Sat 16 Sept, 11am SL | 6pm GMT


The recording of this session is available at  http://lancelot.adobeconnect.com/p6fi43rbl5j/.

If 3D Virtual Worlds have been around for a while they appear to slowly rise among research interests along with other emerging technologies such as mobile learning in the area of language learning. The main features of their affordance revolve around socialisation (presence, communication and interaction), immersion (space, exploration and inter-cultural discovery) and freedom (learners’ indentity, building and access to the world). The virtual microcosm of Second Life compared to Open Sim is so cosmopolitan and the access to linguistic and cultural groups and environments so easy that it represents an ideal platform for experiential language learning in context. (Kolb)

For the last three years, the developers of the Arcachon sim have endeavoured to replicate the main idiosynchracies of the South West region of France, through architectural and environmental features but also through its hospitable community and humourous interactive objects to play with, socialise and learn. 

WIth regard to French as a Foreign language, the wealth of details of this sim is such that it naturally draws natural language processing by immersing learners in an  authentic  cultural and linguistic environment and therefore promotes experiential learning (Kolb, 1984). This immersive experience stimulate learners to attain their personal Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1978) and go beyond formally acquired knowledge by using language naturally with meaningful interactions with the environment they are in and the group they belong (Krashen, 1998).

The approach represented here is essentially communicative in-world but proposes a written extension on Google Docs to allow for collaborative and both synchronous and asynchronous discussion. At a later stage as a learning management system (Moodle) will be developed to offer learners an asynchronous platform to discuss, collaborate and access course material anywhere anytime.

Edith Paillat / Cyber Placebo

Edith Paillat is the language technology specialist at Victoria University of Wellington. Her role is to find solutions for the integration of technology is the teaching of 12 languages taught at Victoria. She provides support and hands-on training to teaching staff and students using the computer language labs she implemented in 2005 and 2008 consecutively. She is an experienced teacher and teacher of French as a foreign language. She has taught in Vietnam, England, Japan and New Zealand before taking her current role in 2002.

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