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Author(s): Ugur DEMIRAY

Journal: The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education
ISSN 1302-6488

Volume: 12;
Issue: 3/2;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2011;
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ABSTRACT
Dear readers of TOJDE,TOJDE appears on your screen now as Volume 12, Number: 3/2. This issue covers as a Special Issue on “Usage of Second Life Applications in Generally Education and Especially in Distance Education” field. Almost 9 months ago, I was planning to publish a book by agreement with IGI publishing, USA, on “Usage of Second Life Applications in Generally Education and Especially in Distance Education” field. And also recently, I had signed a draft contract with IGI Publishing too. But, during this period I could not receive up enough chapters to complete this book project. So, according my ethic responsibility to my respected proposed authors, I changed my thoughts to publish their valuable studies as a special issue of TOJDE on this theme. In this special issue I published; 17 articles. And this time, 30 authors from 13 different countries are placed. These published articles are from Argentina, Austria, Denmark, Findland, Georgia, Germany, Grecee, India, Italy, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and USA.The first article is joint study which is conducted with authors from TURKEY & GEORGIA, on “INSTRUCTIONAL SYSTEMS DESIGN (ISD): Theory and Practice in Second Life” written by Nil GOKSEL CANBEK and me, Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Tamar LOMINADZE & Mariam MANJGALADZE, Tbilisi, Georgia. This paper previously was presented at International Joint Conference and Media Days (ICEM-CIME), Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey. The paper will also clarify the obstacles on virtual learning through SL and make suggestions for the active immersive learning within the context of Distance Education.The Second article is on “SECOND LIFE AS A LANGUAGE LEARNING TOOL (EFL)”, written by Yavuz SAMUR from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA. This paper a literature review, ideas, and suggestions on using Second Life as a language learning and practice tool for higher education students learning English as a foreign language and describes that how MUVEs, primarily focusing on SL, can affect EFL programs and learners. Therefore students who learn English as a foreign language in higher education settings and who are using SL are going to be the main target of this review. The third articles are from, FINLAND. The third one is on “EXPERIENCES OF OPERATING ND STUDYING IN SECOND LIFE: Conclusions for Training Design”, conducted by Riitta LISKI & Irma SYREN, The Educational Association Citizens´Forum SKAF ry. In their paper, they mentioned The Educational Association Citizens´ Forum SKAF ry is an educational institution for non-formal education. The Citizens’ Forum has been an active Second Life participant since 2007, researching its potential and challenges in educational use and non-governmental organisation activities and based on practical experiences gained from suitability of cooperative educational processes for Second Life, constructing a Second Life environment for educational use, suitability of Second Life technology and tools for education and team work and practical methods related to educational situations.The 4th article arrived from UAE which is prepared on “STUDENTS’ FIRST IMPRESSION OF SECOND LIFE: A Case From the United Arab Emirates”, written by Salam ABDALLAH, from MIS Department, Abu Dhabi University, UAE. This paper examines the viability of Second Life as an educational platform from the perspective of a group of students in an Islamic society context. The students were attending one of the universities in the United Arab Emirates. The analysis indicates that students experienced both positive and negative aspects of Second Life. The results do encourage further experimentation in this positive novel way for learning.The fifth article again from TURKEY which is entitled as “A Grid-Development For The Learning And Teaching Practice In Second Life”, written by Ayse KOK & Zuhal TANRIKULU, Department of Management Information Systems, Bogazici University, Istanbul,TURKEY. This paper examines the emerging ideas to implement the usage of Second Life as an educational tool in a wide range of subject areas. The majority of the information used to create these 10 pedagogical approaches was derived from a series of participative inquiries, personal observations, formal and informal interviews, and documenting the perceptions of teachers and students using (and trying to use) Second Life as an educational tool. Ten pedagogical approaches have emerged thus far. Each section briefing explains the concept, illustrates the idea with examples, and provides implementation suggestions. The sixth article from USA on “USE OF SECOND LIFE IN K-12 AND HIGHER EDUCATION: A Review of Research”, written by Chris INMAN, Vivian H. WRIGHT & Julia A. HARTMAN, from The University of Alabama, USA. This artile is published in Journal of Interactive Online Learning, Volume 9, Number 1, Spring, 2010) and republished by official permission of JIOL Editor-in-Chief’. This study reviewed empirical research conducted in Second Life by educators since Second Life’s launch in 2003. The study’s purpose was to identify how Second Life is being used in both K-12 and higher education. The methodology, findings, and recommendations of 27 research studies were analyzed. Researchers identified potential problems when using Second Life in education, including issues with the Second Life software and hardware requirements, a steep learning curve, and the possibility of students becoming exposed to distractions or inappropriate content. The seventh one is again from USA. On “GENOME ISLAND: A Virtual Science Environment in Second Life”, written by Mary ANNE CLARK, from Texas Wesleyan University, USA”. This article describes the organization and uses of Genome Island, a virtual laboratory complex constructed in Second Life. Genome Island was created for teaching genetics to university undergraduates but also provides a public space where anyone interested in genetics can spend a few minutes, or a few hours, interacting with genetic objects -from simple experiments with peas to the organization of whole genomes. Each of the approximately four dozen activities available in the island’s various areas includes background information, model objects with data sets, and suggestions for data analysis. The eight article is titled article is “Virtual Ethnography Research On Second Life Viırtual Communities”, written by Mehmet FIRAT & Isıl KABAKCI YURDAKUL Department of Computer Education and Instructional Technologies, from Anadolu University, Eskisehir, TURKEY”. In this study, the purpose was to conducted to describe within a holistic perspective, the virtual ethnography research potential in Second Life was investigated vithe the help of a detailed participant observation research conducted by researchers in Second Life and from a holistic perspective. This research was conducted in the fall semester of the 2009-2010 academic years. In this study, researchers in the role of a participant observer conducted 8 observations in ethnographic focus. Also, some important methods and techniques that can be used in doing ethnographic research in Second Life are presented in this study. The 9th article is written by Kadriye KOBAK, Anadolu University, Eskisehir, TURKEY & Yasin OZARSLAN, Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Eskisehir, TURKEY who are PhD student. This study investigates higher education students’ perceptions and experiences about Second Life in Educational Software Course at a Turkish State University. The aim of the study is to determine the perceptions, opinions and attitudes of students about use of this virtual environment for educational purposes. The research involved in-depth interviews with fifteen students using a semi-structured interview format. The findings represent student perceptions from a sufficiently diverse range of education faculty and educational software course.The article is which numbered as 10, again Mersin University, TURKEY. Article is entitled as “The Use Of 2nd Life In Language Teaching”, writen Saziye YAMAN & Gulriz IMER,Mersin University, Faculty of Education, Mersin, TURKEY. Their paper attempt to approaches and methods which are often based on the assumptions that the process of language learning is complex in nature, non linear, and active. Learners are getting more in need of communication with a second/foreign language both inside and outside the classroom while instructions are witnessing a major paradigm shift within language teaching in our century. Virtual worlds have the potential to dramatically change the traditional nature of language teaching through 3D spaces, information and communication technologies, etc… Second Life (SL) Virtual World, as supplementing language instruction, has begun to shape both teachers and learners’ interaction with language. Learners are facilitated with 3D spaces in their own reality and environment, allowing them to interpret and apply a variety of experiences and tasks. SL offers rich sources and dimensions, facilitating the changing nature of learning experience.11th article is on “SECOND LIFE FOR TEACHER EDUCATION: Why, What and How”, written by Pradeep Kumar MISRA, from M. J. P. Rohilkhand University, INDIA. His study main focuses are directed on developing the virtual world of Second Life (SL) is extending the boundaries of when, where and how learning can happen beyond the realm of the traditional classroom. The SL has helped to highlight the wider use of virtual worlds for supporting a range of human activities and interactions for social and educational purposes. One such potential implication is the use of SL for the real world of teacher education. This argument is based on fact that SL allows teachers to create new identities for themselves and have personalized learning experiences. Keeping in view that SL experiences help teachers to improve their teaching in real situations, present paper discusses about the concept and modalities of SL and its implications for the world of teacher education. The discussion mainly revolves around three points i) why second life is useful for teacher education, ii) what opportunities it offered for teacher education, and iii) how to use it for teacher education. As essence, paper suggests a number of globally applicable strategies to ensure and promote the use of SL for betterment of teacher educationNext article is 12 is join study from Austria, Italy and Denmark. This article entitle as “RECOMMENDATIONS FOR USING THE 3D VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS FOR TEACHING:Why, How and Use cases”, written by Maja PIVEC & Jutta PAUSCHENWEIN from ZML-Innovative Learning Scenarios, FH JOANNEUM, University of Applied Sciences, Graz, AUSTRIA, Cristina STEFANELLI, from Consorzio FOR.COM. -Formazione per la Comunicazione Interuniversity Consortium Rome, ITALY and Inger-Marie F. CHRISTENSEN, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, DENMARK. Their paper details for the rational behind the course, documents two case studies of completed projects within a virtual world, highlights the challenges and notes the successes, and culminates with conclusions and recommendations of running courses and lessons within an online 3D virtual world. The 13th Article is our different study which based on “LIFELONG LEARNING THROUGH SECOND LIFE: Current Trends, Potentials And Limitations”, written by Nil GOKSEL-CANBEK, & me, Anadolu University, Eskisehir TURKEY and Maria MAVROMMATI & Despina MAKRIDOU-BOUSIOU, Department of Applied Inf., University of Macedonia, GREECE. This article previously presented at 10th International Educational Technology Conference (IETC2010) and published in CD as citing Canbek-Goksel, N., Mavromati, M., Makridou-Bousiou, D. & Demiray, U. (2010). Lifelong learning through Second Life: Current trends, potentials and limitations. 10th International Educational Technology Conference (IETC2010), Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey. This article is republished with an official permission of IETC Organizing Committee. The objectives of this study is Lifelong Learning (LLL) which has been a remarkable response to people-centered educational demand of 21st century. In order to provide effective formal, non-formal, and informal learning, immersive educational activities undertaken throughout life should be aimed to create a learning society in which people can experience individual and collective learning with no constrains of time or location. The concept of lifelong learning within the context of distance immersive education encompasses diverse 3D activities. The three dimensional, Web-based structured activities supported by distance learning technologies can be viewed as interactive tools which foster LLL. In this perspective, Second Life (SL) can be regarded as one of the learning simulation milieus that allow learners to participate in various educational LLL activities in individual or group forms. The following paper examines how SL, taking advantage of its simulative nature and the possibility for creative interaction among participants, which are also common in games, allows the learners to participate in immersive constructivist learning activities. The article will also touch on the current uses of SL as a tool for LLL, as well as its potentials for further development according to the current trends in adult education. Further, the authors will discuss its limitations and will make suggestions towards a more complete pedagogical use. The fourteenth and fifteenth articles are again from TURKEY and the fourteenth one belongs to Nil GOKSEL-CANBEK and Gülsün KURUBACAK, Open Education Faculty, Anadolu University, Department of Distance Education, Eskisehir, TURKEY. It is titled as “Lets Dive Into A Virtual World And See What Is Beneath Second Life”. This paper divulges the results of a master thesis study that evaluates the learner-course owner (instructor) interaction within University-Community Partnerships (UCPs) by giving samples on SL milieu. The study briefly demystifies 3D interaction in virtual reality. The dimensions of immersive learning and learner-course owner (instructor) interaction are explored within the theoretical