Edutainment - a Virtual World
It might be interesting to see a virtual avatar of the instructor popping in and out like the Cheshire cat giving minimal guidance where appropriate.The tangible benefits of this type of environment can be many. The environment can be set up to allow learners to go back or retrace their steps in a process of discovery to correct an error or go to a higher level.
The course would have to be relevant and provide a level of entertainment to keep student motivated and engaged. Not all content has to be entertaining in the real world.
So is there a stimuli balance?
Are students becoming overly stimulated with technology?
As far as edutainment being a legitimate philosophy, yes I feel it could be in certain instances. At the same time, it is a gimmick that will have insurmountable rip-offs trying to support their claims just to gain money. Assessment is the key to the legitimacy. Students will have to show a level of aptitude and accomplish set goals. But the goals need to be justifiable and open to assessment and change.
With Multi User Virtual Environments MUVEs/Second Life (sometimes called virtual worlds), the idea that one can create their own environment that fits their needs and future needs is an exciting field. However, I do see where it could be negatively used, for instance in “bullying”, or cyber stalking in ways unimaginable; the risk of loss of privacy are high in the virtual environments.
We have to keep pedagogy as our principal focus rather than technologies. It is how you use technology that matters.