Second Life for Virtual Communities in Education: Sharing Teaching Principles?
How do expert educators perceive their teaching practice and professional identity in the openness of immersive virtual environments? This paper summarises some findings of a study of teaching practitioners’ narratives from the UK about the use of virtual worlds or MUVEs (Multi-User Virtual Environments) in higher education and adult language learning classes in the UK. The main questions addressed are whether it is possible in environments such as SL to identify socio-constructivist principles of education practice (in general and more specifically with regards to second language teaching) and whether there are grounds for critical teaching and «reflective practice» (Edge, 2011, Guichon, 2009) in virtual worlds used for higher education that have either been specifically designed for teaching or not. Within the theoretical framework of socio-constructivism and critical multimedia literacy, the data will be commented focusing on how the communities of practice are presented and how the process of teaching and learning is perceived. The analysis is qualitative and aims at revealing the positioning of expert practitioners vis-à-vis educational strategies implemented and advantages or disadvantages of using immersive virtual environments to achieve learning goals.
Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society