frame of Mindtool Model and Interaction-Communication Theory. The foundations of learning and communication are appraised on a matrix from which semi-structured and open-ended survey questions are formulated. The SL platform is assessed in terms of qualitative analyses of matrix based-foundations which are sent to four (4) distance education experts across the world. With the survey responses collected on a voluntary basis, 189 themes and 185 main themes on learner-course owner interaction are generated. The results demonstrate that Second Life as a learning mindtool uses Internet-based distance learning technologies effectively; however, it still needs appropriate andragogical adjustments for the efficacy of online interaction. The fifteenth article is titled as “THE NATURE OF USING VIRTUAL WORLDS BY A CHILD AS A LEARNING PLATFORM: A Case Study”, written by Ahmet BAYTAK, from Harran University, Sanlıurfa, Turkey. His artile is focused on that the development of new technologies is found inevitable and children interests toward online platforms and virtual worlds are rapidly growing. The purpose of his study also cannot be narrowed down to a single sentence but the overarching aim of the study is to explore the nature of using virtual worlds as a learning platform during. The theoretical background of this study is rooted from the constructivism and constructionism learning approaches. Consisted with its theoretical framework, this study has followed a qualitative case study research method to explore the nature of the construct. The case is a bounded system that is narrowed to a single case (Merriam, 1988; Stake, 1995; Yin, 2003). There are various types of data collected within this system. Based on the data collected and the research-suggested case study data analysis approaches, the following themes were emerged; realty, learning by discovering, learning by design, scaffolding and chunking information, and real life desires.After using Whyville virtual platform, the aim of this study was expected to start new discussion on young children using more complex virtual worlds such as Second Life. Thus, the results of this study could be guidance for transmission process of children toward Second Life type of virtual worlds. Even though a further discussion may need about the nature of using the virtual worlds, the primary findings of these case studies suggest some practical implications for children’s education.The sixteenth aricle arrived from Germany on SEMINAR ABOUT SERIOUS GAMES AND VIRTUAL WORLDS: An Experience of International Collaboration And Reflection”, written by Wolfram LAASER, from GERMANY and Julio Gonzalo BRITO, from ARGENTINA. They evaluated a seminar about serious games and virtual worldsas an experience of international collaboration and reflection for the educational possibilities of ICT, dizzying and exponentially growing every day, offer multiple alternatives of mediation for teaching, learning and communication. The inclusion of video games and virtual worlds into educational context represents a qualitative leap that claims to significantly boost ways of communication and knowledge representation of the scenarios involvedThe paper describes didactic design and technical solutions of the seminar format. The last but not least the 17th article is on a Finnish project experience which is written by Heidi HEIKKILÄ who is the project coordinator of the Finnish Language and Literature, Sotunki Distance Learning Center, FINLAND, on “SOTUNKI: An Island Of Education and Adventure”. It serves that the information points to reflect the stylistic periods they presented so it would be easy to learn something of a stylistic period by just looking around: it activates visual memory and helps to connect information with the place where it was found. For instance, he can take a raft from Robinson Crusoe’s Island to the mainland or ride on a seahorse from Renaissance to Enlightenment. Dear readers, you can reach us online either directly at http://tojde.anadolu.edu.tr or by visiting Anadolu University homepage at http://www.anadolu.edu.tr from English version, clicking on Scientific Research button and than goes to the Referred Journals. To receive further information and to send your recommendations and remarks, or to submit articles for consideration, please contact TOJDE Secretariat at the below address or e-mail us to tojde@anadolu.edu.trHope to stay in touch and meeting in our next Issue, 1st of October 2011Cordially,Prof. Dr. Ugur Demiray Editor-in-Chief Anadolu University Yunusemre Campus 26470-Eskisehir TURKEY Tel: +90 222 335 0581 ext. 2521 or 2522, GSM: +90 542 232 21 167, Fax: +90 222 320 4520 E-mails: udemiray@anadolu.edu.tr or udemiray33@gmail.comURLs: http://home.anadolu.edu.tr/~udemiray ; http://tojde.anadolu.edu.tr
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