Play as Professional Development: Teaching, Learning and International Collaboration in Virtual Worlds and Games

Your Name and Title:
Kae Novak
Instructional Designer, Front Range Community College
Program Chair, Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference (VWBPE)

Co-Presenter Name(s):
Rurik Nackerud
Teacher, Oregon Virtual Academy
Communications Chair and K-12 Stream Lead, Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference (VWBPE)

Chris Luchs
Associate Dean, CCCOnline.org
Program Vice-Chair, Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference (VWBPE)

Area of the World from Which You Will Present:
United States – MST and PST

Language in Which You Will Present:
English

Target Audience(s):
Teachers all grade levels

Short Session Description (one line):
This session provides attendees with examples of the use of virtual worlds and games to facilitate global collaboration, cultural awareness and global professional development opportunities.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

Virtual worlds and games once thought of as merely recreation tools are becoming global learning environments not only for students but also for international collaboration and professional development for teachers. Many of the virtual worlds and games allow for play to be a form of learning as part of the global community and may also be the student’s first introduction to an environment where they participate as global citizens.

Over the last three years, the presenters have been designing collaborative 3D spaces that allow their students to play or interact in environments not possible in real life as well as facilitating collaboration with other students, educators and researchers from around the world. Some of these projects included an International Comics Scholars event, comparative cultures projects, Machinima events, Dia de los Muertos, and of course International Talk like a Pirate day.

The presenters have also been organizing events that allow teachers to participate in international professional development and find collaborators in these spaces. For example, during the 2011 Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference, almost 2,500 individual educators from 91 countries logged in as avatars into the virtual environment, Second Life. Additionally virtual field trips took place in Club Penguin, World of Warcraft and six other virtual worlds.

This session will focus on an overview of the global 3D immersive environments available, the presenters’ use of them for global collaboration and cultural awareness in their classes, and upcoming opportunities for teachers to find international collaborators and professional development opportunities. The presenters will be your guide on how to start exploring these worlds for you and your students.

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session:
Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education www.vwbpe.org
VWBPE proposals http://conf.vwbpe.org/
twitter @vwbpe
LinkedIn Group ‘Virtual World Best Practices in Education’
Machinima Working Group blog http://machinima4meremortals.wordpress.com
YouTube VWBPE Machinima Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/TheMachinimamania
twitter @machinimania

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