Real Classrooms in Virtual Worlds: Scaffolding Interdisciplinary Collaborative Writing

  • Reneta D. Lansiquot
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 17)


This chapter advocates the use of a mixed methodology approach to classroom-based research while highlighting a related, three-year study that used virtual worlds to facilitate writing. Second Life (SL), a three-dimensional virtual world created entirely by its residents, afforded students the ability to quickly and collaboratively model scientific processes. The inherent social nature of this virtual space served as an effective mode of fostering collaborative writing, scaffolding academic research, and lowering writing apprehension in interdisciplinary technical writing courses. Additionally, the adaptive attributes of this virtual world reveal the role of student avatars as intelligent agents who can use model-centered instruction and design layering in this learning system.


Virtual World Scientific Process Hydropower Plant Hydroelectric Power Plant Second Life 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, L.W., Krathwohl, D.R. (eds.): A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. Pearson, New York (2000)Google Scholar
  2. Anderson-Levitt, K.M.: Ethnography. In: Green, J.L., Camilli, G., Elmore, P.B. (eds.) Handbook of Complementary Methods in Education Research, pp. 279–296. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah (2006)Google Scholar
  3. Bonsor, K.: How hydropower plants work (2001), (accessed December 19, 2011)
  4. Brown, A.L.: Design experiments: Theoretical and methodological challenges in creating complex interventions in classroom settings. Journal of the Learning Sciences 2(2), 141–178 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bruner, J.: The culture of education. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1996)Google Scholar
  6. Bruner, J.: Acts of meaning. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1990)Google Scholar
  7. Bruner, J.: Actual minds, possible worlds. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1986)Google Scholar
  8. Bruner, J.: Going beyond the information given. Norton, New York (1973)Google Scholar
  9. Bruner, J.: Toward a theory of instruction. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1966)Google Scholar
  10. Campbell, D.T., Stanley, J.C.: Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. Rand McNally, Chicago (1963)Google Scholar
  11. Chatterji, M.: Evidence on “What Works”: An argument for extended-term mixed methods (ETMM) evaluation designs. Educational Researcher 34(5), 14–24 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cobb, P., Confrey, J., diSessa, A., Lehrer, R., Schauble, L.: Design experiments in educational research. Educational Researcher 32(1), 9–13 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Connelly, F.M., Clandinin, D.J.: Narrative inquiry. In: Green, J.L., Camilli, G., Elmore, P.B. (eds.) Handbook of Complementary Methods in Education Research, pp. 477–487. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah (2006)Google Scholar
  14. Cook, T.D., Means, B., Haertel, G.D., Michalchik, V.: The case for randomized experiments. In: Haertel, G.D., Means, B. (eds.) Evaluating Educational Technology: Effective Research Designs for Improving Learning, pp. 15–37. Teachers College Press, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  15. Daly, J.A., Miller, M.D.: The empirical development of an instrument to measure writing apprehension. Research in Teaching of English 9, 242–249 (1975)Google Scholar
  16. Frederiken, N.: Implication of cognitive theory for instruction in problem solving. Review of Educational Research 54(3), 363–407 (1984)Google Scholar
  17. Geertz, C.: The interpretation of cultures. Basic Books, New York (1973)Google Scholar
  18. Gibbons, A.(n.d.): Model-centered instruction and design layering (2011), (accessed December 19, 2011)
  19. Gibbons, A.S., Bunderson, C.V., Olsen, J.B., Robertson, J.: Work models: Still beyond instructional objectives. Machine-Mediated Learning 5(3&4), 221–236 (1995)Google Scholar
  20. Goldman, R.: Video perspectivity meets wild and crazy teens: A design ethnography. Cambridge Journal of Education 34(2), 157–178 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goldman-Segall, R.: Points of viewing children’s thinking: A digital ethnographer’s journey. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah (1998)Google Scholar
  22. Lansiquot, R.D., Blake, R.A., Liou-Mark, J., Dreyfuss, A.E.: Interdisciplinary problem-solving to advance STEM success for all students. Peer Review 13(3), 19–22 (2011)Google Scholar
  23. Lansiquot, R.D.: Making the virtual real: Using virtual learning communities for research in technical writing. In: Daniel, B.K. (ed.) Handbook of Research on Methods and Techniques for Studying Virtual Communities: Paradigms and Phenomena, pp. 224–232. Information Science Reference, New York (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lansiquot, R.D.: Advanced technical writing: Blending virtual communities (Special issue on blended learning). The Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology 5(1), 57–63 (2009)Google Scholar
  25. Lansiquot, R., Perez, M.: A student’s guide to virtual worlds. Poster Session Presented in WCEMHT, Honolulu, HI (June 2009)Google Scholar
  26. Lave, J., Wenger, E.: Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McCandliss, B.D., Kalchman, M., Bryant, P.: Design experiments and laboratory approaches to learning: Step toward collaborative exchange. Educational Researcher 32(1), 14–16 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Padmanabhan, P.: Exploring human factors in virtual worlds. Technical Communication 55(3), 270–276 (2008)Google Scholar
  29. Reed, W.M., Burton, J.K., Kelly, P.P.: The effects of writing ability and mode of discourse on cognitive capacity engagement. Research in Teaching of English 19(3), 283–297 (1985)Google Scholar
  30. Schmid, R.: Real text in virtual worlds. Technical Communication 55(3), 277–284 (2008)Google Scholar
  31. Spiro, R.J., Feltovich, P.J., Jacobson, M.J., Coulson, R.L.: Cognitive flexibility, constructivism, and hypertext: Random access instruction for advanced knowledge acquisition in ill-structured domains. Educational Technology 31(5), 24–33 (1991)Google Scholar
  32. Spiro, R.J., Jehng, J.: Cognitive flexibility and hypertext: Theory and technology for the non-linear and multidimensional traversal of complex subject matter. In: Nix, D., Spiro, R. (eds.) Cognition, Education, and Multimedia. Erlbaum, Hillsdale (1990)Google Scholar
  33. Suárez-Orozco, M.M., Qin-Hilliard, D. (eds.): Globalization: Culture and education in the new millennium. University of California Press, Berkeley (2004)Google Scholar
  34. Tashakkori, A., Teddlie, C.: Mixed methodology: Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches: Applied Social Research Methods Series, vol. 46. SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks (1998)Google Scholar
  35. Vygotsky, L.S.: Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1978/2006)Google Scholar
  36. Weiss, C.H.: Evaluation, 2nd edn. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River (1998)Google Scholar
  37. Yin, R.K.: Case study methods. In: Green, J.L., Camilli, G., Elmore, P.B. (eds.) Handbook of Complementary Methods in Education Research, pp. 111–122. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah (2006)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York City College of TechnologyThe City University of New YorkBrooklynUSA

Personalised recommendations