Ma, Minhua, Oikonomou, A and Zheng, H (2009) Second Life as a Learning and Teaching Environment for Digital Games Education. In: Proceedings of the 12th Annual International Workshop on Presence (PRESENCE 2009). International Society for Presence Research, Los Angeles. ISBN 9780979221736

Previous studies show that online virtual worlds can contribute to the social aspects of distance learning, improve student engagement, and enhance students’ experience as a whole [4]; [3]. This paper reviews previous research of using online virtual worlds in teaching and learning,
compares Second Life with traditional classroom sessions and the Blackboard, and discusses the benefits and problems of using virtual environments in the post-sixteen education
and how they affect students’ learning. It also reports a study of using Second Life as an educational environment for teaching games design at undergraduate level, and investigates the impacts and implications of online virtual
environments on learning and teaching processes and their application to digital games education. The sample was 27 first year students of the Computer Games Modelling and Animation course. Students’ views on using Second Life for
learning and teaching were collected through a feedback questionnaire. The results suggest that virtual learning environments like Second Life can be exploited as a motivational learning tool. However, problems such as identify issues and lacking of role markers may change student behaviour in virtual classroom. We discuss this
phenomenon and suggest ways to avoid it in the preparation stage.

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