About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4564-4573
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain

EDUCATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE USE OF VIRTUAL WORLDS IN SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING

P. Garrido Iñigo

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Facultad de Ciencias del Turismo (SPAIN)
This paper presents the experience gained with third-year Tourism students learning French as a Foreign Language, through the use of OpenSim. The teaching prototype, which is part of the Abant Project (Analysis of avatar behaviour based on knowledge integration, Ministry of Science and Innovation), aims to reinforce the French vocabulary and syntactic structures typically found in airport-related conversations (B1 level).

By using a constructivist (Williams and Burden: 1999)-communicative (Brumfit and Johnson: 1971) pedagogical approach, an attempt has been made to use OpenSim in classroom teaching with groups of 12 students.
Within this context, the teaching strategies used for individual and collaborative learning are as follows:
1. Learning stage: a control island, where students learn the basic tools to know how to move and interact with objects, and an observation island, which recreates an airport that includes the texts and audios of prototypical conversations about which they will be asked later on.
2. Reading and oral comprehension stages: this is an individual-test island, in the shape of a classroom, where students must undergo a series of tests in the form of multiple-choice dialogue windows.
3. Written production stage: this is a group-test island. The system joins students in a random fashion, and they are expected to complete texts related to the observation island.
4. Evaluation and reward stages: as all the tests entail a score, the student perceives them as a game in which there is a winner. On this island, teacher and students analyse written
On top of this the advantages of using virtual worlds will be addressed, their great asset being the students’ projection of themselves in an avatar and their own self-perception. Also to be pointed out are their innovative format, and the fact that they prompt dynamic, object interaction in a controlled world; the possibility of creating environments for studying specialised languages and the participation of students from other universities, and so on. Nevertheless, its many disadvantages will also be mentioned, from technical issues to didactic aspects (the student may perceive the world primarily as a social network and consider the platform as a source of entertainment).

The paper will conclude with an analysis of the collected data and of student surveys, the latter including questions like: “Would you like to use OpenSim in class more often?”, “Do you think you learn with it?”, etc. In fact, 84 out of the 108 students who participated in the experiment with the prototype showed serious doubts about its usefulness. It is also revealing how none of them consider the possibility of using this virtual world as a form of e-learning, while they are all aware of the pressing need to use the platform as a teaching tool intended for class support.

All in all, the experience has undoubtedly been very enriching both for the students and for myself. Nonetheless, it must be insisted on the fact that the use of OpenSim for teaching a foreign language requires countless efforts on the part of the teacher: it is not about using this platform, it is about making the most of this resource in a way that it can be reused. Virtual worlds are not the aim, but an instrument, and as such they require a deep knowledge of the system and organisational capabilities that reinforce situation and context. Only this way will the students be able to assimilate the contents they have been learning.
@InProceedings{GARRIDOINIGO2012EDU,
author = {Garrido I{\~n}igo, P.},
title = {EDUCATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE USE OF VIRTUAL WORLDS IN SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING},
series = {4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN12 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-695-3491-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {4564-4573}}
TY - CONF
AU - P. Garrido Iñigo
TI - EDUCATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE USE OF VIRTUAL WORLDS IN SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING
SN - 978-84-695-3491-5/2340-1117
PY - 2012
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2012
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN12 Proceedings
SP - 4564
EP - 4573
ER -
P. Garrido Iñigo (2012) EDUCATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE USE OF VIRTUAL WORLDS IN SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING, EDULEARN12 Proceedings, pp. 4564-4573.
User:
Pass: