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"Integrating Second Life as a Pedagogical Tool for Interactive Instruction" icon

Integrating Second Life as a Pedagogical Tool for Interactive Instruction

Technology advances at such a rapid pace that its effective application in higher education is often overlooked and poorly researched prior to its implementation in teaching strategies. The union of technology and pedagogical relevance is a developmental process requiring a review of course goals and objectives and a consideration of whether the technological applications serve to enhance the delivery of instruction. It also requires a well-developed system for delivery of technology instruction that is integrated into the curricular schedule. A strong support staff must be available to facilitate the use of technical applications and to solve problems. This paper provides a case study of the process of designing an innovative curriculum for an introductory lab course in interior design. The course, titled Interior Design Fundamentals Laboratory, provides a conceptual and skills foundation for future interior design professionals. The pedagogy is structured as a collaborative service-learning model incorporating Second Life virtual reality as a delivery mechanism for enhancing the depth of instruction. Relevancy to the millennial generation is considered in the context of the culture of the contemporary teaching and learning environment. The potential for extending applications for global communication and professional exchange is explored. Second Life supports self-directed learning by providing product review, peer interaction, and opportunities for research and critical analysis. The practical, systematic integration of Second Life into a pedagogical framework is feasible and relevant for a wide variety of applications.

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