Second Life and the role of educators as regulators
Warren, Ian, Palmer, Darren, King, Tanya and Segrave, Stephen 2008, Second Life and the role of educators as regulators, in ASCILITE 2008 : Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology?, ASCILITE, [Melbourne, Vic.], pp. 1079-1089.
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Regulation, governance and harms stemming from the use of virtual worlds and other Massive Multi Media Online Role Playing Games (MMMORPGs) in higher education, are poorly understood and under-researched issues. Second Life, developed by Linden Labs, provides users with a series of generic ‘terms of service’ and codes of conduct, yet place the bulk of responsibility on individual users or groups to report misbehaviour or develop their own behavioural codes, enforcement procedures and punishments suited to their particular needs. There is no guidebook to assist users in the processes of risk identification and management. As such, the various benefits of MMMORPG technologies could be offset by the risks to users and user-groups from a range of possible harms, including the impact of actual or perceived violence within teaching and learning settings.
While cautioning against the direct translation of real-world regulatory principles into the governance of virtual worlds, this paper suggests theoretical and practical guidance on these issues can be taken from recent criminological developments. Using Lawrence Lessig’s (1999) landmark work on cyber-regulation as a starting point, this paper examines the literature on video-game violence to illustrate the need for educators show awareness of both real and perceived risks in virtual worlds as a core element of an emerging educational pedagogy. We identify how the multiple roles of the virtual-world educator become useful in framing this pedagogy to improve student learning, to dispel myths about the risks of immersive technologies and advocate for their adoption and acceptance in the educational community.
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