Using Second Life for Problem Based Learning in computer science programming

Micaela Esteves, Benjamim Fonseca, Leonel Morgado, Paulo Martins


A large number of students fail when beginning the study of computer programming, and withdraw from courses because of the many difficulties they face while trying to grasp the basic concepts. Programming education is typically based on putting problem-solving skills to use, by identifying a problem, developing an algorithm to tackle it, and coding that algorithm with some programming language, whose syntax and semantics must be learned. Extant research has highlighted the challenges associated with learning/teaching a programming language. However, researchers are still struggling to provide effective guidance to practitioners in this field. We believe that a better understanding of the teaching/learning process in the virtual world Second Life is a potential avenue for using this environment in classes. In this experimental research, we observed and reflected upon the problems that came up and then presented and discussed the results. We conclude with implications for future research and for practicing teachers.


action research; project-based learning; collaborative virtual environments; learning programming; context

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