Developing an enquiry-led curriculum and personalising learning by using a virtual world
The Federation of Bedlingtonshire Community High School and West Sleekburn Middle School is situated in an area of significant socio-economic deprivation in the North-East of England. In a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Newcastle University, the schools are developing a new curriculum which is based around developing enquiry to re-engage the pupils and develop higher order thinking skills.
To study the development of the enquiry skills we created a new environment in Teen Second Life. Here the pupils worked in a virtual learning environment on an island. Within this world, they carried out enquiry-based tasks similar to work carried out in the classroom. This research study compares the differences and similarities in the development of enquiry skills particularly in relation to pupil interaction and independent learning.
Findings suggest that the virtual world of Teen Second Life can increase interaction and the use of enquiry techniques which are enjoyed and encouraged by student participants. Responses from questionnaires highlight a number of further uses of Teen Second Life software to increase pupil interaction, independent learning and strands of the Harnessing Technology Strategy even further.