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The role of teacher, student and ICT in enhancing student engagement in multiuser virtual environments

by Natasha Anne Rappa, Daniel Kok, Hoong Yip, Shi Chen Baey
British Journal of Educational Technology


This paper reviews the teaching and learning practices and processes that were adopted in a study that incorporated multi-user virtual environments to support General Paper teaching and learning. The paper discusses the roles of the teacher, student and ICT in facilitating engaged learning. As this project is the first of its kind for the subject in Singapore, the paper seeks to highlight strategies that were adopted or could have been adopted to facilitate the enactment of such teacher and student roles as well as ensure effective deployment of ICT to support engaged learning. Introduction Traditionally, teachers have adopted role play and group discussions to address General Paper issues. Such issues cover a broad spectrum of disciplines, and students are expected to demonstrate a broad and mature understanding of these disciplines through their capacity to analyse and evaluate relevant issues, explore their interrelationship, and provide informed personal responses, backed by sound arguments, which demonstrate an appreciation of the implications for the individual and society (SEAB, 2007). With multiuser virtual environments (MUVEs) gaining popularity among the young, educators have sought to harness the power and potential of such technologies to engage their learners. However, incorporating role play within the context of a 3D virtual world and employing an online discussion board present a different set of challenges. This paper highlights some important considerations when adapting MUVEs, such as SecondLife (SL), and an online discussion board to support General Paper teach-ing and learning. In particular, it analyses and evaluates the success of the project implementation in terms of an engaged learning framework highlighting the relationship between the roles of teacher, pupils and ICT. Research setting SecondLife, developed by Linden Lab USA, is a 3D virtual world that can be used for role playing. For this study, a virtual private island residing in the domain exclusively for under-18 users was acquired and customised by the

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