Journée "Edition et publication en sciences humaines et sociales : libre, ouverte, équitable, efficace ?", MSH Clermont-Ferrand

Date 13 octobre 2011 |

La journée "Edition et publication en sciences humaines et sociales : libre, ouverte, équitable, efficace ?" réunissait enseignant-chercheurs, doctorants, personnels de la BCU et représentants du PRES pour discuter des nouveaux horizons pour l'édition en sciences humaines avec, comme point focal, l'édition en accès libre. Les intervenants étaient deux responsables de l'édition électronique ouverte des centres OpenEdition et Revues.org et un enseignant-chercheur de l'UBP ayant des responsabilités au niveau de la création et de l’édition de la revue Apprentissage des langues et systèmes d'information et de communication (ALSIC). J'ai été incitée à participer à cette journée suite à la décision de mon laboratoire d'accueil (LRL) de mettre toutes ses publications dans l'archive ouverte HAL pour améliorer la visibilité de nos travaux aux niveaux national et international et aussi parce que la revue ALSIC est l’une des revues principales à laquelle je fais référence en tant que doctorante dans l'axe ' Dispositifs, Apprentissage en Ligne et Interactions' du LRL.

La journée d'étude était divisée en trois parties. Premièrement, Pierre Mounier de Revues.org nous a exposé les évolutions de l'édition numériques pour les livres et les revues de SHS. Dans sa présentation, Mounier s'est concentré sur les nouveaux supports de lecture y compris les tablettes tactiles. Ensuite, il nous a présenté comment, à partir d'une lecture sur ordinateur ou sur une tablette, la mise en page des articles de recherche commence à évoluer. Ceci comprend l'utilisation des hyperliens pour rendre les bibliographies interactives et aussi un système de 'crosslinking' qui, à partir des identifiants digitaux d'un objet (DOI), peut montrer au lecteur une liste d'articles qui citent l'article qu'il est en train de lire. Mounier a également exposé les possibilités d'augmenter la multimodalité des articles de recherche en intégrant des supports vidéo, audio ou des liens vers des corpus qui ont été exploités lors de l'étude.
En deuxième partie, Thierry Chanier a présenté une étude de cas concernant la création et le développement de la revue SHS Alsic. Depuis la création de la revue en 1998, elle a été publiée en ligne, en libre accès. Chanier nous a exposé les enjeux qui résultent de cette création, y compris pourquoi un comité de relecture a été mis en place et pourquoi le choix a été pris de migrer la revue d'un serveur universitaire vers un serveur d'un portail d'édition communautaire. L'intervenant nous a ensuite présenté deux modèles distincts pour la publication en accès libre: "la voie verte" qui comprend le dépôt des articles dans une archive ouverte et "la voie dorée" où les articles des revues sont librement accessibles en ligne mais où le financement des revues est souvent fondé sur une participation financière des auteurs ou de leur institution. Chanier nous a exposé l'intérêt scientifique, financier et institutionnel de l'adoption de chaque voie.

Finalement, Jean-Christophe Peyssard de l'OpenEdition a présenté l'organisation pour laquelle il travaille et qui s'occupe de la publication de livres et revues en ligne (OpenEdition), d'une base de données des annonces pour des colloques en SHS (calenda.org) et d'un portail de carnets de recherche (hypotheses.org). Ensuite, il a exposé les liens possibles entre les revues ou livres en accès libres et les bibliothèques universitaires en utilisant en tant qu'exemple le modèle 'freemium' et le modèle 'prémium' qu'OpenEdition est actuellement en train de mettre en place.

EuroCALL 2011 presentation: Object-focused collaboration in Second Life: the use of verbal and nonverbal modes for the establishment of common ground and in deictic referencing.

Date 13 octobre 2011 |

Here you can find our presentation abstract and powerpoints for our study of verbal and nonverbal communication during a collaborative building activity in the students' L2 in Second Life: http://edutice.archives-ouvertes.fr/edutice-00583274/fr/.

"T'es où maintenant?": les espaces de la conversation visiophonique en ligne - Michael Maraccia

Date 29 avril 2011 |

The title of this post is the title of a book chapter in Décrire la conversation en ligne (Develotte, C., Kern, R. And Lamy, M-N 5eds. 2011). In this chapter, the author, Maraccia, looks at how the spatial context of computer mediated communication impacts on the manner in which the exchanges take place, arguing that the characteristics of the spatial context and the proxemic organisation of the space impact on the interaction. The chapter analyses spatial context using a selection of videos from a corpus of eight synchronous video-conferencing conversations online from the CLAPI corpus. In these videos, participants in the experiment were asked to hold a twenty minute informal conversation about specific topics of general interest orally, using a videoconferencing system which included a web cam and chat interface. Five participants were involved in the study. The participants conversed in French but for one participant this was not his first language.

