In November last year three LCL researchers presented a paper at a blended-reality multi-location international conference. Entitled “SLACTIONS 2012 Research conference on virtual worlds – Life, imagination, and work using metaverse platforms”, the conference was organised by the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal, the University of Minho, Portugal and the University of Texis-Austin, USA.
The fourth in a series of blended-reality conferences that began in 2009, it was held simultaneously in four physical locations in Portugal, New Zealand, Ireland and Brazil and attended by participants and presenters from around the world at a virtual conference centre owned by the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Duoro in Second Life. The paper by Scott Grant, Hui Huang and Sarah Pasfield-Neofitou was one of four papers with the highest assessment from reviewers prior to the conference and was subsequently awarded 2nd place by the conference’s judging committee. As a result of the award the paper will also be published in the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research early in 2013.
Originating out of research conducted under a LCNAU (Languages & Cultures Network for Australian Universities) seed grant, the paper entitled ” Language Learning in Virtual Worlds: The Role of FLA and Technical Anxiety ” looked at the issue of language performance anxiety experienced by many learners of a foreign language. Using data gathered from one of a number of regular lessons held for Monash Chinese language students in Second Life, the paper investigated the levels of performance anxiety experienced by students in the virtual environment and compared and contrasted them with levels experienced in real classrooms. Further analysis of any anxiety experience by participants in relation to technical skills required to participate in lessons in the virtual environment was also carried out to determine if any positive findings for reduced language performance anxiety might be offset by increased technical anxiety. The paper found that there was indeed a reduced level of foreign language anxiety in the virtual environment with no negative offset from technical anxiety.