The Virtual Hawaiian Lo‘i: Applying Second Life to Cultural and Environmental Education

Correa, S. Kālewa
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Ample evidence suggests that both experiential and theoretical learning is necessary for subject mastery and retention. However with traditional Hawaiian kalo (taro) farming instructional techniques there is often sufficient field time but a lack of formal environmental education that accompanies the place-based learning. The Virtual Lo‘i instructional design module is focused on providing an alternate learning space for the practice of kalo variety recall within a simulated three-dimensional lo‘i (wetland taro patch) environment. The modules’ educational setting is a hybrid of culturally based and immersive designed elements within Second Life to encourage user reference engagement and environmental literacy. Image driven immersive-based design and plant family grouping techniques were used as the design foundation for the instructional design module. The data was collected using pre- and post- recall testing and attitudinal surveys over a two-month period, consisting of fourteen participants across five age groups and three Hawaiian Islands. Preliminary testing results suggest that virtual environments could provide a space for environmental education and traditional knowledge transference.
Cultural Design, Environmental Education, Place-based Learning, Kalo Farming, Second Life, Virtual Learning Environments
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