Course name: English Composition I: Achieving Expertise.
The task was to make a case study. Well I hope I got the idea.
As an adult educator one of my main task is to look around in the world, and check all possibilities to make people to learn. They do need information, non-formal or informal education. Since education for adults can be so different and wide, it is hard to choose or trust in one. Adult have their own knowledge, behaviour and thought about a thing. They think something and you have to try to open the mind. Sometimes it is easy because adults are open-minded, but there are lot of other kind of people who afraid of new things and thoughts. Once you have broken the negative wall and, the attitude, you can open to them a new world. The new world is very technical and thought. It is hard to follow and even hard to know everything about it. The digital world changing so quickly and suddenly, you can’t stop. Your knowledge about a thing can be so useless in a month. As Daniel Coyle said in the book: Talent Code, you have to practice at your edge of your ability. This is entirely true for the digital knowledge.
As an adult educator the virtual worlds possibilities are one of the most important side I like to look after. There are so many possibility in it, however there are limitations. I believe virtual world will not change real life, and real contacts, but it helps people move forward, making a decisions, find a group of people of your interest etc. This is kind of learning you can learn how to behave and act differently in different groups, environments, as well you can get scientific information. There is a freedom in virtual world: You are not really there. You are using an avatar, an image, you hide your personality behind a nickname. Your behaviour can be different and wild, we see lot examples about it, but mostly you are acting the same as you do in real life.
As a user of the internet I like easy stuff. I like if its complex, if you can reach everything in one place. No doubt that’s why Google apps so successful. I can check my mail, look up my tasks, calendar, files, they are integrated in one field. You don’t need to search for it. And because the application makes backup you barely lose your work.
I believe a good environment is complex, you can integrate loads of stuffs, and as well you can use them effectively.
I started to use Second Life for research and I’ll make deeper one later. As a new environmit was very strange for me as well.
What is the difference between a web 2.0 tool and SL activity? It is more like you are there, but you’re still not. Your avatar shown, your present your behaviour effects and changes the situation of the event. You are using text, voice, and you are represented with your avatar visually.
Many argument is about virtual environment is that it makes you introvert, you will be alone and you will burn all your contacts. What I have seen in this field I have to say it’s not true. Once I say something loads of other interesting stuff happens, once you just show up, loads of strangers greets you invites you to join to the speech. It’s totally up to you what will happen.
What you can make there? You can build you can communicate, you can learn from others. You can make different groups, make a commune. Once you enter in a territory you accepted the rules, basic netiquette and separate views.
Life is miserable, learning interesting things shows up every different place. While I’m writing on a small laptop at the moment my virtual identity is sleeping somewhere in a “bit-bedroom”. Life not stops, even if you want to while I’m here, there is a Tai Chi course next to me and probably something happening in SL too.
I already talked about sharing your interest. It helps if you can join a group of people, who will help and guide you. You can ask whatever you want and they are ready to help. Why are they doing this? They also got help when they started and one of the most effective way is to learn if you teach someone.
How can a computer based environment help you out of a struggle? How can you be healthier? Does it really makes what we want rom it?
Once you have a trouble you want to tell someone, to a friend, a wise people or a professional. What if I say you can tell your problem and someone even able to help you and you don’t need to go out from home? Behind the avatar you do not know who stands, there can be a young IT worker, a deaf man, an unemployed people a retired single woman, a well known professor of a university.
I participated three different program so far, where I recognised the real possibility in the virtual world.
The first program I found interesting called „live in a virtual environment” this course is a Hungarian one, introduced you into the field of SL. There was treasure hunt, you had to solve clues. You could learn how to build and structure. You could learn algebra, math and language. I’ve seen some example from it.
The second program I liked a was a Health care symposium. In this program was mainly a front oriented learning: presentations and not really interactive things, but they made the advantage of the virtual environment. First of all they used a presentation in the virtual world they used writing and voice in the same time. It was more than just a video conference or a Google hangout, you sat on a nice place, listened to the presentation, while you were able to look around and speak to others as well – without interrupting the presentation you could listen or read the presentation, I could read a background of the presenter, I can talk to strangers about the topic privately. Also you could ask questions anytime and it broke the behaviour of the frontal learning situation. I felt I was in a school, where a teacher telling a good topic and waited for its questions.
The topic “Health care” was the most interesting, how can a virtual program take care of your health?
First of all I have to say this environment does not helps if you don’t want. It’s like with other things in the world. They need you, your attention, your presence. So if a virtual environment shows you a possibility how to take care your health you can do two things: follow the guidance or listen to it but nothing will change. As I told you before an avatar, a nickname can help you be much more opened. Can you imagine? We can work with adolescents and young adults who suffer with drug and alcohol issues and mental health issues.
Taking care of your brain health also very important. As I can check second life can help with this as well. Use programs group events, memory based games, and science this virtual world drains you, needs your attention, your brain need to be active.
Virtual environment group cohesion are flexible and not so straight like the original world. You leave them and join them whenever you want. Also you are not always online.
Who is the real teacher? Who are the students? What methodology you have to choose? What are the limits?
Sometimes it comes and flows into you. Sometimes it stuck. I think Virtual environment can help you take care of your health, your brain, but it does not mean you have to online all the time, since it is not healthy. Get ideas, help from your life there. Participate group events help with others, this keeps your brain and social health up. Even your knowledge will be much more wide. You can’t really tell who is the teacher, who is the student, since everyone are learning and teaching at the same time in this powerful tool.