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ERIC Number: EJ926842
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1059-9053
Avatars Go to Class: A Virtual Environment Soil Science Activity
Mamo, M.; Namuth-Covert, D.; Guru, A.; Nugent, G.; Phillips, L.; Sandall, L.; Kettler, T.; McCallister, D.
Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, v40 p114-121 2011
Web 2.0 technology is expanding rapidly from social and gaming uses into the educational applications. Specifically, the multi-user virtual environment (MUVE), such as SecondLife, allows educators to fill the gap of first-hand experience by creating simulated realistic evolving problems/games. In a pilot study, a team of educators at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and eXtension created a soil and water environmental case study using SecondLife in eXtension's Morrill2 Island for testing and use by students in an introductory soil science course (n = 126). In this pilot test with a class period of 110 minutes, approximately half of the students (n = 64) were first given an orientation on how to navigate in SecondLife before beginning the soil and water pollution activity. Another group of students (n = 62) formed a control group and completed the same activity using a traditional paper and pencil method and using supporting data presented in table or graphics format. A pre-activity survey suggested that about 33% of all students had some level of experience with virtual environments and/or playing computer/video games. Results from a randomized experiment showed that the average post-test score for the control group was 8.38 (out of a possible 12 points), which was significantly higher than the 7.34 for the SecondLife group. Post-activity student survey results suggested that students prefer to have educationally designed virtual interactive objects such as simulation activities and experiments, characters with whom to interact and gain information, and overall more action and gaming features to benefit their educational experience. While SecondLife and other simulation software packages have potential for educational use, in order to improve learning, the design of the activity within the technology must be pedagogically sound and also create tasks that capture and engage the learner. (Contains 6 tables and 2 figures.)
American Society of Agronomy. 677 South Segoe Road, Madison, WI 53711. Tel: 608-273-8080; Fax: 608-273-2021; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A