample PDF
Case Study of ASCIT: Fostering Communication through Interactive Technologies for Long Term Sick Children
Chapter 13
Russell Fewster, Denise Wood, Joff Chafer
Over a four-week period students enrolled in a second-year visual theatre course at the University of South Australia attempted to stage the online... Sample PDF
Staging Second Life in Real and Virtual Spaces
Chapter 14
Denise Wood
This chapter describes the benefits as well as the unanticipated challenges in engaging undergraduates in immersive experiences within the 3D... Sample PDF
The Benefits and Unanticipated Challenges in the Use of 3D Virtual Learning Environments in the Undergraduate Media Arts Curriculum
Chapter 15
Paul Sweeney, Cristina Palomeque, Dafne González, Chris Speck, Douglas W. Canfield, Suzanne Guerrero, Pete MacKichan
3D voice-enabled MUVEs are increasingly being used in education and in the area of language learning, and teaching is no exception. In this chapter... Sample PDF
Task Design for Language Learning in an Embodied Environment
Chapter 16
Julie M. Sykes
Various features of multiuser virtual environments (MUVEs) make them promising and, potentially transformational, contexts for the development of... Sample PDF
Multi-User Virtual Environments: User-Driven Design and Implementation for Language Learning
Chapter 17
Regina Kaplan-Rakowski
The chapter conveys the experiences of using the virtual world Second Life (SL) to supplement classroom-based instruction of an introductory foreign... Sample PDF
Foreign Language Instruction in a Virtual Environment: An examination of potential activities
Chapter 18
Jiuguang Feng, Liyan Song
Second Life (SL) is a multiuser virtual environment (MUVE) that can be used to enhance students’ learning. It is a virtual environment constructed... Sample PDF
Education-Oriented Research Activities Conducted in Second Life
Chapter 19
Charlynn Miller, Mark J. W. Lee, Luke Rogers, Grant Meredith, Blake Peck
This chapter focuses specifically on the use of three-dimensional multi-user virtual environments (3D MUVEs) for simulation-based teaching and... Sample PDF
Enhancing tertiary healthcare education through 3D MUVE-based simulations
Chapter 20
Manuela Núñez Redó, Arturo Quintana Torres, Ricardo Quirós, Inma Núñez Redó, Juan B. Carda Castelló, Emilio Camahort
In this Chapter, the authors will present an Augmented Reality (AR) system for teaching Inorganic Chemistry to university-level students. Augmented... Sample PDF
New Augmented Reality Applications: Inorganic Chemistry Education
Chapter 21
Alcínia Zita Sampaio, Pedro Gameiro Henriques, Carlos Oliveira Cruz, Octávio Peres Martins
Concerning the educational task, a school of engineering can be reasonably expected to constantly update computational resources which are in... Sample PDF
Interactive Models Based on Virtual Reality Technology Used in Civil Engineering Education
Chapter 22
Michael N. DeMers
Worldwide, educators are experimenting with the myriad possibilities that Second Life and other multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) provide for... Sample PDF
Subject Matter Content Creation for Second Life Delivery: Teaching GIS in Second Life
Chapter 23
David R. Dannenberg
While the educational use of Second Life by the academic community is well established, the number of corporate training and development programs... Sample PDF
New Life for Corporate Training
Chapter 24
Nick V. Flor
Multi-user virtual environment (MUVE) researchers need to create their own virtual worlds and to stop waiting for industry to create innovations.... Sample PDF
Self-Developing a MUVE for Research and Educational Innovations
Chapter 25
Ugo Barchetti, Alberto Bucciero, Luca Mainetti
This chapter describes the technological platform of the authors’ learning experiences and its evolution through the years, providing insights into... Sample PDF
Collaborative Learning through Flexible Web CVE: The Experience of WebTalk
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