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Using Second Life to Teach Spatial Theory in Archaeology Palitha Edirisingha*, Ming Nie*, Mark Pluciennik~, Matthew Wheeler* and Ruth Young~ *Beyond Distance.

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Presentation on theme: "Using Second Life to Teach Spatial Theory in Archaeology Palitha Edirisingha*, Ming Nie*, Mark Pluciennik~, Matthew Wheeler* and Ruth Young~ *Beyond Distance."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Second Life to Teach Spatial Theory in Archaeology Palitha Edirisingha*, Ming Nie*, Mark Pluciennik~, Matthew Wheeler* and Ruth Young~ *Beyond Distance Research Alliance, University of Leicester ~ Distance Learning Unit, School of Archaeology & Ancient History, University of Leicester

2 University of Leicester Beyond Distance Alliance An alliance of academics interested in innovation and the development of new technologies in learning, particularly Distance education School of Archaeology and Ancient History Two members of academic staff – the Director of Distance Learning and a DL lecturer External Collaboration TwoFour Two members of staff at TwoFour, Plymouth gave some technical assistance

3 MOOSE project Moose – modelling second life environments One year research and development project initiated and organised by the Beyond Distance Alliance Aim: to investigate the tools and processes needed for students to establish socialisation and engagement to enhance learning through the medium of on-line 3-D multi user virtual environments

4 Five stages to the project Designing and developing learning activities in SL Training students and lecturers in SL Training lecturers in SL moderation activities Carrying out SL sessions Researching student and staff engagement in SL and their perception of the learning outcomes

5 Archaeology & Distance Learning at Leicester ml ml MA in Archaeology & Heritage MA in Historical Archaeology Certificate in Archaeology (Level 1) Diploma in Archaeology (Level 2)

6 Archaeological Theory module by DL

7 Distance education and socialisation Research carried out using various technological media in distance education to reduce feelings of isolation and provide opportunities for collaborative learning, e.g. Smith and Stacey 2003 Research into the use of 3-D synchronous environments suggests that virtual worlds offer participants a sense of presence, immediacy, movement, artefacts, and communication unavailable within traditional internet-based learning environments Bronack (2006)

8 Second Life Second Life ® is a 3-D virtual world created by its Residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by millions of Residents from around the globe. From the moment you enter the World you'll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. Once you've explored a bit, perhaps you'll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business.the World You'll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow Residents. Because Residents retain intellectual property rights in their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other Residents.the Creations The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions. This commerce is handled with the inworld unit of trade, the Linden dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online Linden dollar exchanges. The Marketplace

9 Second Life Second life is free Internet connection – standard broadband, ISDN Computer – good graphics card and processor – not necessarily top end, but a couple of years old or newer Software – download from web site Hardware – nothing special, headset or microcphone/speakers if want to use audio

10 Training Students and Lecturers in SL All trained by Matthew Wheeler Student training took place entirely inworld as a group at a distance After two one hour training sessions student competent Lecturer training took place face to face

11 Saami tents – figures in the DL module reader (Yates 1989)

12 Kalasha people of Hindu Kush

13 Saami tent in SL

14 Summary of sessions Learning activities designed for SL Activity and location A brief description of the activity and its objectives Archaeology Activity 1: 22 nd May (15:00 – 16:00) Seminar Dome 2 - Media Zoo Island This first session is to introduce you to the concept of Social Space and will take place in the Seminar Dome 2. The session will be facilitated by Dr Mark Pluciennik (Zbygniew Alter) and will give you an insight into the importance of space. Archaeology Activity 2: 2 nd June (15:00 – 16:00) Sami Tent – Media Zoo Island The second session is focussed on the Saami Tent concept, again facilitated by Dr Mark Pluciennik (Zbygniew Alter). An explanation of the Saami Tent and a discussion on the implications of social space will be on offer, as well as this being your first experience of immersion in a Virtual World as the permissions of the Sami Tent are applied in practice! Archaeology Activity 3: 5 th June (15:00 – 16:00) Kalasha Village – Media Zoo Island The third session will look at the use of social space on a different scale as Dr Ruth Young (Ruth2008 Seid) introduces you to the structuring of Kalasha society and economy and then takes you on a guided tour of a Kalasha Village replicated on the Media Zoo Island. Archaeology Activity 4: 12 th June (15:00 – 16:00) Kalasha Valley – Media Zoo Island The final session is another immersion experience, this time based on gender. As you explore the Kalasha Village and Valley you will be asked to reflect on your experiences and how these social spaces related to your real-life experiences.

15 Introduction to Kalasha PowerPoint in SL

16 Kalasha village and valley in SL the menstruation and child birth house

17 Example of Chat-log – learning and socialisation Chat-log 3 [7:42] You: Well, I feel like a prune standing up here [7:42] Aixia Castaignede: It's less anonymous [7:42] Eowyn Atlass: ha ha [7:42] Aixia Castaignede: Sit down! [7:42] Dracena McIntyre: :) [7:42] You: I'm not sure I know how to yet! It might be embarrassing! [7:43] Eowyn Atlass: We won't laugh. :) [7:43] Aixia Castaignede: Right-click on sit [7:43] You: Thanks - that's helpful. But I might fly instead... [7:43] Aixia Castaignede: That would give you a different impression of space!

18 Student feedback and socialisation It was perfect....I dont know where to start really. First of all it was good to meet others. Often you learn alone, usually at home, reading the text and thinking about things, on your own. It was good to see others who are doing the same. To meet somebody - meeting … was good. Also - meeting the lecturer. I feel that they are not distant anymore (Dracaena). I felt like part of the group more than when I was studying from home. Even though it was virtual, I felt like I was participating in a class (Eowyn).

19 Example of chat-log – discussion of spatial issues [7:10] Eowyn Atlass: I think it's socially structured, but maybe all three? It's neutral as far as gender goes I think. [7:10] Eowyn Atlass: It's virtual so it's a little confusing [7:10] You: Gender is an interesting one, as it is very easy to be transgender or opposite gender to real life, as we shall see next week [7:11] You: Can we think about how far SL conforms to these kinds of approaches in turn? [7:11] You: As far as I can experience it, SL uses Cartesian co-ordinates, so in that sense it tries to mimic the real world rather than do anything more creative [7:12] Aixia Castaignede: But the same time it's three-dimensional, measurable and quantifiable. [7:12] You: Do you think it would be possible to build a Third Life which used space in a different way (like Star Trek...? [7:13] Eowyn Atlass: Except everyone here seems to be equal and in the real world that's not so [7:13] You: Equal in which way? Some spend money of things, others build and 'own' structures and can put permissions in, for example [7:14] Eowyn Atlass: Men and women are equal in that they can both go everywhere and do everything equally [7:14] You: But I don't think that's the case - as we shall see next week: it depends on what the 'owner' does when s/he builds it [7:14] Eowyn Atlass: Well, that's true :)

20 Student feedback and engagement with topic … [I gained a] better understanding because of the things we did in the village and the tent… both the teaching and the exploration… in the field. You think you understand when you read about those. But when you go in there [Second Life] it reinforces what you have learned, how they lived, and how you can and cannot go into some of the places. Reinforcing the concepts that are learned (Eowyn).

21 Conclusions SL and the learning activities provided these students with the chance to socialise SL is an immersive environment which allowed students to be part of exploratory learning experiences Students were very positive about the SL sessions, both for socialising and for enhancing understanding Issues such as avatar communication and text- chat; co-ordination; sample size

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