Date of Award

4-29-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communications Media

First Advisor

Nurhaya Muchtar, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Zachary J. Stiegler, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Mary Beth Leidman, Ph.D.

Abstract

The use of virtual world technology for language instruction is a recent development in education. The goal of this study was to provide a functioning 3D environment for German language students to experience as avatars. The student's impressions, attitudes, and perceptions of this learning activity would be recorded and analyzed to see if this might be a fruitful way to study elements of the German language in the future. This study examined the use of a virtual world language activity for high school students who are studying German. The students entered a virtual world village called Plauderstein as avatars and interacted in role-playing activities to practice their German language skills. There were 52 students in three grade levels involved in the study which took place over three weeks in a high school in central Pennsylvania. The students participated in four role-playing activities in different locations (a restaurant, hotel, train station, and campground.) The researcher conducted interviews with some of the students from each class after each role-playing activity was completed. When all the activities were complete, the researcher administered a survey to the student subjects. The results of the study showed that the students felt that this sort of learning activity in a 3D world was challenging and fun, and that they believe it is a useful adjunct to typical German classroom activities.

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