Archive for category Chapters
I have a new co-authored chapter out, Gillen, J., Ferguson, R., Peachey, A., & Twining, P. (2012). Seeking Planning Permission to Build a Gothic Cathedral on a Virtual Island. In G. Merchant, J. Gillen, J. Marsh, & J. Davies (Eds.), Virtual Literacies: Interactive Spaces for Children and Young People: Routledge Research in Education.
The chapter doesn’t have an abstract so, instead, I shall quote a paragraph from the conclusion:
…the debate would be of very limited interest if it merely illustrated the potential affordances of one medium rather than another. Of more significance in the end is the extent to which it clarifies or at least raises significant questions about creating the foundations for the kind of collaborative discussions that are founded in a trusting community, supportive of individuals shaping learning identities in a creative environment (Peachey, 2010). Rethinking educational practice to include more authentic literary engagements, asynchronous debates that are genuinely meaningful to participants, speak to their concerns, and relate to genuine opportunities for purposeful activity and indeed creativity is surely a worthwhile exercise (Barton, 2007; Ferguson, 2011). How then might such ideas promote reshaping the aims of learning environments, even ultimately institutions of education?
Ferguson, Rebecca and Sheehy, Kieron (2010). Breaking down the barriers. In: Sheehy, Kieron; Ferguson, Rebecca and Clough, Gill eds. Virtual Worlds: Controversies at the Frontier of Education. Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World. Hauppauge, N.Y: Nova Science Publishers.
This chapter focuses on the views of teenaged learners – a perspective that should not be controversial at all, and yet it is. Millions of young people engage in social and play activities within virtual worlds every day. We have, for the first time in history, a large population of learners who are well versed in immersive technologies and who choose to use them. As educators seek to take advantage of the affordances and popularity of virtual spaces, it is interesting to note the relative absence of voices of the learners reflecting on how these environments could be used and how they would like to see these educational spaces developed. This research focuses on the views expressed in the postings and comments of young people involved in a virtual world education project. It considers the insights that these voices offer educationalists and, in particular, the implications that arise for creating future educational environments.
Clough, Gill and Ferguson, Rebecca (2010). Virtual worlds are authentic sites for learning. In: Sheehy, Kieron; Ferguson, Rebecca and Clough, Gill eds. Virtual Worlds: Controversies at the Frontier of Education. Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World. Hauppauge, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers.
This chapter considers how ‘meaningful learning’ can be understood in the context of knowledge-age skills. Through a study conducted in Second Life™, it investigates whether terms such as ‘authentic’, ‘active’ and ‘collaborative’ can be applied to activities undertaken in virtual worlds. It examines the knowledge-age skills employed in virtual worlds, relating these skills to the characteristics of the learning environment. Finally, it asks whether the distinction between meaningful and non-meaningful learning environments is more important for the development of knowledge-age skills than the distinction between formal and informal situations or between staff-run and student-run situations.
Ferguson, Rebecca; Sheehy, Kieron and Clough, Gill (2010). Introduction: challenging education in virtual worlds. In: Sheehy, Kieron; Ferguson, Rebecca and Clough, Gill eds. Virtual Worlds: Controversies at the Frontier of Education. Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World. Hauppauge, N.Y: Nova Science Publishers.
This chapter sets a context for the book and consequently for the subsequent chapters. It highlights the rapid rise of interest in virtual worlds from educationalists and researchers and the immense scale of these new frontiers of social interaction. The chapter presents a definition of a virtual world and proposes four categories that may be used when analysing the impact of this development on education: Reproduction of the physical form, Reproduction of the values, Versioning and Counterpoint. Each of these categories is discussed in turn and the argument is developed that education within virtual worlds has the potential to change our understanding of education. This controversial position creates a backdrop for an overview of the themes of each chapter within the book. The chapter concludes that the traditional roles and identities of learners and teachers are being redefined through opportunities and experiences provided by virtual spaces. New practices are being developed, which offer insights into a pedagogy that is authentic, inclusive and enjoyable.
In 2010 our edited book was published by Nova Science.
