Photo Credit: Dean
This week we explored virtual worlds and what they have to offer in the classroom. After exploring different types of virtual worlds, I found myself questioning how I could use them in the classroom for instruction. Virtual worlds act like the real world…just.. virtual. People can interact through a virtual world and walk around like they would in their real life. Buildings, landscape, weather, and objects are also made to look real and change as they would in our world.
I found that in my subject area (business management) I could use virtual worlds for business interactions and discussion between consumers and business owners. It would serve as a tool to teach students how to communicate and run a business in the “real” world without the risks involved to actually start one on their own. I also started to think that it would be great practice for students to interview and conduct job searches. This idea would prepare students for questions involved during an interview and what employers would look for as they search for their first job.
By allowing students to participate in a virtual world, we are conducting lesson plans that make learning a meaningful experience. We are welcoming inquiry in the classroom through the exploration of content (Coffman, 2012). Students see things happening in real-time, which not only teaches them the content, but in-turn incorporates life lessons.
Virtual worlds are also a great way to bring field trips into the classroom. Many school systems are experiencing budget cuts and are trying to figure out where to take money from. After exploring virtual worlds, I found that bringing a virtual world into the classroom allows for field trips to be minimized. It introduces students to real subject data without ever having to leave the classroom. It delivers the same quality instruction without having to take time away and ultimately saves money for the school and the students involved.
Coffman. T. (2013). Using inquiry in the classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students. (2nd Ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education
Photo Credit: Retrieved on November 3rd, 2013 from http://www.he.k-state.edu/news/2008/12/12/barretts-class-meets-in-3d-virtual-world/.