A sea of colour: using virtual worlds to inspire and empower

In October 2010, I visited Gothenburg to present my paper ‘A sea of colour: using virtual worlds to inspire and empower young learners’ at the 11th Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR): Internet Research 11.0: Sustainability, Participation, Action.

Section of the extended abstract

The researcher took the findings of this project to a local school, where pupils, parents and staff were involved in the creation of a future vision of the school. The focus of adult input was on learning and teaching resources and on clear markers of attainment such as success in examinations, sport, competitions and musical performance. The children added a new perspective to the debate – they wanted to learn in an attractive, comfortable and exciting setting. Trees, flowers and other features of the surrounding environment were a major theme of children’s input – a theme almost entirely absent from adult input.

Thus the use of Internet forums and virtual settings has practical implications for the empowerment of young people. The development of a virtual island has inspired changes in the real world, where the young people have already planted a sea of spring colour that brings joy to their school community.

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