RE: Formal Academic Research in SL

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RE: Formal Academic Research in SL

Jane Woods
Hi Bonnie,
My name is Jane Woods, I teach primary ICT in ITT. I am new to this list but I too have found it to be a source of valuable information so far. Since many of my colleagues (and a few of my students) think I am a bit 'strange' to be so interested in virtual worlds I find it very reassuring to find that I am not alone in my fascination. In fact there are lots of us out there!  I am just beginning a study into how SL can be used to to support an Induction and Mentoring programme for a group of PGCE students at Manchester Metropolitan University. I am meeting with them in SL during the summer to give them the opportunity to meet each other and find out more about our course before they officially start with us in September. If this is successful (we have only had one meeting so far) I am hoping that they will wish to continue meeting during the course and especially when they are out on their School based training to prevent feelings of isolation and provide peer support. 
I will be very interested to read your work if you would care to share it. I will also be very interested in any reading that you could recommend.
Kind Regards
Jane (Jaen Sommer)

Subject: RE: [SLED] Formal Academic Research in SL
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 14:48:26 +0100
From: [hidden email]
To: [hidden email]

Hi John,
Congrats on getting the PhD!!
I've just finished an MSc in Technology and Learning at Trinity Collge, Dublin. I've been a 'lurker' on this list for nearly a year now, and thought this a great opportunity to introduce myself and share my research topic. (Now that I have the time to do something OTHER than research!) This list has been a great resource for me this year. Thank you to all members for your knowledge, and willingness to share it!
I'm an Ed Tech tutor in the Education Department at the National University of Ireland, Galway. I work with students studying to be secondary school teachers. For my dissertation, I investigated the use of Second Life to build an online peer-support community for these pre-service teachers.
Here's the abstract:

Learning to teach has been described as one of the most complex activities anyone can undertake (Schifter, 2005) Pre-service teachers today are faced with daunting challenges that can leave them feeling isolated and alone. This study investigates the use of the multi-user virtual environment (MUVE) Second Life as a means of creating an online support system for a group of pre-service teachers completing the one year Post Graduate Diploma in Education course at the National University of Ireland, Galway.  An investigation of the relevant literature covers both synchronous and asynchronous uses of CMC to foster a sense of community in pre-service teachers, different types of online learning communities, the role of social presence in a community of inquiry and best practices for the use of Second Life in education. The single case study used a multimethod approach based on the practices and assumptions of qualitative inquiry. Data was collected for analysis from several sources, including chat transcripts, student journals, questionnaires and structured interviews. Findings show that the MUVE Second Life can be used as a vehicle for peer support for pre-service teachers if the technical issues associated with accessing the virtual world are overcome.

I'd be happy to share resources with anyone. The document is not on the web as of yet, but I can email the PDF if anyone is interested.
Catraoine Flanagan (SL)
Bonnie Long
Education Department
NUI Galway

Message: 2
Date: Sun, 20 Jul 2008 15:35:50 -0500
From: "John Jamison" <[hidden email]>
Subject: [SLED] Formal Academic Research in SL
To: [hidden email]
        <[hidden email]>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Hello everyone,

I've seen a few more postings from individuals who were doing formal
research in SL as a part of an academic degree: Masters level and PhD. I'm
curious just how many others are doing so...or at least are wanting to do
so?  I've just received my PhD after doing an extended mixed-methods
research study in SL, and though the school had some initial reservations
about Second Life, my committee stepped-up and really helped me get the
topic approved. I learned a lot in the process, and would be happy to talk
with others who might be trying to accomplish the same thing. Feel free to
contact me off-list.

Best of luck to everyone determined to keep moving the virtual worlds


John Jamison, PhD.
[hidden email]
Skype: virtualbacon

Second Life
"Virtual Bacon"
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