New Media Literacy in 3-D Virtual Learning Environments

New Media Literacy in 3-D Virtual Learning Environments

Yufeng Qian (Louisiana State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-120-9.ch016
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This chapter reviews the use of 3-D virtual learning environments in kindergarten through secondary education in the United States. This emerging new learning environment poses new challenges to learners and requires broader spectrum of media literacy skills. By examining exemplary 3-D virtual learning programs and current state of media literacy education, this chapter reconceptualizes media literacy as integrated learning skills required in the emerging learning environments and identifies new directions to media literacy education to better prepare students to be competent learners and citizens in the digital age.
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Exemplary 3-D Virtual World Learning Environments

To harness the power of 3-D virtual world technology and cater to the needs and preferences of digital natives, a number of learning organizations and educational foundations have begun to explore the use of this emerging learning environment in K-12 education. While still at an exploratory stage, there exist a few 3-D virtual world learning programs that have shown great potential in engaging learners (Barab, Arici, & Jackson, 2005), fostering deep learning and thinking (Ketelhut, Nelson, Dede, & Clarke, 2006), and developing life-long learning skills (Gee, 2003). Three of such programs that have been widely cited in the literature are Global Kids Second Life, Quest Atlantis, and River City.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Participatory Skills: Refers to the skills for working within social networks, for pooling knowledge within a collective intelligence, for negotiating differences and divergences within and across online communities, and making sense of a coherent picture from conflicting bits of data around them.

Inquiry Skills: Inquiry Refers to the desire of “I want to know” and the ability to question, analyze, and explore the many levels of meaning in the media-enriched and information-rich world.

Media Literacy Skills: Rooted in the print-based media and the one-way transmission mode, media literacy skills have been defined generally as the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages in a wide variety of forms.

Media Literacy Education: The focus of traditional media literacy education has centered on an individual’s critical analysis and creative expression of media messages in a variety of media formats.

Transmedia Literacy Skills: Refers to the ability of sense-making, communication, and articulation across multiple media channels and modalities that requires a high degree of information processing.

New Media Literacy Skills: The scope of media literacy skills required in the emerging 3-D virtual learning environment needs to expand to include technical (transmedia), thinking (inquiry), and social (participatory) skills.

3-D Online Learning Environments: Also known as 3-D virtual worlds. Represented by avatars, learners meet, socialize and interact with each other, computer-based agents, digital artifacts, and the environments in real time, just as they might in the real world.

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