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DIGITAL LITERACIES IN MULTI USER VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS AMONG COLLEGE LEVEL DEVELOPMENT READERS

M. Burgess

Sam Houston State University/Region VI Education Service Center (UNITED STATES)
Assuming “digital nativeness,” among developmental reading students is dangerous territory for instructors desiring to integrate digital technologies into their curriculum. Parallel to assessing reading skills, instructors would be well-informed to also concurrently and authentically assess students’ digital literacies. In this study, one digital technology, multi user virtual environments (MUVEs), provided a platform that allowed students to engage in learning opportunities congruent with digital literacy. Determined in this study were: (a) the digital literacy skills of developmental readers; (b) the differences in digital literacies between developmental reading students who used a MUVE and those who did not; and (c) the behaviors exhibited by students indicating their degree of digital nativeness. Participants were 80 students enrolled in two sections of developmental reading - 38 participants comprised the control group, and 42 students comprised the experimental group. Participants demonstrated digital literacy through reading activities and observations in the MUVE, Second Life, and further made higher reading achievement gains over the control group.