Sheehy, Kieron; Ferguson, Rebecca and Clough, Gill eds. (2010). Virtual Worlds: Controversies at the Frontiers of Education.Hauppauge, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers.
The book deals with the challenges that arise when virtual worlds are used for learning and teaching. The ideas and practices emerging from this field are relevant to all educators, and offers insights into the development of a pedagogy that is authentic, inclusive and enjoyable. Each chapter addresses a particular issue and is illustrated with examples drawn from both research and practice. These examples cover a wide range of learning scenarios, both formal and informal, involving teenagers, school pupils, undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as a variety of lifelong learners. The issues include the importance of virtual worlds, the influence of online games and physical-world economics and politics, the relationship between avatars and learner identity, the challenges of ensuring child safety and protection, interaction between real-world and in-world environments and activities, accessibility and the development of new pedagogies.The authors’ are all teachers and learners in virtual worlds; many have been responsible for designing, programming and maintaining virtual environments.
Although my research work is focused on educational technology, my first masters degree was in history, and I haven’t moved away from it entirely. My Schome bliki shows me searching out heritage sites in Second Life, and the oldest artefacts to be found there. (If you’re wondering, the oldest artefact is a beach ball – and you can find it in every avatar’s inventory).
This research led to a book chapter
Ferguson, Rebecca; Harrison, Rodney and Weinbren, Daniel (2010). Heritage and the recent and contemporary past. In: Benton, Tim ed. Understanding Heritage and Memory. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, pp. 277–315.
This chapter considers the heritage of the recent and contemporary past, both as a specific time period taking in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and in terms of a series of themes that characterise the period – globalisation, transnationalism, and the influence of new communicative technologies. In doing so, it considers the usefulness of what some authors have described as ‘the postmodern condition’ as a way of characterising some of the social and economic changes that have given rise to the accelerated interest in heritage in the late twentieth century. The chapter looks not only at the ways in which new technologies are transforming heritage practice and our relationships with heritage, and at the ways in which these technologies might be considered to be a part of heritage itself. The case study, on heritage in the virtual ‘world’ Second Life, written by historian Daniel Weinbren and virtual worlds researcher Rebecca Ferguson, considers the ways residents have not only begun to develop their own distinctive heritage, but have also recreated and reworked real-world heritage sites within this virtual environment. The contrast of old and new highlights aspects of heritage that are important in both real life and virtual life, and raises a series of questions about the role of authenticity in heritage. The concluding section considers the implications of the case study for heritage management in the twenty-first century.
In 2009, the EDEN paper on which I was third author came out as a book chapter. My input was based on my MSc dissertation on the integration of interaction in online learning
Thorpe, Mary; Godwin, Steve and Ferguson, Rebecca (2009). ‘Technologies in use: How context and design drive their effects‘ In: Bernath, Ulrich; Szücs, András; Tait, Alan and Vidal, Martine eds. Distance and E-learning in Transition: Learning innovation, technology and social challenges. London: ISTE, pp. 595–606.
Sheehy, Kieron and Ferguson, Rebecca (2008). ‘Educational inclusion and new technologies‘ in: Scott, Thomas B. and Livingston, James I. eds. Leading Edge Educational Technology. New York: Nova Science, pp. 159–176.
The development of new technologies creates affordances with the potential to remove barriers to learning faced by young people. New technologies have therefore been seen as both a panacea for problems in developing inclusive education, and as a way of allowing a diverse range of learners to access and engage with the curriculum in its broadest sense. This chapter critically considers these views by drawing on a range of selected research. This research uses different methodologies and educational contexts to sample different levels of use, and different aspects of new technology. The case studies included here illustrate particular issues in developing and using technology. The cases studies cover: using Tablet PCs in schools, and developing educational robotics as an inclusive curriculum activity, developing pedagogic practice with morphing software and interactive software designed for dyslexic learners and Schome Park, an interactive virtual environment.
The chapter considers how technology is used in these cases and the degree to which is has supported, educational inclusion. This offers an insight into innovative educational practice and research and supports an analysis of the factors which influence the impact of potentially inclusive technology