What makes our 3D world a quality learning tool?
Despite all the good intentions, many ICT products in education have a low learning output. Teachers often struggle with the technical part, the programmes are not well integrated with the curriculum goals, and the students get distracted by the many possibilities.
Being a team of developers, game designers and educational specialists, we have taken the challenge of thinking learning outputs, pedagogies and teacher roles into every step of the tool. In this process, we have secured that our 3D world is more than a virtual world – it is a platform for intense learning. The following key features highlight this learning potential:
The 3D Learning tool aims to provide:
- Peer-to-peer learning
- Students’ motivation and engagement for learning
- Differentiated teaching: Progression in tasks are adapted to the needs of the student, making space for repetition for working on solution and tasks.
- Collaboration in between the schools in several countries, where the teacher with a specific competence is not needed to be present physically.
- Fantasy – virtual – reality- learning: This programme uses the students’ motivation and fantasy to invite them into a world where real world issues are being solved.
- A training of the teachers ensure that the 3D world is properly integrated with group work assignments and curriculum goals
- The 3D world opens up for endless ways of working together and solving tasks through computers, tablets or phones. This makes homework assignments interactive and fun since the world continues to exist after school.
- Co-operative learning by solving tasks with students from any country can help you learn languages in a much more natural way.
- Teachers can become mentors of the students personalised learning path, where video material and other online resources are defined as study material for a given task.
- Invite teachers from other schools in any country to talk about a subject they master.
- Virtual worlds can help the inclusion of students with social barriers for learning.
- A safe virtual learning room
Daring to let go of the control – use peer-to-peer, project work and independent learning
The 3D learning tool is built on a principle of making learning a participatory and inclusive process for all schoolchildren. In the virtual world the learning is framed by asking the students to solve problems in groups, and it is a requirement that they use the chat function. We believe that giving students the freedom to work in groups to solve problems is an intense and effective way of learning critical thinking, cooperation, flexibility.
Furthermore, project work gives the students the space to dig into a project and really understand the problems behind it. By using the chat function the students will also have to practice their writing skills while the teacher can monitor and evaluate the process without interfering directly.
For project pedagogy to work, it is important that teachers let go of control. Giving the teacher access to monitor the process on distance, it solves the problem of control; the teacher keeps the overview and the students keep their space for exploration.
Creating a safe learning environment
In order to make learning happen, it is important to keep this space safe. We handle this by introducing students to rules of net-etiquette as well as logging their chat.
We extended OpenSimulator with a shared region module called Adaptive Learning System (ALS), which helps us provide a teacher dashboard, to track student questions and progress. Teachers can see student movements on a map of the virtual world and easily get teleport coordinates to join in the virtual world or just answer student questions directly from the dashboard.
The ALS module automatically installs assets like a Heads Up Display (HUD) in the virtual world, that will help student to student learning. The teacher could also show their Dashboard with student questions on a SmartBoard or using a projector to allow students to help answer each others questions.