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Virtual Worlds are massively multiplayer games where each user is represented by his avatar in the virtual world. One of the most popular game of this genre is probably Second Life which has millions of people that already joined the game. VAcadamia, Atlantis, Croquet as well as many other Virtual Worlds exist. All these just show how much the information technology trend has increased throughout our lives.
Let us now go to the main topic: How can education profit and make use of virtual worlds? Could these be a new way to learning? Are they even safe? I am sure that virtual worlds if implemented correctly could be used in education for many subjects, if not all and still be able to provide an efficient way of learning. For instance, the research paper An Exploration of the Use of Games in Virtual Worlds for Online Education mentions various educations benefits of Virtual World games such as:
These bring us to the question of how can then these types of games be actually implemented correctly in educational institutions. The author of the above paper gives a really practical example of this. Imagine a psychology student who is learning to become a therapist then he could gain some experience in a role playing game. I also found this lesson plan innovative which is worth checking out. Finally, even Virtual Worlds in the Classroom is very informative as it mentions various Virtual Worlds with suggestions on which Grade/Form would profit most of each particular game and even the skills developed by playing those games.
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Christopher Felix Bezzina
Higher Education in the Digital Age
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