Evaluation: Global Kids Science through SL project

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Selen Turkay: I thought I'd share with you all the recent independent evaluation that was completed about the Science through Second Life project that we ran during the last school year. The project integrated Second Life and wide range of web tools into a standards based high school science class in New York City. Among the findings:
  • Students' attitudes towards science-related careers changed positively with the StSL curriculum.
  • Students' self-efficacy and self-confidence in their abilities to do science-related work increased.
  • Compared to the traditional science curriculum, the number of students reporting being overwhelmed by science class fell by 50%.
  • Low achieving students' grades improved significantly compared to the previous semester.
  • Students' collective intelligence skills improved throughout the semester. More students reported that they felt more comfortable working with others to get something done using digital media in the post survey.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Global Kids' Science through Second Life Curriculum

Introduction
"Many studies report that students disengage from science during the middle school years (Ye et. al, 1998; Dede & Ketelhut, 2003; Schwarz & Gwekwerere, 2007). Therefore, educators and researchers have looked for new ways to engage students in science, seeking to foster scientific thinking and abilities. The Science through Second Life (StSL) curriculum is an innovative project that aims to create an engaging learning environment for high school students through the use of the virtual world Second Life and other applications in the larger Internet ecology. StSL was developed and prototyped by Global Kids Inc., a

non-profit organization, and was implemented by the Global Kids' Online Leadership Program (OLP) by director Barry Joseph. This report summarizes the outcomes and issues of the StSL curriculum. It concludes with recommendations on how the program can be improved.

Virtual worlds are becoming valuable educational tools among K-12 institutions. These worlds provide students with rich immersive experiences in a multi-model environment. Learning experiences within these worlds generally focus on explorations and active experiences that both engage students and motivate them to explore new concepts."

Key findings included:
  • Students' attitudes towards science-related careers changed positively with the StSL curriculum.
  • Students' self-efficacy and self-confidence in their abilities to do science-related work increased.
  • Compared to the traditional science curriculum, the number of students reporting being overwhelmed by science class fell by 50%.
  • 40 minutes of class time was not enough for the range of activities on many occasions.
  • Students' low literacy skills played a major role in shaping the curriculum activities.
  • Low achieving students' grades improved significantly compared to the previous semester.
  • Students' collective intelligence skills improved throughout the semester. More students reported that they felt more comfortable working with others to get something done using digital media in the post survey.
  • Students' confidence in the effectiveness of blogging, doing Comic Life projects, and using SL for science learning increased throughout the semester.

Hent den fulde rapport i PDF format her

via NPSL: Nonprofits in Second Life

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