Perspectives On Personal Learning Theory
To best engage students, learning should be a collaborative experience, where ideas are shared, debated, and possible new perspectives formed. Online experiences must include meaningful exchanges, where clear goals and expectations of outcomes are shared. Reflections should be public. Blended approaches offer advantages, using both asynchronous and synchronous tools to build a continuing dialogue of conversation promotes active learning within the virtual world. This type of exchange can be just as effective as a face to face interaction, as long as the energy of the instructor and students continue through meaningful dialogue and conversation. In my opinion, learning is most effective when students are able to take information from a virtual environment and apply information to their physical or real world. Reflections capturing this activity and sharing the outcome to the online community via social media allows for a deeper and rich learning experience.
Interested in learning more about second life? As with any resource, it is important to investigate worlds within second life. Many locations within second life are very interactive, providing students with a simulated and collaborative experience. However, many locations lack interactive components mentioned above. The following resources are useful to instructors interested in introducing secondary students.
- http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Second_Life_Education/Resources : This link provides a sound list of tools to help educators integrate SL into existing programs. Museum links, an education forum, and STEM resources are provided.
- http://secondlife.com/destinations/howto/creator : Resources located are geared to audience interested in creating within SL. Good resource to explore interactive elements available within SL.
- http://learntech.ties.k12.mn.us/SLVW.html : A nice list of virtual worlds can be located here.
Second life has been around for over a decade and results from research provided in this world continue to stress the importance of collaboration within a virtual experience. However, users often find themselves lost within the environment and users often choose not to explore within the environment.
Will second life continue to be an important virtual space within the education community? Some believe that second life will be revived and given a second chance. I found perspectives on the future of second life interesting.
Further research in how to best provide choices to students regarding TBLE input and output along with the frequency of interactive components is needed. In addition, instruments measuring assessment of the virtual post secondary environment from a student perspective is lacking within the academic community. Qualitative approaches to include experimental case study approaches could assist in providing valuable insight on student perspectives regarding the effectiveness of an online learning environment.