PEDAGOGICAL OPPORTUNITIES AND LIMITATIONS OF VIRTUAL WORLDS-INTEGRATION OF SECOND LIFE IN EDUCATION OF STUDENTS FROM HUMANITARIAN SPECIALTIES
The COVID-19 epidemic has prompted higher education institutions to move to e-learning, regardless of their technological, organizational and pedagogical readiness. E-learning is usually conducted through virtual learning environments. They provide a set of tools for creating and publishing e-resources, conducting real-time video lectures, providing organizational information about learning, assessment, communication, uploading of students‘ work electronically, assessment by peers, work in different distribution and size groups of students, tracking personal progress of each student and the quality of the course as a whole. Despite the benefits of e-learning, most participants experience feelings such "isolation", "lack of relationship with colleagues", "emotional coldness". This is especially evident for students from Arts and Humanities specialties. The present paper offers a possible solution of this problem based on the integration of virtual worlds in the VLE system. Second Life was chosen as the platform, which provides many free opportunities in a variety of educational contexts. Some of them are: the teachers are part of the learning group; participants learn together and from each other; sense of community/atmosphere; independence of the learning process from time and space; exchange of ideas; social life; multisensory interaction; self-construction of identity through an avatar; creating a learning context; easy access to various learning resources.
Pedagogical foundation of educational usage of SL is based on the paradigm of social constructivism of Lev Vygotsky. Learning process in SL is based on learning from other people, through other people and through interaction with the environment (virtual and social). Based on this paradigm, SL implements a number of learning approaches: inquiry learning, experiential learning, learning through collaboration and interaction, authentic learning, learning through role-playing games and simulations, gamification. The very nature of SL encourages authentic learning, in which the student acquire new knowledge and updates existing ones by performing actions in a close to real professional environment, for which he prepares and solves real problems in the field of his or her future profession.
The lack of real contact and the transition to fully e-distance learning caused by COVID-19 create psychological challenges for students and university tutors that can be overcome by integrating virtual worlds into the learning process. In this paper, we will propose a model for integration of SL in fully distance learning course for students from humanitarian specialties.
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