The Dynamics of Cultural Awareness: A Virtual Reality with Teachers
Prof. Georgetta Myhlhousen-Leak.
Virtual instruction highlights the positive effects of process oriented instruction in cultural learning in a distance education environment. The complexity of culture can only be superficially addressed in a formal or traditional instructional setting. However, through the use of technology and the creation of a virtual culture students were able to experience what is meant by the importance of understanding cultural differences. Participants in the course included licensed teachers, pre-service teachers, and para-professionals who were seeking an ESL endorsement or emphasis. Given their past experiences, interest and/or education level it would be expected that this population would have greater understanding of culture and its influence. However, finding from this study suggest that their understanding was superficial and greatly enhanced by their virtual experience. A multifaceted culture project was designed that implemented the used learning communities to simulate the cultural diversity of a classroom. The project focused on providing the group members with multiple opportunities to decide to drawing on the strengths and resources of individual group members. Project guidelines required each group to selected a culture and report on its informal and formal aspects. This report was to be completed through a process of steps that required individual and group accountability and cooperation. Each member of the group assumed individual responsibilities as well as a group responsibility. The final product of the culture project was a group production capturing the culture they researched using technology. The project debriefing revealed that students had experienced significant changes in their conceptualizations of culture.
Prof. Georgetta Myhlhousen-Leak (United States)
William Penn University
I currently instruct education and psychology based courses as an Assistant Professor of Education at William Penn University. Current projects I am involved in include the development of William Penn leadership core curriculum, and formation of a nationally recognized academic leadership honors programs for freshman, development of in-service materials for the integration of technology in education, and the implementation of a distance education program for improving quality of teachers and paraprofessional in Iowa by providing them with instruction in ESL and an endorsement. Though I have had my diverse experiences in my life from being a mom, to being a nurse, business owner, senate intern, literacy coordinator, teacher, college professor, and vineyard owner none have been more exciting then the others. I enjoy new things and striving to make a difference.
(Virtual Presentation, English)