Maraccia suggests that the spatial context of online exchanges has not received much attention in research focussing on CMC, arguing that, when it is evoked, most often it is to suggest that the spatial context does not exist. He quotes Katriel (1999) who, in reference to mobile telephone communication, talks about the "despatialisation of communication" and Dahlgren (2000) who, in the study of Internet forums, notes the absence of geographical anchors which leads to the suggestion that the Net tends to deterritorialise communication. The chapter was of interest to me for I wonder to what extent synthetic worlds revoke this hypothesis. In general, Maraccia suggests that the majority of research into the spatial context of computer mediated exchanges suggests that there is a loss of contextualisation clues or a weakening of such clues. Maraccia suggests that this may be truer for written computer-mediated communication but may not hold true for video-conferencing conversations online. I question to what extent, an individual's physical spatial location, is of importance in synthetic worlds, and impacts on the verbal communication, given the extent to which the environment is highly visual and the extent to which individuals in a synthetic world can visually share the environment.

In this chapter, Maraccia, quotes several works, including Jones (2004) which suggest that online exchanges take place in a virtual space which has no link to the physical space in which the participants are situated. However, he goes on to show that these physical spaces impact on the online exchanges. For example, he shows that the visual access to the location in which a conversational partner is situated can convey information about the partner's location and that this subject may be evoked in the verbal communication, often by individuals asking where their conversation partner is situated. The spatial location becomes an issue in the conversation rather than a background element. Maraccia also shows that the places in which the individuals are located impact on the organisation and the definition of their activity. For example, the presence of other individuals in the room impacts on the nonverbal and verbal communication of the individuals – certain topics are avoided and an individual's gaze and nonverbal communication may be directed towards another communication partner who is physically present rather than present in the videoconference. The tone of the conversation which takes place also depends on whether the individuals are located in a professional or a personal setting: in Maraccia's data personal settings leading to more intimate discussions. Thus, the spatial context is an element which helps to build the setting for, and the organisation of, the online discussions.

In my data, I wonder to what extent the physical space of the participants impacted on the verbal communication in-world and whether due to the highly visual nature of synthetic worldsthe high co-presence felt by participants meant that the impact of the spatial context of the physical, first world, was reduced.

Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Internet (2004) R. Scollon and S. Scollon

Date 7 avril 2011 |

Nexus analysis is a methodological guidebook which proposes strategies for ethnography, discourse analysis and action research. The methodology is shown through case study exemplification, focussing primarily on Native Alaskan's access to higher education between 1978 and 1983. Nexus analysis concentrates on how people, places, discourses and objects interrelate to facilitate action and social change, rather than elaborating one theoretical / methodological component in isolation. For the authors, social life takes place through individual actions but these actions are afforded only with respect to various potentially relevant aspects of the context. That is to say that broader social actions are grounded in micro actions of social interaction and that micro actions are the nexus through which larger cycles of social organisation and activity circulate.

A nexus is exposes as a "repeated site of engagement where some type of social action is facilitated by a relatively consistent set of social processes". The social action can be understood by looking at the historical body of the participants and objects, the interaction order and the discourses, both overt and covert, that are in place. It is crucial to analyse what cycles of discourse for a specific moment of human interaction come together to form the social action and to navigate these discourse cycles to see how they are constituted out of past practices and how they lead to new forms of interaction.

There are three steps to nexus analysis: engaging, navigating and changing. Engaging involves discovering the social actions and actors that are crucial in the production of a social issue and in bringing about change. It is about observing the interaction order that actors mutually produce themselves and determining the most significant cycles of discourse which enable the action. During this step it is important that the researcher by recognised by other participants as a participant him/herself. That is to say that the researcher must establish a zone of identification.

The second step of nexus analysis is navigating. This involves understanding how people came to be placed at a specific historical moment to carry out an action and to what extent this action is a practice for the actors. It also involves analysis the overt and covert discourses which pass through the action and the objects that are used and the extent to which they are designed for the action, change through the action or result in transformation by the action. At this stage in the analysis, it may be necessary to open up the circumference of analysis to understand further discourse cycles which are passing through the action.

Lastly, nexus analysis involves changing: making communications between the actions and reengaging in the nexus of practice to transform the actions into new discourses and new practices. The Nexus Analysis powerpoint found here accompanies a tutorial I will give in which I review this book. It also exemplifies each stage of nexus analysis with work by the authors.

In conclusion, nexus analysis is a methodological framework which sees all actions as being positioned in various cycles. It looks to embrace the embeddedness in places of research study.

Séminaire des doctorants (LRL)

Date 1 avril 2011 |

Last week, I presented my current work to my fellow PhD colleagues. My presentation looks at nonverbal behaviour, my research questions, the task that I designed to study these and how I am analysing the data. Here are the powerpoint slides that accompanied my presentation:CW-doctorantsseminaire-110323

Communication acceptée pour EPAL

Date 1 mars 2011 |

Nous venons d'avoir une proposition de communication acceptée pour le colloque Echanger pour apprendre en ligne (EPAL), organisé par l'université Stendhal – Grenoble 3 (Lidilem). Voici notre résumé:

Collaboration en langue étrangère dans une approche de type EMILE articulant modes verbaux et gestuels dans le monde virtuel Second Life.  Wigham, C. et T. Chanier.

