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Virtual Worlds for Language Learning

From Theory to Practice


Randall Sadler

This book focuses on one area in the field of Computer-Mediated Communication that has recently exploded in popularity – Virtual Worlds. Virtual Worlds are online multiplayer three-dimensional environments where avatars represent their real world counterparts. In particular, this text explores the potential for these environments to be used for language learning and telecollaboration. After providing an introduction and history of the area, this volume examines learning theories – both old and new – that apply to the use of Virtual Worlds and language learning. The book also examines some of the most popular Virtual Worlds currently available, including a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each. The Virtual World of Second Life is explored in depth, including research examining how users of this world are using language there, and how they are using it to enhance their second language skills.


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Appendix: Instructions for Building Task 153


153 Appendix: Instructions for Building Task While writing instructions may not seem to be directly connected to the building task for the students, this is a skill that is applicable to a number of fields in education and business. Anyone who has tried to put together a bookcase that has 135 pieces, and ended up with 15 “spare” items and a very shaky bookcase knows that writing clear instructions—whether for putting together a bookcase, programming a computer, or building an item in SL—is an important skill. Writing Instructions Although the exact way that instructions are written may vary de- pending on the purpose of the instruction (e.g., baking a cake versus installing RAM on a computer) and the people they are written for (e.g., children versus adults), most instructions share some elements in common, as shown below: 1. A Clear Title: this should explain: What you are writing about, why you are writing. 2. Good Organization: This gives your readers a roadmap to fol- low. 3. Introduction: The topic you will discuss, your reasons for writ- ing, the number of steps that it will take. 4. Body: The steps to follow, clear explanation, graphics (if needed). If you do use graphics: Could include: Drawings Photos Should be: simple and clear labeled 154 5. Conclusion. 6. Instructions for how to get help if your reader cannot follow the instructions. 7. An Easy to follow Style: Number your steps instead of using bullets, use highlighting techniques (e.g., Boldface, italics, differ-...

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