Educating for sustainability in virtual worlds : does the virtual have value?

Quinn, Frances & Lyons, Terry (2013) Educating for sustainability in virtual worlds : does the virtual have value? In European Science Education Research Association Conference, 2-7 September 2013, University of Cyprus, Nicosia.

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Two key elements of education for sustainability (EfS) are action-competence, and the importance of place and experiencing the natural world. These elements emphasise and depend on the relationship between learners and their real world contexts, and have been incorporated to some extent into the sustainability cross-curricular perspective of the new Australian curriculum. Given the importance of real-world experiential learning in EfS, what is to be made of the use of multi-user virtual worlds in EfS? We went with our preservice secondary science teachers to the very appealing virtual world Quest Atlantis, which we are using in this paper as an example to explore the value of virtual worlds in EfS. In assessing the virtual world of Quest Atlantis against Australia’s Sustainability Curriculum Framework, many areas of coherence are evident relating to world viewing, systems thinking and futures thinking, knowledge of ecological and human systems, and implementing and reflecting on the consequences of actions. The power and appeal of these virtual experiences in developing these knowledges is undeniable. However there is some incoherence between the elements of EfS as expressed in the Sustainability Curriculum Framework and the experience of QA where learners are not acting in their real world, or developing connection with real place. This analysis highlights both the value and some limitations of virtual worlds as a venue for EfS.

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ID Code: 68280
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Pre-QUT publication
Keywords: Virtual worlds, Education for sustainability
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Educational Technology and Computing (130306)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Curriculum
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Deposited On: 12 Mar 2014 02:53
Last Modified: 18 May 2014 22:23

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