Language learners are motivated to learn when they understand a given context and are able to relate to the authenticity of situation. Many of these activities are traditionally achieved through role-playing. In Second Life (SL), people from different corners of the globe can participate in live synchronous communication in a shared virtual space through their virtual representations or ‘avatars’. One advantage of SL for such role-play is that the focus is on the avatar not directly on the language learner. This paper reports the results from a pilot study conducted at a New Zealand polytechnic on the perceptions of English language learners using the mutli-user virtual environment of Second Life to complement their learning.
Keywords: Second Life, computer-assisted language learning, ELT, role-plays, synchronous communication, collaborative learning, CMC, CSCL, virtual communities, autonomous learning
I have a keen interest in using multi-user virtual environments in teaching and learning languages, and am currently undertaking research in the field, as part of my Graduate Diploma in IT. I’m a committee member of the Virtual Life Education in NZ association (VLENZ) and am currently involved in the Koru Development Project. I’m also a member of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (Ascilite).
My current research includes language teaching and learning in multi-user virtual worlds – especially the mutually beneficial authentic oral language exchange between complementary L1 & L2 learners.
About me – http://about.me/kiwibelma