The Effects of Virtual Worlds on Improving Students’ Communication and Collaboration Skills
AbstractKnowing how to communicate in the target language is the main goal of most language learners. Also, it is very challenging for teachers to bring real world communication experience in classroom settings where English is not the native language. Hence, in this paper I explored the role of virtual worlds in promoting communicational and collaboration opportunities to non-native speakers of English. In my research, I have described how virtual worlds improve communicative and collaborative skills of non-native speakers of English. Moreover, I have investigated how virtual worlds can create a learner centered environment where students take control of their own language production. And third, I have explored how the affordances of virtual worlds can enhance non-native English students’ communication and collaboration by engaging them in contextual and authentic environment. I have analyzed the data collected at South East European University where I examined the interactions of two groups of undergraduate non-native English students, one in normal classroom setting (where students performed a tour guide role play) and the other one using a virtual world called Second Life (SL) (where students communicated with English native speakers). For this research, I used exploratory research methodology. Through classroom and computer lab observations, audio and video recordings and pre and post study surveys I gathered data that clearly indicate the ways that SL can be used to create opportunities for communication and collaboration
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