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A Virtual Training Environment Essay

1791 words - 7 pages

Technology has become a huge part of the way we live. As the years move on, we are becoming more technologically advanced, and part of that progression is due to the fact that we are using avenues that we would have overlooked 20 years ago. One of these avenues is the use of video games in nonconventional ways, like supplementing a real class room for a virtual one, to help ease some of the social anxiety of those with Aspersers and Autism, and to assist in the training our troops, utilizing a safe and cost effective environment. Unfortunately, these methods have been questioned, by those weary of the dominant presence technology has taken in this new generation of youth; however, all of these pathways are helping solve a real problem with aid of virtual environments.
One innovative way virtual environments have been implemented is the use of video games to aid in making learning and teaching situations more comfortable. This new style of education is made possible with the use of virtual classrooms in the massive multiplayer online game, MMO, Second Life (SL). Through the use of this fully virtual world, we are now able to teach tangible skills to others. In “Using Second Life to enhance classroom management practice in teacher education”, Jennifer Mahon et al. explored this theory. They established that, “Overall, the results of this study suggest that using SL for a simulation of classroom management is promising (130)”. Because is it always easier to learn in an atmosphere where one feels relaxed and comfortable, this use of Second Life shows great potential. By using online games this way it is allowing not only new teachers, but veteran teachers as well to gain or brush up on skills they need as educators interacting with children. Utilizing this unique way to head a classroom is going to help our instructors be successful in a teaching career; moreover, we are not putting an unready educator in front of our youth, and as a result of that our youth will be more likely to respect and trust that they are in capable hands. The use of virtual classrooms is proven effective even at a young age. According to Mahon et al., “Girod and Girod (2005) reported on a simulation where teacher education students were assigned to teach six virtual K-12 students and then measured learning outcomes…. The authors found that the simulation had a positive, significant affect … [sic] 123-124”. This is additional evidence that use of technology in this fashion is a leap in the right direction. As a society we are moving forward to enrich the academic learning process for all ages; therefore our children will be at an academic learning advantage, well versed in the advancement of technology, and since this learning style takes a gaming approach, our youth will once again get excited to learn. By blending the technology used in video games and the knowledge found in books we have created a new hybrid way of learning that we will continue to perfect.
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