Author Topic: Learning Objectives in Second Life Tasks  (Read 2565 times)

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Offline Qishu Liu

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Learning Objectives in Second Life Tasks
« on: February 20, 2010, 07:10:54 PM »
As an Asian student who always crams for literal knowledge in most courses, I find CMC's teaching content interesting and entertaining; However, as a graduate student who deems learning outcome as part of learning objectives, sometimes I am in bewilderment with questions like  ???“Was there anything contributing to my teaching career while I was addictive to decorating and having fun with my cutie avatar?”  Assessing students’ performance and teaching content is a headache for language teachers. This is even more daunting if learning objective is not salient when teachers assign Second Life tasks to students.

A successful Second life task requires well planning from teachers. After having a second look at my favorite activities in class, such as “team building” “Scavenger hunt”, I realize they are typical TBLT tasks that require students to interact, negotiate and make team decisions in natural communication mode. According to Ellis(2003), TBLT focus on communication, emphasis on meaning, resemble actual language use and presuppose a cognitive challenge in completing a task.

Besides identifying a clear objective for a task, there are many trivial factors to consider in executive stage, such as how to allocate team members, time period for each step and balance task difficulty and students’ virtual mastery level. Follow-up activities can be presented to help students become a self-reliant learners who gain awareness of their learning process. For example, we can ask students to summarize their actions and write down instruction note card or reflection report on what they've learner at the end of the task.

Admittedly, teaching with Second Life is questioned largely due to time and money investment before throwing a language task to students. Some also hold a conservative opinion whether this nontraditional educational tool really works and plays magic on students who might be tempted and entangled into the unreal world. Given proper instruction, I can see the possible benefits for language learners, since every corner on earth is intertwined with a cable. ;D
« Last Edit: February 20, 2010, 07:14:44 PM by Qishu Liu »
whatever will be, will be
Department of Linguistics
University of Illinois

Offline Jaskayahaira

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Re: Learning Objectives in Second Life Tasks
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2010, 08:52:40 AM »
Hi Quishu,

I like your reflection about learning objectives in Second Life Tasks. I agreed that is very important develop meaningful task to help students be focus. I think that for students that love the computer games Second Life is an excellent tool for teaching. I also consider very important the pre-activities and follow -up activities. This help the student to return to the teacher objective, if he get distracted while he was building.  ;)
« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 08:55:23 AM by Jaskayahaira »
Jaskayahaira Arroyo Pérez
Spanish Department

Offline Janire

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Re: Learning Objectives in Second Life Tasks
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2010, 10:54:42 AM »

When I realized that this class was about Second Life, a lot of doubts about how to apply this in my teaching came to my mind. But now, I can perfectly see the application and the usefulness for ESL learners. The only disadvantage is that students have to get used to the technological skills they need to work with Second Life. But once they have been trained, they can work in task based activities, group activities, Scavenger Hunts and building. Therefore, in my opinion there are plenty advantages in using Second Life in learning and it is also very attractive and interesting for students.
Second year MA student from the Spanish Department.