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Teachers' Perceptions of the Benefits and Challenges of Three-Dimensional Virtual Worlds for Social Skills Practice


Educational Media International Volume 53, Number 3, ISSN 0952-3987


This case study describes how a systematic 7-Step Virtual Worlds Teacher Training Workshop guided the enculturation of 18 special education teachers into three-dimensional virtual worlds. The main purpose was to enable these teachers to make informed decisions about the usability of virtual worlds for students with social skills challenges, such as students with autism. A 10-point rating scale was used to measure the perceived usability of virtual worlds for social skills practice. Although the mean usability was higher after the intervention, a Wilcoxon signed-rank test did not reveal a statistically significant difference between the mean ratings (p = 0.14). A majority of the participants (76%) tended to be supportive of the idea of using virtual worlds in special education. Three key themes emerged from the qualitative instruments, namely, "Virtual World Pedagogy," "Virtual World Benefits," and "Virtual World Challenges," encompassing 18 codes overall. This article focuses on the benefits and challenges of virtual worlds for social skills practice as perceived by special education teachers. Social skills practice and repeated practice opportunities in a stress-reduced environment emerged as the key benefits, although these affordances were affected by various challenges. The study concludes with suggestions for future research for special education purposes.


Nussli, N. & Oh, K. (2016). Teachers' Perceptions of the Benefits and Challenges of Three-Dimensional Virtual Worlds for Social Skills Practice. Educational Media International, 53(3), 198-215. Retrieved March 30, 2023 from .

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