Does immersion really matter? This is the question that Eloise of Literature Alive! asks in her 2007 post, “Literature Alive! in Second Life,” the subject of today’s ProfoundNet search. Here’s a snippet:
…When was the last time you remember a student, voluntarily, spending 4 hours working and learning on a Sunday evening? Reading, scouring in fact, the provided texts, expanding from that to research texts on the internet, determined to get every last little drop from the class? Dashing in and out of the “classroom” (the Poe House in this case) to where the teacher was waiting, exploring props, assigning them to stories, debating the story and how the content was at odds with it in places and so on. […]
I don’t think there is anyone out there that would suggest it’s better to teach students who aren’t engaged compared to those that are engaged. Engagement and immersion are not synonyms, at least I don’t think so. But, I have yet to see a student who becomes immersed who does not also become engaged.
The premise behind LiteratureAlive!, that visual, tactile, and aural experiences contribute to engagement in learning, is one that sometimes separates students in various disciplines. People who are “hands-on” learners may be destined to enjoy only subjects that focus on the tactile, like biology or archaeology.
Programs like LiteratureAlive! remind us that there are ways to allow all types of learners to enjoy the study of literature. After all, reading the American Romantics is one thing, but seeing Walden Pond and walking up the path to the Old Manse is another experience entirely.
Thanks, Eloise, for your thought-provoking post.
…A little more information about LiteratureAlive!: This post from early 2007 lists the goals of the organization. Also visit the LiteratureAlive! wiki or the Second Life virtual community that facilitates LiteratureAlive!.