Les environnements 3D facilitent l'apprentissage collaboratif selon Dalgarno et Lee (2010), ainsi que Henderson et al (2009). Nous présentons ici une formation en langues étrangères destinée à des étudiants d'architecture et se déroulant dans le monde virtuel Second Life, en français ou en anglais selon la langue maternelle des étudiants. Elle repose sur des tâches de construction collaboratives conçues suivant une approche didactique EMILE (Enseignement d'une Matière par Intégration d'une Langue Étrangère, CLIL en anglais). Notre étude a pour but d'analyser les échanges entre participants dans lesquels s'articulent modes de communication verbaux et gestuels pour l'établissement d'un fond commun de compréhension ("common ground"). Les participants impliqués dans les tâches de construction doivent pouvoir identifier et référencer rapidement et précisément des objets du monde virtuel (Hindmarsh, 1997). Les références déictiques jouent alors un rôle important dans l'élaboration de la compréhension mutuelle.

Dans ces mondes, les utilisateurs sont représentés par des avatars. Les avatars sont des agents semi-autonomes de l'espace digital qui exécutent des actions commandées par les participants en ligne (Peachey et al, 2010). Dans Second Life, ces participants peuvent s'exprimer en utilisant le clavardage, l'audio, ainsi qu'en guidant leur avatar. La gamme gestuelle de l'avatar comprend des gestes kinésiques (par exemple l'orientation de l'avatar dans une direction particulière), des gestes tactiles (contact avec un objet en le pointant du doigt, même à distance), et des gestes actionnels (déplacement d'un objet ou changement de sa texture ou de sa taille, etc.).

Clark et Brennan (1991: 127) montrent que pour que les tâches soient de nature collaborative chaque action collective doit reposer sur un fond commun de compréhension, continuellement mis à jour au travers des interactions dans lesquelles l'oral joue un rôle prépondérant. Kraut et al. (2003), ainsi que Clark et Krych (2004), ajoutent que dans des tâches collaboratives accomplies à distance, les participants doivent avoir accès, non seulement à l'information verbale, mais également à un champ visuel partagé pour que s'établissent des références déictiques. Suivant Platt et Brooks (2008) le pointage est un aspect important dans l'établissement du fond commun lorsque deux personnes essaient de résoudre ensemble un problème. Dans ce genre de situation, l'accès à un champ visuel partagé est un pré-requis. Or ce partage n'est pas toujours garanti dans Second Life. Ainsi, l'outil caméra permet à chaque utilisateur d'obtenir des perspectives rapides sur le monde environnant, perspectives détachées de l'avatar guidé par cet utilisateur. Alors que le positionnement et l'orientation d'un avatar est visible des autres participants, la vue caméra n'est elle pas discernable. Dans ce cas, l'accès visuel partagé est rompu.

Par ailleurs, il est intéressant de noter que, dans ces mondes virtuels, les contraintes imposées par le système informatique sur les gestes de pointage des avatars, donc sur la désignation des actions référentielles, renforcent l'utilisation des modes verbaux (Fraser, 2000), et ce de façon plus notable que dans les communications associées à des tâches collaboratives du monde réel.

Ces spécificités des mondes virtuels nous conduisent à étudier les nouveaux rapports entre modes verbaux et gestuels. Nous examinons, premièrement, comment les modes verbaux et non verbaux sont utilisés par les apprenants engagés dans une tâche de construction collaborative, en particulier lorsque s'élabore le fond commun de compréhension. Deuxièmement, nous examinons comment ces modes sont mobilisés pour référencer les objets impliqués dans la tâche de construction.

La tâche de construction que les apprenants auront à faire s'inspire de l'étude de Wadley et Ducheneaut (2009), dans laquelle des locuteurs anglophones s'expriment dans leur langue maternelle pour mener à bien des tâches collaboratives au sein de Second Life. Un apprenant joue le rôle de coordinateur, ayant à sa disposition le plan de construction d'un objet. Il doit diriger les autres apprenants, endossant le rôle d'ouvriers, lors de l'assemblage de l'objet à partir des pièces fournies. Cette tâche de type "échanges d'information" (Pica et al., 1993), distribuant les rôles d'assistant et d'ouvrier suivant Kraut et al (2003), a été choisie afin d'établir un processus de communication bidirectionnelle. Le déficit d'information (gap) d'une des parties rend nécessaire l'interaction pour accomplir la tâche (Long, 1980). L'observation de l'utilisation conjointe des modes gestuels et verbaux nous aidera à saisir comment se résolvent les problèmes de compréhension / expression en L2, au sein d'une situation d'apprentissage à distance en architecture. Les expérimentations auront lieu en février 2011. Des captures d'écran, intégrant l'audio et le texte (clavardage) seront enregistrées. Les références déictiques des participants seront analysées. Des entretiens permettront de recueillir l'avis des participants sur leurs façons d'établir un fond commun de compréhension et d'expliciter les stratégies utilisées pour surmonter les difficultés afférentes.

Les mondes virtuels comme Second Life suscitent un grand intérêt dans l'enseignement à distance des langues (Molka-Danielson et al., 2007, Cooke-Plagwitz, 2008). Cette étude vise à élargir les travaux antérieurs sur les interactions multimodales (Chanier et Vetter, 2006) en y introduisant la composante gestuelle. Elle s'inscrit également dans le lot des premières recherches reposant sur une approche didactique EMILE au sein l'enseignement supérieur.

