The Starling Project: Representations of Collaborative Learning Through the Development of an Education-Focused Client Viewer for Second Life

Project Number
OER 05/09 LYT

Project Duration
October 2009 - February 2012


The notion of user-contributed content is central to the socially-networked nature of Web 2.0. A well-known example of a Web 2.0 application is the wiki. A key characteristic of wikis is that they encourage frequent revisioning, roll-backs and reiteration of their respective evolving databases. In this way, wikis epitomize an emerging dialectic between learners and the 'learned'. Traditional web-based wikis are limited in the types of knowledge-representations they are best able to manage. Concommitant to the rise in the popularity and pervasiveness of Web 2.0 applications, has been a steadily increasing interest in the implications and potential applications of game-like environments to learning. It is our contention that in the context of New Media Literacies, notions of artifacts of learning may need to be critically challenged and re-evaluated. We believe that the idea of the learner as both producer and consumer of information, goods, and services is brought into sharper relief in the context of multi-user fictive environments - such as Warcraft and Second Life - because of the ease with which online socially-collaborative learning environments are extended into the third dimension. We therefore seek to make aspects of the semantic and social web a more integral part of the Second Life in-world experience by proposing a pilot study involving the design-based-research iterative development of a client viewer for Second Life (termed the Starling viewer). This viewer will be specifically tailored to promoting the collaborative conceptualization, representation, construction and re-construction of knowledge, in terms of the eventual production and refinement of in-world artifacts of learning.

Research Themes
Learning Science & Pedagogy

Funding Source

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ReEd Vol 2: Breathing a Second Life into Geography Teaching

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