27 June 2007

SL-Labs at University of Derby

Successful Teaching Bid!

Great news! Our project 'Blended Learning Revisited: An Exploration of Undergraduate Experiential Learning in 3D Virtual Environments.' was successful in a bid to EducationUK’s Free Space Programme. We have been awarded a plot of virtual land and expert support for a year along with use of all the educational facilities on the island. The project will take a group of Derby Psychology students into the virtual world to enhance our existing e-learning module teaching. We are joined by several of our neighbour Universities so the collaborative atmosphere will be electric.

SL-Labs – University of Derby Virtual Teaching Space

The Derby Uni project is as much about developing new and innovative teaching methods as it is about immersing our students in the module content. Milton is supervising the build of a teaching and research facility on EducationUK Island that will serve as a hub for the students. Second Life will be offered as a supplementary component of the course and ideas and methods will be developed and refined over six in-world 50 minute sessions with small groups of students. These sessions will each be themed to focus on specific aspects of the module content.

This project will offer participating students a blend of enhanced educational student-led group sessions for learning alongside conventional e-learning material. Traditional text-based content will be blended with innovative student-focused methods, the result being a shift from isolated study and tutor-led instruction towards student-led socially interactive group learning. Students will be, overall, responsible for the final teaching methods used, whilst guidance will be provided by a facilitator in the form of materials and direction for group discussion and activities.

SLABS - Experiential Learning

The teaching will utilise a new learning concept 'SLABS' put together by Milton. This concept draws on a variety of teaching influences; from the ancient Greeks through to sound 21st century pedagogical research, 3D Gaming through to the innovative and experimental methods of the emerging 3D web and virtual worlds. One of several virtual 'slabs' of land suspended in the sky above the teaching labs forms the base from where student build-up their knowledge of module material and engage with interactive content and discuss the material in 3D real time. The teaching space is stripped back to the minimum needed so that all that is left are the essential components required for learning. So far in piloting these new methods students have responded well to the lack of distraction and direct engagement with the material. Oh, and of course it’s very fun! More on the project to follow.

If you have Second Life installed on this computer why not visit us by clicking here.


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