Video Ergo Cogito: A Quasi-experimental Study of Teaching and Learning Visual Literacy, in Virtual Worlds
Peter Galante, Cardinal Stritch University, United States
Cardinal Stritch University . Awarded
Within the context of American colleges and universities is a presumption that the role and importance of visual communication is secondary or peripheral to linguistic ability (Matusitz, 2005). Western culture has historically placed strong emphasis on language but within contemporary social practice, mainstream society is turning away from reading and moving towards more immediate means of conveying information. Visual communication is playing a greater role in how individuals receive that information. As the influence of visual elements increases in contemporary culture, the field of education will be compelled to seek a balance between verbal and visual competencies (Stokes, 2002). Kellner (1998) proposes that multiple literacies are necessary to meet the challenges of today's society, literacies that include textual literacy, visual literacy, cultural and social literacy.
This quasi-experimental study examined the effectiveness of virtual photography in massively multi-user virtual environments (MUVE) as a pedagogy for teaching and learning visual literacy. Linden Labs Second Life (SL), a persistent metaverse, that has been defined as a parallel universe or world, in effect, analogous to planet earth, was selected as the virtual world learning environment (VWLE).
The researcher posited if VWLE's, such as SL, provide a sufficiently rich or parallel experience to real world (RW), without RW constraints or limitations, the affordances of the virtual world, may have the potential to be more effective as a pedagogy for teaching visual literacy then RW. The results suggested that there were no significant differences in the learning of RW control groups as compared to SL experimental groups. The study found that affordances of the virtual world, mainly the elimination of RW time, weather and location constraints, which should have enhanced learning outcomes, were negated multiple countervailing factors. The study noted that 61% of participants entered SL, with an unfavorable expectation and that 80%, of the participants concluded the study, with a negative or unfavorable perception of SL. Primary factors contributing to the reported unfavorable experience included: technical issues with the SL interface, nudity and/or sexual activity, and being disturbed by contact with other avatars.
Galante, P. Video Ergo Cogito: A Quasi-experimental Study of Teaching and Learning Visual Literacy, in Virtual Worlds. Ph.D. thesis, Cardinal Stritch University.
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