Presence Pedagogy: Building Communities of Practice in Virtual Worlds
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As the use of 3D immersive virtual worlds in higher education expands, it is important to examine which pedagogical approaches are most likely to bring about success. AET Zone, a 3D immersive virtual world in use for more than eight years, is one embodiment of pedagogical innovation that capitalizes on what virtual worlds have to offer to social aspects of teaching and learning. This presentation will focus on this approach, known as Presence Pedagogy (P2), a way of teaching and learning grounded in social constructivist theory. In it, the concepts of presence, building a true community of practice, and constructing an online environment which fosters collaboration for reflective learning are paramount. Unlike learning communities that might emerge from a particular course taught under more traditional circumstances, students engaged in a P2 learning environment become members of a broader community of practice in which everyone in the community is a potential instructor, peer, expert, and novice-all of whom learn with and from one another.