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Exploring Second Life as a Venue for Peer-Teaching: A Case from Teacher Education

Author(s): Karen Lybeck (Minnesota State University, USA), Dana Bruhn (Century College, USA) and Solen Feyissa (University of Minnesota, USA)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 25
EISBN13: 9781466625921

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Abstract

Online teacher preparation courses have become a popular way to offer professional development for both pre- and in-service teachers. This move has not only provided greater access to professional development, but it has also afforded learners with more non-formal learning experiences. Moving online, however, has largely replaced an important, traditionally non-formal component of the learning experience, namely peer-teaching, with more formal, less authentic student presentations. In order to explore a possible solution to this problem, 25 Teaching-English-as-a-Second-Language (TESL) students were trained to conduct peer-teaching activities in Second Life virtual world. The suggestions and implications given in previous Second Life research guided the implementation of these activities in the hopes that an informed design would overcome problems previously documented by other educational users of Second Life. Despite this, the authors were not able to overcome previous difficulties, and did not find Second Life to be useful as a tool for peer-teaching in online teacher-development courses. Virtual reality, however, has promise for facilitating teacher development; thus, further investigation is needed to find an appropriate virtual venue for this purpose.

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