Tuesday, 15 November 2005

League of Worlds (Online and Virtual) Conference 2005 - day 2

Yesterday, we heard Mary Noggle, Caldwell Community College of United States, talked about her experience in teaching literature using role play simulation, Novel Simulations in the Literature Classroom. She was one of the online participants and her connected to the conference via MSN and Skype. Her role play simulation played out in two stages in 4 weeks: the opening scenario "begins at the pivotal point of the narrative when Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale meet in the forest, confess to their moments of deception, and avow to begin anew together" and then 15 years later which "introduces students to other historical developments that will serve as background for later literary works, such as Michael Wigglesworth’s The Day of Doom and Cotton Mather’s Wonders of the Invisible World, also studied in the course".

In the paper, she did not write about evaluation of the role play simulation. However, in the presentation, she explained that as hers is a community college, students are adults with the commitments. Understandably, some were reluctant to do the course in an unfamiliar way at the beginning. However, after the course, students were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the experience and would like to do the next literature class the same way. She has got the funding to do another one based on Shakespeare's' Hamlet.

The second presentation was also by an online participant Roberto Muffoletto from Appalachian State University on behaviour of he and Ursula Drees from Tech Univ for Applied Sciences Germany. He showed their work in using Blogs in communication courses. Their paper "Engaging Online Students in Higher Order Thinking Through the Use of Blogs and Collective Intelligence Work Environments" is not online yet, rather yet to be written. :-)

The highlight in the morning was the presentation by John O'Toole, University of Melbourne; Julie Dunn, Queensland University of Technology and truna aka j.turner; CRC for Interaction Design Australia for the paper When Worlds Collide - Exploring the relationship between the actual, the dramatic and the virtual. Everybody at the conference, except me who was behind the video camera, took part in a dramatic experience of creating an educational resource on "explorer" for "Virtually Impossible Computer Company". They showed us how dramatic tensions can be used to activate the affective relationships of the participants and hence improve learning outcomes.

The afternoon session started by Roni Linser presenting on behalf of Helen Hintjens from Institute of Social Studies The Netherlands for the paper: Quixotic Moves online: Simulating Conflict and Democracy in Action in Venezuela. Hey, this is another first. Roni presenting a paper for someone else. Anyway, the role play simulation described in the paper was also used by George Washington University to teaching a 600-student course in Politics.

The presenters of another two papers: A Computer Game "Read" as Text and Working In Organisations: A Case Study of a Text-Based Simulative Construct were no show. We used the available time in lively discussions on issues raised by presentations so far. [How did Roni know that these presenters would absent so that we have a whole block of time to use in this way?]

Day 3 of the conference is a tour to South Gippsland, about 1 and half hour drive East from Melbourne. As I am writing this post, they are on their way. However happened in the day, I am sure they will enjoy the Penguin Parade starring the world's smallest penguins at sunset in Philip Island.


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