ASU helps to connect local junior high students with Australian students in virtual world project
JONESBORO, AR – Real World meets Virtual World.
The first part of an on-going project at Arkansas State University to bring school communities from across the world together took place at Nettleton Junior High School, Friday, Nov. 9. Danny Kopp, director of distance education, Dr. Simon Hosken, adjunct professor of history, and Sofia Krsmanov, a journalism student from Australia, visited the eighth grade social studies class of teacher Beth Chatman and student teacher John Mark Pierce.
“Danny and I have been collaborating with the education department at Southern Cross University in New South Wales, Australia,” said Dr. Hosken. “We are working to develop projects that can be utilized by class teachers and students across the globe to interact in real-time by utilizing the virtual world.”
Dr. Hosken said the pair has been working together on the project for the last six months after receiving encouragement from Dr. Gina Hogue, interim associate vice chancellor for Academic Services.
Friday’s rollout introduced the students to the virtual world and Krsmanov enthusiastically answered a myriad of questions about Australia.
Lisa Jacka, an education instructor at Southern Cross said, “I'm very excited to be developing this type of association with ASU. In the new year, we will be connecting a local state primary school with a school in Arkansas, thanks to the efforts of the staff at Arkansas State.”
Jacka continued by saying the history project will include students on both sides of the Pacific Ocean working in a virtual world exploring and recreating historically significant sites relevant to their local areas.
“This partnership will strengthen the relationship between Australian and American kids,” she said.
Dr. Hosken announced that following the holiday break, Chatman has agreed to allow Arkansas history and social studies students to work on projects in the same space in the virtual world as students from Australian schools.
“This is taking the showcasing of what can be done in the virtual space to the practical level of bringing students together across the globe in real time, something that is often overlooked by developers,” concluded Dr. Hosken.
He pointed out that he and Kopp are also exploring efforts to connect with a university in the United Kingdom that offers a masters degree in education and is willing to help immerse students into the virtual world.
“These collaborative efforts can only enhance the global reach of Arkansas State University,” said Kopp.
For additional information, contact Dr. Hosken or Kopp at (870) 972-3410.