Issues and Concerns of K-12 Educators on 3-D Multi-User Virtual Environments in Formal Classroom Settings

Issues and Concerns of K-12 Educators on 3-D Multi-User Virtual Environments in Formal Classroom Settings

Greg Jones (University of North Texas, USA) and Scott J. Warren (University of North Texas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jgcms.2011010101
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Abstract

This study is a naturalistic inquiry conducted between 2007 and 2009 that presents emergent themes from interviews with fourteen K-12 educators and administrators regarding their issues and concerns about implementing 3-D multi-user virtual environments in formal K-12 classrooms. The major issues and concerns emerging from interviews included instructional effectiveness, security, bandwidth, and technology. The majority of the participants at the end of the study could not overcome one or more of these issues or concerns to use virtual environments in their classrooms.
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Muves, Learning, And Educational Technology

MUVEs today can be classified into two broad categories: Direct Instruction MUVEs and Social Constructivist MUVEs. As will be discussed, each type has inherent design approaches that impact how it would be used in a classroom or curriculum. It is important to note that nearly all participants in this research were involved or examining what we have defined as social constructivist environments or attempting to use social-based systems to attempt to deliver direct instruction. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, MUVEs that were designed to deliver direct instruction were not common, though some like River City, Quest Atlantis, and the Genome Project in Second Life were introduced to small populations for pilot research.

The inclusion of innovative technologies in schools has long been a challenge in educational spaces with Cuban (1988) noting troubles with teachers having high access to computers and other forms of instruction technology ranging from the 1980s through the early part of the 2000s (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001). During this time, a debate simmered between those that believed that media would never influence learning (Clark, 1983, 1994) and those that believed it has the capacity to transform it (Kozma, 1991, 1994).

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