Date: 06 Aug 2011

Presence in a Collaborative Science Learning Activity in Second Life

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Abstract

Multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) are surrounded by hype regarding their impact on and potential in education. Many issues regarding the educational affordances of MUVEs and the learning experience of users are still under research. Presence is an important phenomenon users experience when interacting with and via virtual environments and seems to play an important role in learning. This chapter presents empirical data gathered from an exploratory study regarding a problem-based physics learning activity in Second Life (SL). Our aim is to gain knowledge and experience about the sense of presence (spatial and social) that emerges while students collaborate in MUVEs. Students (n = 30) collaborated “in-world” to solve a problem. Data were gathered using the Temple Presence Inventory questionnaire. Results indicate higher scores of social presence than spatial presence. Correlations were found between dimensions of presence, subjective computer expertise, and tendency to become involved in activities.