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Added Value of teAching in a virTuAl woRld
Start date: Dec 1, 2009,

The AVATAR project is inspired by the lack of ICT use in schools throughout Europe despite the possible educational benefits and social learning opportunities they promote. The project aims at increasing the level of ICT use in education by providing teachers with new methodological and pedagogical tools to enhance course curriculum, while encouraging collaborative learning and a “learning by doing” approach. The AVATAR project intends to realize a pilot training course for secondary school teachers on virtual world teaching and didactic methodology.The AVATAR training course for teachers will be delivered online in English through an E-learning platform and selected Virtual learning platform (V-learning). The course will explore virtual didactic contents and the construction of virtual objects and laboratories. The project will consist of two fundamental phases. The first phase, research, will focus on a comparative analysis of existing virtual world platforms, accessing the quality of their didactic laboratory features. The main research output will be a manual concerning the guidelines for Virtual World teaching. The second phase, experimentation, incorporates the delivery of the pilot training course for teachers, the development of the E-learning platform and construction of the V-learning platform. During the course, teachers will be responsible for designing a project work, a virtual laboratory relative to a subject matter, that will be tested on their students. After six months of experimentation, the results will identify if the project work helped improve the didactic course materials for teachers and determine if it is a suitable product to be used in education on a wide scale. The impact of the project envisages a course that will promote the use of ICT in the classroom, enhance social learning and ideally give over 100 teachers and their students new alternatives to didactic materials and teaching methods to supplement their classes.
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