Exploring the past through the future: a case study of Second Life for archaeology education.
conference contributionposted on 22.04.2009, 15:20 by Ming Nie
This article introduces a pilot study of integrating Second Life (http://secondlife.com) – an online Multi User Virtual Environment (3-D MUVE) into a distance learning course in Archaeology. The research is conducted at University of Leicester, UK within a JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) funded research project called MOOSE (MOdelling Of Secondlife Environment). (www.le.ac.uk/beyonddistance/moose/ ) The Horizon Report forecasts that 3-D MUVEs become ‘closer to mainstream education year by year’ (ECUCASE, 2007, p.25). Through socializing and interacting with other people via avatars, the 3-D virtual worlds offer great pedagogical potential in supporting distance learning, game-based learning, simulation, learner participation and engagement, and reflective practice (Boulos et al, 2007). In this pilot study we designed, developed and piloted activities in SL. We focus especially on the socialization opportunities enabled by SL for distance learners, which is considered a very important aspect for achieving successful learning in online environments (Salmon, 2004). This article first introduces the teaching and learning challenges faced by this distance learning course in Archaeology and how SL can be used in a more productive way to enhance student learning. It then describes the development of artefacts and the teaching and training activities that have taken place in SL. A discussion of the initial findings, particularly with regard to the socialization opportunities enabled by SL for distance learners is included.