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Language Teaching Gains Second Life - Virtual Worlds Offer New Methods to Teach Languages

Language Teaching Gains Second Life - Virtual Worlds Offer New Methods to Teach Languages

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Published by avatarlanguages
3D virtual worlds like Second Life are now being used by language teachers to provide simulation of real life environments and allow students to discover more creative and more realistic ways to improve their language skills.
3D virtual worlds like Second Life are now being used by language teachers to provide simulation of real life environments and allow students to discover more creative and more realistic ways to improve their language skills.

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Published by: avatarlanguages on Apr 18, 2008
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11/16/2012

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Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Language Teaching Gains Second Life: Virtual Worlds Offer New Methods to TeachLanguages
La Paz, Bolivia June 19, 2007 - - 3D virtual worlds like Second Life are now being used bylanguage teachers to provide simulation of real life environments and allow students to discover more creative and more realistic ways to improve their language skills.Language teaching is appearing in Second Life and the online language school “Avatar English”is taking an innovative approach by combining Second Life with voice messengers such asSkype and other online teaching tools. Language educators in Second Life are working together to develop and improve their teaching methods, and an example of this collaboration is theforthcoming SLanguages 2007 virtual conference.Language teaching in 3D virtual worlds is still at its early stages of development, yet it isgenerating interest from students, teachers and education consultants. Second Life with over 7million registered users and $1.7m of business done daily is rapidly becoming a parallel world for socializing, trading and, learning. The 3D online world is free to access and allows its virtualresidents (or avatars) to build their own creations, allowing for an imaginative virtual world."Second Life brings immersive, immediate and - more importantly - supportive, social and trulyconstructivist - potential to distance learning. Combined with a virtual learning environment suchas Moodle, this is the killer education application for the inventive teacher” says Gavin Dudeneyonline-education consultant of The Consultants-E (www.theconsultants-e.com) and co-author of How to Teach English with Technology, Longman, 2007.Second Life is especially suited to younger learners of foreign languages because they alreadysee the internet as a natural place to learn and play. Marc Prensky (author of Digital Game-Based Learning, McGraw Hill, 2001) refers to this generation as “Digital Natives” because theyhave grown up within a digital world.Second Life offers new approaches to language learning and initial feedback from students isvery positive. “At first I was so surprised by this virtual school in Second Life. It was a totally newexperience for me to learn English like this. Every class was a virtual experience, but at the sametime, you get a real improvement in your English” says Bo Jian, student at Avatar English.Teaching in Second Life is more than just the 3D experience. “Technology doesn’t replace theprofessionalism of an experienced and qualified native speaking teacher, it simply allows us to bemore creative” says Howard Vickers, Director of Avatar English.A growing movement of foreign language educators is exploring the potential of virtual worlds.The SLanguages 2007 symposium on 23 June 2007 will bring together language educators toshare experiences of teaching languages within Second Life and explore how best to use thevirtual world. “I'm confident that SLanguages 2007 will serve to explore the major issues for language education in Second Life, and guide educators towards best practice" says GavinDudeney, whose education consultancy company, The Consultants-E (www.theconsultants-e.com), is organizing the virtual conference.Although Second Life will introduce an internal voice chat soon, some language teachers havealready been using messengers such as Skype to fill this gap. “Languages are all about verbalcommunication” says Howard Vickers, “so we were very keen to make sure that the students aretalking and listening within our 3D virtual classrooms. To do this we use VOIP alongside SecondLife”. Tools like Skype have additional advantages by allowing the teacher and student tosimultaneously work together on the same document.

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