Bibliographie:

Chanier, T., & Vetter, A. (2006). "Multimodalité et expression en langue étrangère dans une plate-forme audio-synchrone". ALSIC, n° 9. pp 61-101.

Clark, H. H., & Brennan, S.E. (1991). "Grounding in Communication". In L.B. Resnick, R.M. Levine, & S.D. Teasley (dir.) Perspectives on Socially Shared Cognition. Washington, DC : APA.

Clark, H. H., & Krych, M. A. (2004). "Speaking while Monitoring Addressees for Understanding". Journal of Memory & Language, vol. 50, n° 1. pp. 62-81.

Cooke-Plagwitz, J. (2008). "New directions in CALL : An objective introduction to Second Life". CALICO Journal,  vol. 25 n° 3. pp. 547 – 557.

Dalgarno, B., & Lee, M. J. W. (2010). "What are the Learning Affordances of 3-D virtual Environments?" British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 41. pp. 10-32.

Fraser, M. (2000). Working with Objects in Collaborative Virtual Environments. Thèse de doctorat, Université de Bristol. [http://www.cs.bris.ac.uk/~fraser/phd/].

Henderson, M., Huang, H., Grant, S., & Henderson, L. (2009). "Language Acquisition in Second Life: improving self-efficacy beliefs". Actes ascilite.

Hindmarsh, J. (1997). The Interactional Constitution of Objects. (Thèse de doctorat, Université de Surrey).

Kraut, R. E., Fussell, S. R., & Siegel, J. (2003). "Visual information as a Conversational Resource in Collaborative Physical Tasks". Human Computer Interaction, vol. 18, n° 1. pp. 13-49.

Long, M. (1980). Input, Interaction, and Second Language Acquisition. (Thèse de doctorat, Université de Californie, 1980). Dissertation Abstracts International, vol. 41.

Molka-Danielson, J., Richardson, D., Deutschmann, M., & Carter, B. (2007). "Teaching Languages in a Virtual World", Actes du collobque "Nokobit". Oslo : Tapir.

Peachey, A., Gillen, J., Livingston, D., & Smith-Robbins, S. (2010). Research Learning in Virtual Worlds. London : Springer.

Pica, T., Kanagy, R., & Falodun, J. (1993). "Choosing and using Communication Tasks for Second Language Instruction and Research". In G. Crookes & S. Gass (dir.) Tasks and language learning: Integrating theory and practice. Clevedon : Multilingual Matters.

Platt, E., & Brooks, F.B. (2008). "Embodiment in Self-Regulation in L2 Task Performance". In McCafferty, S. et Stam, G. (dir.) Gesture Second Language Acquisition and Classroom Research.  New York : Routledge.

Wadley, G., & Ducheneaut, N. (2009). "The 'out of avatar experience': Object-focused Collaboration in Second Life". Actes du colloque "European Computer-Supported Cooperative Work". Vienne.

Object grounding and gesture

Date 15 décembre 2010 |

Over the past month, I've been reading a lot about how participants collaborate on physical tasks either in face-to-face situations or at a distance. I'm particularly interested, firstly, in discovering how participants in building tasks in virtual worlds refer to objects that they are using and come to a mutual agreement ("a common ground") about which object they are manipulating, and secondly, what communication modes are utilised in this procedure and the role that gesture plays.

What I've been reading:

Cremers, A. (1996). Reference to Objects: An Empirically based study of task-oriented dialogues. Technische Universiteit Eindhoven. Retrouvé de http://www.narcis.nl/publication/RecordID/oai:library.tue.nl:461534

Fussell, S., Setlock, L., Yang, J., Ou, J., Mauer, E., & Kramer, A. (2004). Gestures Over Video Streams to Support Remote Collaboration on Physical Tasks. Human-Computer Interaction, 19(3), 273-309. doi:10.1207/s15327051hci1903_3

Piwek, P. (2007, Janvier). Modality Choice for Generation of Referring Acts: Pointing versus Describing. Conference Item, . Retrouvé Décembre 15, 2010, de http://oro.open.ac.uk/12135/

A short presentation about my reading can be found here: Object grounding and gesture in Collaborative Physical Tasks.

The 'out of avatar experience' - Wadley and Ducheneaut

Date 2 novembre 2010 |

My particular research  interest in virtual worlds is how pedagogical communication is organised for second / foreign language learning within these environments. That is to say how the different modes available to the participants in the synthetic world work together to structure and give meaning to discourse in the target language. I hope to explore this question through studying collaborative learning scenarios in Second Life, so Wadley and Ducheneaut's paper 'The 'out of avatar experience': object focused collaboration in Second Life' was an extremely interesting read as it directly addresses the subject of multimodality and collaboration.

Study:

In this paper, the authors investigate how, in collaborative building tasks, deictic verbal references and Second Life's detachable camera are used in the coordination of the activities. In Second Life, users can move the camera independently of the position and orientation of their avatar. Whilst the user's 'in-avatar' position is visible, this 'in-camera' position is private and cannot be seen by the other users. The 'in-camera' viewpoint allows the users to gain multiple perspectives of objects more quickly than by flying or walking around them. However, Hindmarsh and al argued that because users cannot determine each others' vistas, their ability to collaborate is lessened.

