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Creating and exploring a desert ecology site on the OpenSim world with middle-school students

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Using participant observation methods, I explored middle-school students’ visual literacy introduction to the OpenSim Virtual World, which was hosted by the University of British Columbia. Using their school name theme of the Sonoran Desert, they drew and uploaded their favourite desert creatures and plants on square easel forms/prims, built some dome-structured caves as an installation site, and added pop-up notecards about animal symbolic meanings, as a kind of visual/verbal literacy. Besides overcoming initial technical problems and experimenting with the Build/Design tools, they contacted biology information sites, to learn about desert conditions, animal plight (poaching/predator/prey/pesticide problems), plant acclimatization, and differing opinions about intervention. When students are guided and given appropriate digital art tools, they can create new worlds and explore ecological problems.
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Keywords: Build tools; desert; ecology; flora/fauna; literacy; virtual world

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Arizona State University, United States

Publication date: September 1, 2016

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  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.

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