Recent technological advances have afforded great opportunities for educators to meet the increasing demands of distributed learning communities. The independent development of such virtual environments as Second Life, grant advanced tools for learning and communicating in synchronous approaches. Due to the relative newness of these virtual environments, empirical research on the use of these tools for fostering learning communities has yet to be fully developed and realized. This session tests a current research endeavor employing both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Pre-service educators will examine the potential of learning communities in virtual worlds as an platform to discuss relevant topics in first-time teaching experiences. The on-going project sees investigators and participants meeting in Second Life to discuss issues related to student teaching. Investigators employ the use of observation, interview methods, survey tools, and reflective journaling to paint an understanding of the nature of this environment as a community-building tool.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/randall_dunn/17/