In-avatar view     

In-camera view with the avatar in the same place

Method:

Wadley and Ducheneaut's study looked at two different tasks with 22 participants. For the first task, the researchers provided components of a house of which some were distinguishable whereas others required spatial reference to identify them. Each participant was given a screenshot of how the house should look when finished. Participants worked in groups of two or three over a 90 minute period to reconstruct the house. In the second task, each group was designated one helper who had a screenshot of a garden. This participant had no building rights but rather had to direct the other group members to build this scene. The researchers recorded participants' screens during the tasks as well as their audio. 'Salient events' in the data were counted with verbal references to objects being categorized by their linguistic form. These references were compared to experience levels of participants to discover patterns of use. Four participants had experience in building in SL; ten users had experience of virtual worlds and four users were novices. Two participants' data was excluded from the study due to the poor quality of recordings.

Results:    

The study found that overall task-time was divided equally between in-avatar and in-camera modes. However, experienced builders spent more time in-camera whereas novices spent more time in-avatar. The participants used their avatars to mark positions and whereas pointing and gestures were rarely used to reference objects as would be common in the physical world. Rather, the participants would often move their avatar to stand beside the object or jiggle the objects to show which object they were referring to. The experienced builders and VW users made more references to objects, and even when they were in-camera mode they used the avatars frame of reference. Novices, on the other hand, sometimes forgot these visions were not the same when trying to communicate a spatial reference. The researchers also discovered that much of the building work was divided into sub-tasks (e.g. roof and base of the house) and rarely did they observe closely-coupled collaboration with participants working simultaneously on the same sim. Perhaps because of the difficulty of communicating spatial references or a result of the way in which visual feedback is given in SL : the user can see the object being moved whereas collaborators only see the start and end positions. In terms of the verbal references made to objects, the participants most frequently referred to the objects by name or by the object's property, secondly they used relative frames -references from the speaker or listener's point of view and lastly they used intrinsic frames of reference when the object. No reference was made using cardinal or Cartesian systems.

Conclusion:

Wadley and Ducheneaut conclude that in collaborative building activities in Second Life, the users do not use their avatars as we would our bodies in the physical world to refer to objects (e.g. pointing). Rather, the users make the object more accountable including making it visible when selected, relaying its movement as it happens or changing the object to refer to it.

Researching Learning in Virtual Worlds (Peachey et al, Eds.)

Date 29 octobre 2010 |

I've been reading Researching Learning in Virtual Worlds this week. Things that spoke to me included:

- the "pain barrier" (Carr, Oliver and Burn, Ch.2)

Carr, Oliver and Burn's description of the "pain barrier" which they describe as " the moment when sufficient learning or competence has been accrued to tip the new user from bafflement and annoyance to pleaseure or even flow" (pg19). The cost of entering Second Life is certainly high and much learning research draws attention to this and the suitability of this new type of environment for learning because of the time it takes to become accustomed to the environment.

In another paper, I just re-read this week, Deutschmann, Panichi and  Molka-Danielson (2009) describe how they perhaps assumed that students were, or would soon be familiar with the affordances of SL to the detriment of the activities. They felt that the students could not concentrate on the role-playing activities because they were too involved with trying to decipher the functions of the interface and therefore the human-machine interaction was taking up too much of the working memory leaving too little for human-human interaction. This really seems to stress the importance of including introductory training sessions with the students (and teachers!) as part of any course taught in SL.

The way David Richardson approaches this in his Spoken Business English course (presented at SLanguages10, see picture) is really great: he pairs up his Scandinavian students with students from a twin University in the US, who are more experienced SL users and asks them to meet regularly during one week to be shown around. He described that typically the students were taken clothes shopping or hair shopping. The American students are given credit for describing their outings in a paper and the Scandinavian students use this as oral English practice: I think this discovery method, rather than formal introductory teaching sessions is probably really effective as personally, I feel that I am getting somewhere to breaking the pain barrier in learning by doing.

 

- the chapter entitled "The Second Life Researcher Toolkit" (Moschini, Ch.3)

This chapter sets out some considerations for the design of any research project in Second Life. These include  the type of project, the learning activity to investigate, the research questions, the venue, the participants, research methods, ethical considerations, data analysis and dissemination. Moschini draws the readers attention to SL Terms of Service and community standards and gives some advice on data collection. She recomments adquiring a SL camera kit should researchers wish to 'video' SL sessions as it allows you to produce more accurate video documentation and suggests the programmes Fraps for PC and CaptureMe for Macs.  Moschini also talks about tracking devices which were new to me. These tracking systems can keep quantitative data on avatars' origins, beahviour and frequency of visits including measuring avatars' itneractions with existing objects. Hoping to study Second Life from a multimodal viewpoint this could be of interest; although cost will most likely be an issue.  Lastly, Moschini suggested that questionnaire kiosks or simply questionnaires written out on notecards were a good data collection method to use to evaluate your study.

