Milions of people all over the world are spending their leisure time in virtual learning environments, especially in virtual worlds. Virtual worlds present possibilities for learning in a virtual learning environment. Virtual worlds are persistent virtual environments in which people experience others as being there with them and where they can interact with them. How do classic and children’s museums keep up with virtual worlds and educational trends? Virtual worlds for adults (e.g. SecondLife, There, Lively…) and children (e.g. Whyville, Habbo, Webkinz...) have a great potential of learning and teaching practices for enriching wider public and engendering collective experience and collaboration. Informal learning environments such as virtual worlds offer children and adults various intellectual activities and sensory activities or flow experiences, according to Csikszentmihalyi. Above all, children and adults can explore things and learn in a different way and from a different perspective. What kind of learning possibilities do the educational virtual worlds enable the children? The paper will analyze learning possibilities and opportunities in selected educational virtual worlds for children (e.g. Whyville, HandiPoints…) which can be useful for children’s museums.
Virtual worlds can introduce quality learning environments and expand educational impact. If museums want to be socially inclusive they have to offer wide-ranging resources also in virtual worlds.
|Keywords:||Children’s Museum, Virtual Worlds, Flow Experience, Educational Games, Informal Learning, Interaction|
Assistant, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Slovenia
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