Virtual Worlds to Enhance Student Engagement

By Janette Grenfell and Ian Warren.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Both the School of Education and the discipline of Criminology at Deakin University have been using the 3-dimensional virtual environment Second Life to deliver curriculum content and to engage students with each other and with teaching staff. The nature of this platform is facilitating more proactive student engagement with technology, including increased student competence in sharing artwork, problem solving and general discussion of complex criminological issues. In this paper, we provide some examples of how we are using Second Life in our curriculum offerings in Education and Criminology as a tool to promote greater engagement, particularly for students undertaking these courses by distance. We outline how the immersive nature of this platform can enhance the level of student interaction to produce a deeper form of engagement with our Unit material than is possible through conventional text and web-based document repositories.

Keywords: Virtual Worlds, Second Life, Engagement, Technology, Education, Criminology, Immersive Learning

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.25-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.630MB).

Janette Grenfell

Lecturer, School of Education, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Ms Janette Grenfell has contributed over 40 years of service in the field of Education at Deakin University. Jenny has pioneered the use of Second Life technologies in Education studies, with a particular emphasis on critical theoretical approaches in the use of virtual technologies for Arts-Education students. Jenny was instrumental in designing the Deakin University Arts-Education Island in Second Life, and uses this technology to promote new ways of thinking about artistic activity, reflexive teaching practice and student engagement in the education field.

Dr. Ian Warren

Lecturer in Criminology, School of History Heritage and Society, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Since 2006 Ian Warren has led the curriculum renewal of Deakin University’s criminology degree with a focus on interactive and multi-media learning. This work has led to an Australian Learning and Teaching Council citation for teaching excellence and innovation, which was awarded in 2009. Ian has ongoing research interests in complex interdisciplinary and comparative criminological problems, including drug trafficking, media regulation, violence prevention and the regulation of virtual world technologies, and is also involved in several research initiatives aimed at enhancing the student learning experience through the use of new educational technologies.


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