- the design of SL spaces (Peachey, Ch.6)

Lastly, Peachey's secrtion on key points to take into consideration in designing attractive SL spaces was interesting. These points are from informal interviews with in-world educators.

1. Ambient sounds, as long as they're not too intrusive, add richness and depth.

2. Places that reflect physical world nature, with lots of green, are seen as welcoming. The physical world generally helps visitors feel grounded and safe. (This makes me think of the kamiko island.)

3. The island should not reveal itself all at once. It should not be flat.

4. Paths that link key spaces will encourage visitors to explore. (This makes me think of Avalon's design and also the use of paths to guide visitors at the London School of Economics' French Art Exhibition in SL.)

5.Finding small things which surprise visitors encourages them to return.

The Use of Negotiation of Meaning Functions in Second Life

Date 26 octobre 2010 |

One of the presentations at Slanguages 2010 which was of great interest to me was the presentation of Sedat Akayoglu's research into the discourse patterns in terms of negotiation of meaning functions which were used during an undergraduate course entitled 'Advanced Reading and Writing' in Second Life.

The research looked at 60 undergraduate students at the Middle Eastern Technical University who were not familiar with SL before the course. The course in SL focused on writing activities and in particular on different paragraph types. These included descriptive, classification, process analysis, narrative, compare and contrast and argumentative paragraphs. The course had a home in SL but the scenarios used other SL sites as resources. For example, during the class on descriptive paragraphs, students were asked to teleport to a different location, to take a photo of this location and then produce a written descriptive of this photo or for the process analysis paragraph, students teleported to a sandpit where they worked in groups to build houses and then they were asked to write an analysis of their group building process.

During Akayoglu's research, quantitative and qualitative data was collected. Sessions were captured using Camtasia and a seperate avatar and students were asked to email their chat logs. A taxonomy developed by the researcher and Altun (2008) of the different discource functions (e.g.clarification request or confirmation check) was used to analyse the data. To facilitate the analysis stage the data was coded using the Hyper research qualitative analysis tool (v5.2).

Analysis of the data collected showed that the most frequent negotiation of meaning functions were confirmation, elaboration request and clarification request whereas reply vocabulary, reply comprehension and vocabulary check were the least frequently used functions. This apparently is similar to similar studies on text based CMC.

The presentation slides can be found by clicking on the link in the first paragraph and otherwise here is a photo of the avatars following Akayoglu's presentation.

Affordances of synthetic worlds for language learning

Date 6 octobre 2010 |

The “affordances” (Gibson, 1979) of an environment refer to the perceived and actual properties of an environment that determine how the environment can be used. Young (2001) furthered that affordances can be thought of as “possibilities for action.” This is echoed in the definition given by van Lier (2004) that affordances are the qualities of an object or an environment that allow an individual to perform an action.

In this post, I will highlight five affordances of 3D virtual learning environments as proposed by Dalgarno and Lee (2009) and compare and contrast these affordances by those proffered by Deutschmann and Panichi (Ch2 in Molka-Danielson and Deutschmann (Eds) 2009) and Henderson and al (2009). I offer examples of learning situations within 3D VLEs to illustrate each affordance.

The first affordance offered for suggestion by Dalgarno and Lee is that 3D VLEs can be used “to facilitate learning tasks that lead to the development of enhanced spatial knowledge representation of the explored domain.” The authors argue that if a learner is expected to understand real-world objects which display dynamic behaviours, experimenting with such objects in a 3D VLE will help the learner to build on personal knowledge of the object in question’s behaviours, by testing the objects’ capacities and reactions.  This could be drawn upon, for example in CLIL lessons where students are learning about content specific knowledge, e.g. forces in physics, or scripting and programming in IT, through the foreign langauge.

The second affordance proposed is that “3D VLEs can be used to facilitate experiential linguistic tasks that would be impractical or impossible to undertake in the real world.”  For example, the logistics and cost of taking a foreign language class to an airport where the target language is spoken in order to practice checking-in may make the task unfeasible. However, in a synthetic world, with the help of a ‘holodeck’ which allows one to build, save and then ‘rez’ a variety of scenarios/environments,  an airport can be ‘built’ and the task be completed by students.

Similarly, where the scenario in real-life would simply be too dangerous to attempt, synthetic worlds can offer possibilities to experience the event. ESL teacher Nergiz Kern illustrates this in her kitchen fire simulation lesson (http://slexperiments.edublogs.org/).  Using a holodeck which resembles a kitchen, Kern simulates a fire that starts in the kitchen whilst a meal is being prepared. She asks learners to react and work together to ensure the group’s safety. The simulation is realistic, reacting to learners’ actions and, thus, showing them whether their language and communication skills would suffice in such a situation. These two examples show that synthetic worlds allow learners to, firstly, practise skills and, secondly, undertake embodied learning tasks that to accomplish in the real-world would be too expensive or dangerous.

Figure: Kitchen fire simulation lesson. Image from N. Kern's post on http://slexperiments.edublogs.org 

In the former teaching examples we can also better understand the fourth affordance advocated by Dalgarno and Lee; that “3D VLEs can be used to facilitate learning tasks that lead to improved transfer of knowledge and skills to real situations through contextualization of language.” They explain that should one consider that learners apply knowledge more effectively in real-world contexts if the learning environment in which the knowledge was acquired be based upon the real context for application, the rich sensory stimuli which can be used when learning in a synthetic world offer a true possibility for situated learning.

