Track: Theoretical & Research Papers

Title Advanced Technology Education: A Case for Uses of Virtual Reality in Teaching Human Services
Author(s): Scott Anstadt; Ashley Burnette; Shannon Bradley
Moderator(s):Illiana Lorefield
Date Friday, March 16 15:00
Location: CAVE/EdTech Auditorium
Abstract Due to the unique applications of virtual reality in many modern contexts, Second Life (SL) offers inimitable opportunities for research and exploration. Current research in SL has examined the influence of real world social influences in online interactions and what the effects on users may be. This suggests the importance of developing an understanding of the relationship between users’ real life and their Second Life, and how the two are related. Some research has begun to reveal the effectiveness of telecommunication and computer simulation in education, especially related to social work, human services, social sciences, various forms of counseling, and the justice system. The implications for the use of virtual reality applications in several fields of human services education lend themselves to versatility and realism in the learning context and open up opportunities for more direct application of theory and practice made possible through the virtual reality medium. Key Words: Education, Virtual world, Second Life  
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Bio(s): Scott Anstadt: Dr. Scott Anstadt is currently an Assistant Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University - Division of Social Work He has taught courses in advanced clinical practice, gerontology, mental health, chemical dependency, and research and incorporates mindfulness into the classroom setting. Research interests include development of community based programs which improve the quality of life and resources for the elderly. He is also an ordained Interfaith Minister and practices and teaches a daily discipline of mindfulness meditation to enhance cognitive abilities and applies this to concepts of total positive aging.
Ashley Burnette: Ashley, 25, is a student in the MSW program at Florida Gulf Coast University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and has training in Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy and a background in working with children with life-limiting illnesses and disability. She is currently planning to work with senior citizens in the behavioral unit at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, Florida and hopes to move to Arizona after graduating to become a Licensed Social Worker. She is excited about how far technology can advance us and feels that it is important for education and social work to keep up.
Shannon Bradley: Shannon, 25 year-old Masters of Social Work student at Florida Gulf Coast University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and has spent the last three years working in Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy with children with Autism. She lives in Estero, Florida where she plans to continue her role as a social worker bringing resources, counseling, treatment and assistance to families with disabled or special needs loved ones. She believes that Second Life holds the potential to bring individuals together and offer support to a vast spectrum people, while at the same time pushing the envelope of what can be accomplished as we push toward the future.  

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