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.