There are parallels between this fourth affordance and an affordance suggested by Deutschmann and Panichi; that the 3D VLE of Second Life offers the language learner and educator the possibility for physical simulations of real life tasks, noting that Second Life “increase(s) the scope for authenticity” (2009:38.) The authors give the example of asking someone for directions in a virtual world, explaining that unlike in a real-life classroom, where a learner has to pretend to be lost and to follow the directions, in a synthetic world such an act can be a real act of communication. For example, asking directions to an avatar who is not part of the learning group, whilst completing a treasure hunt task to find specific locations within the virtual world. The environment allows the learner to perform a real communication act. Thus, the environment contextualises the language which may improve the transfer of such a language skill to a real situation.

The third affordance advanced by Dalgarno and Lee is that 3D VLEs can be “used to facilitate learning tasks that lead to increased intrinsic motivation and engagement.” This is suggested, due to the high degree of collaboration and personalization that the environments allow. Individuals have the possibility to co-construct the environment visually as well as socially. The ability for learners to carry out tasks collaboratively may create positive interdependence between learners which in turn acts as a stimulus for learning.  Furthermore, Dalgamo and Lee advocate that the ability for learners to establish individual goals and make personal choices as to how best achieve these in the synthetic world is an affordance of the environment which leads to increased learner engagement. In relation to this, it has been suggested by Steuer that the sense of being present in the mediated environment rather than the learner’s surroundings in the physical environment, due to the rich sensory stimuli, contributes to intrinsic motivation. I will explore this further when looking at the work of Larson in Section 4.

The final affordance advocated by the Australian researchers is that “VLEs can be used to facilitate tasks that lead to richer and /or more effective collaborative learning than is possible in 2D alternatives.” They argue that drawing on the spatial and non-verbal cues within the environments can provide learners with a greater “sense of place” and, subsequently, increase group propinquity. In a further paper, Lee adds to this point explaining that should learners have the abilities to point to virtual objects or to use the position of their avatar or of an object as reference points, the type of interactions between learners can be considered as richer and the communication, due to the possibility of using indexical items to refer to the environment, can be more efficient.

Henderson and al similarly refer to this affordance, stating, in their table of virtual world affordances for language learning, that “the immersive social environment of virtual worlds provide a range of discourse elements which are generally not available in less immersive environments” (2009:466).They suggest that synthetic worlds allow the merge of both physical and linguistic co-presence and, thus, indexical language becomes one of the discourse items which in turn is used as an aid to make communication more efficient during collaborative learning.

The last affordance that I wish to highlight in this post is the ‘affective filter affordance’ as proposed by both Henderson and al and Deutschmann and Panichi. The first researchers suggest that “virtual presence can result in reduced apprehension and embarrassment” (2009:466) and Deutschmann and Panichi further this by stating that this is due to the environment allowing the “visual representation of self via an avatar” (2009:34). Roed has shown the impact of being represented as an avatar on learner participation and learner attitude, and this is discussed in Section 4, however he does not suggest this as an affordance of the environment unlike the previous cited authors. Deutschmann and Panichi specifically describe that because the environment allows portrayal of users as avatars, actions are possible in the environment that are not possible in traditional learning settings. To illustrate this point, they describe the possibility of using the VLEs for tasks that make use of the affective and creative dimension of the environments such as tasks which encourage users to explore their identity through their avatar and play with the notion of self, both in physical but also in cultural terms. They argue that “the degree of cultural anonymity afforded by avatars creates a new/neutral ground for discussing issues which can be sensitive in language education” (2009:37).

References:

Gibson, J. J. (1971).  Notes on affordances. www.alamut.com/notebooks/a/affordances.html 
Van Lier, L. (2004). The ecology and semiotics of language leaning: A sociocultural perspective. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 
Young, M. (2001). An ecological psychology of instructional design: Learning and thinking by perceiving-acting systems. In D.H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research for educational communications and technology (pp. 169-177). The Association for Educational Communications and Technology. http://www.aect.org/edtech/ed1/07.pdf 

 

 

Second Life bibliographies

Date 6 octobre 2010 |

Bibliography Second Life -  related to learning in Second Life / virtual worlds and above all language learning.

Bibliography Avatar Identity - avatar identity's impact on communication and social interaction.

EuroCALL

Date 9 septembre 2010 |

http://www.eurocall-languages.org/

I'm currently at 2010's EuroCALL conference in Bordeaux. Yesterday was an opportunity to attend two pre-conference workshops. Firstly, an introduction to Second Life with Graham and Sally Davies. The workshop was organised using a handy 'I can' list, similar to Common European Framework for Language's Can Do statements but relevant to Second Life. The session covered some very useful tips for basic usage of Second Life, e.g. the use of the sun setting to change the luminosity of the viewer, the back arrows for teleporting to the last landmark and the escape button to refind your avatar in the middle of your screen: all helpful tips for students who are new to SL in order for classes to run smoothly. However, the most useful disovery, for me, was that of holodecks (see the one in SL on Eurocall's roof on Edunation III) and their ability to create a new setting e.g. a ball room or hotel lobby, around a group of avatars without teleporting to other locations. The possibilities to use this feature in teaching in order for situtional practice and role-play certainly will be interesting to test with language learners.

