IJLM Example 3: surrogate avatar

by annick
Last updated 10 years ago

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IJLM Example 3: surrogate avatar

A student used an avatar to cope with his public speaking anxiety. Faced with a student who was too anxious to speak in front of the class, the teacher instructed him to design a speech given by an... avatar.

A teacher found a specific use for avatars - help a student get rid of speech anxiety! Click on the video below to hear the teacher's story on how the student presented his speech via the avatar animation. The teacher finds avatars useful for similar extreme cases of confidence building. This interview reports on a case where the avatar-based application took on a role that a student was unable to fulfil, thus helping the student through a phase of confidence building. The teacher relates below how a student used the avatar-based application to tackle a public speaking assignment – which he would have given up on without the help of the application. Finally the teacher describes how the avatar helped the student transition from a computer-aided presentation to his own presentation.

Watch the animation designed by the student as his speech.

Example 3: Avatar to overcome my fear

Excerpt from the teacher interview:"In my class I used avatars with students who lacked confidence and did not want to sand up in front of their peers. In the case of this student I showed him the website, because I thought it was an appropriate way to present what he had just done, he downloaded it at home and away he went. The next morning he turned up with a MARVIN presentation. I did not show him how to use it - he worked it out himself. And it was great! He sat at the back of the class, listening to the avatar talking his words using his voice. At the end of it he thought: “this is fine, I actually sound OK and that was the last time he had to use it”. The next time he got up, he was by himself and talked directly to the class."

The combined Reflective Scales Analysis and additional observational data show that this student reached high reflective levels. The latter were complemented by change in behaviour (following the initial Avatar speech assignment, the student no longer needed the help of the transitional electronic object). The teacher notes the transformational value of the learning experience in how once the student's aimed attained (overcome the fear of public speaking) the student left the avatar behind and took over from there..

Click here for the Diver analysis of the animated clip


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