The second workshop I attended was the London School of Economic's presentation of their project 'Deja Vu'. This was a FLE project taking place in SL at Castor's Retreat. The project's aim was to prepare an art exhibition with artwork prepared by a French artist and to display these exhibits alongside written and oral commentaries prepared by the FLE students (of C1/C2 CEF level). Three student volunteers were involved over a period of six months in the building of the exhibition and all class students prepared the commentaries as part of their formal assessment. After introducng the project, the workshop focussed on hands-on skills for teachers wishing to do similar project work in SL. These included learning to build a cone which sends the avatar a notecard, learning to produce a poster display, learning to adapt basic clothing (similar t-shirts were worn by the students at the exhibition launch in order for guests who needed assistance to see who was involved in the project) and building a simple video media player. The project is a showcase piece of different departments within an institution working together (language classes, language centre, ICT for learning department) and, as the exhibit will remain in SL for at least one further year, I see it as a great resource for other FLE teachers to use with their students: worksheets could be prepared about the exhibits or student pairs could be asked to study one exhibit and then to introduce it to the group through the audio chat.

Summary: An interesting, hands-on day.

Summary: Coming of Age in Second Life - Boellstorff, T. (2008)

Date 5 août 2010 |

I’ve just finished reading anthropologist Boellstorff’s account of two years of fieldwork within Second Life ‘Coming of Age in Second Life.’ The author’s ‘stance’ in studying Second Life, from an ethnographic point of view, is to treat virtual worlds not as contrasting with the real world but with the actual. The author’s two main explorations into this idea are through, firstly, the notion that the avatars’ manipulators are never within the virtual world (cf. the elaborate section within the book about being ‘afk’ absent from keyboard) and secondly, the notion that the world represents a ‘techne’ culture where humans engage with the world and create the world illustrating a craft-based culture rather than a knowledge-based culture.

In the book, Boellstorff, or Tom Bukowski (his SL avatar), dedicates the first section to outlining the history of virtual worlds before turning to the methodological approach he undertook to conduct his fieldwork. This chapter’s underlying message is that virtual worlds must be studied in their own terms but that this does not mean ignoring ways in which ideas and practices from the actual world impinge on the virtual world but rather examining how they manifest themselves within the virtual world.

In section two, the author examines the culture of second life under the chapter headings of a) place and time b) personhood c) intimacy and d) community. Within the first sub-section, Boellstorff underlines the importance of the visual aspects of Second Life and how a sense of place, increased through landscape and home-ownership, is fundamental to residents. He also comes to understand how sociality is a key reason why the majority of residents remain in Second Life and that this is largely due to the possibility for synchronous interaction with other residents. The effects of lag and afk on social interaction are discussed.

In the second sub-section ‘Personhood,’ Boellstorff looks at senses of virtual personhood and how avatars create selfhood by their choice of name and by placing themselves on a ‘life course’. The author discusses how residents can identify ‘newbies’ and how actual life events can impact on virtual personhood, relationships and emotions. The section also looks at embodiment (and how this is used by physically disabled in the actual world) as well as race and gender.

Within the section on intimacy, the author investigates language within SL. He discusses the use of acronyms, different turn-taking practices and how residents code-switch between group instant messaging within a specific location and one-one- instant messaging between avatars (NB. At the time of writing audio chat was not incorporated into SL). Boellstorff then turns to describing how friendship is the primary relationship form with SL and that SL friendships, are often considered as more real than actual world friendships, due to the lack of prejudges based on gender, race, age etc and the idea that SL friendships are accelerated friendships due to their intensity. The different sexual communities which exist in SL are then examined as are romantic relationships.

The last chapter, within section two of the book, is dedicated to ‘community’. The main idea within this section is to reiterate that virtual worlds are places, which become sites of culture as residents interact and that with time they become communities.  Boellstorff describes how, in general, kindness is common in SL but that problems of ‘griefing’ (harassment and trouble-making) do exist. He then examines how ‘griefers’ are a specific SL community themselves. The author also looks at communities which extend over several virtual worlds and the importance of forums and blogs which constitute part of the SL community.

Finally, in section three of the book, ‘The Age of Techne’ Boellstorff addresses the issues of politics, economy and governance before concluding with a chapter on ‘the virtual’ describing what SL is and what SL is not. Perhaps the strongest messages within this final chapter are, firstly, that SL, despite drawing on aspects of the actual world, is not a simulation, as the world does not seek to become a replicate of the actual world, and secondly, that SL is not a social network. Rather, the author describes the virtual world of Second Life as a place of sociality where culture can be crafted.

Diaporama PowerPoint

Date 5 juillet 2010 |

Veuillez-trouver ici le diaporama PowerPoint qui illustrera mon séminaire sur le thème 'Comment définir et caractériser « un monde virtuel »?' (7 juillet 2010)


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