Interaction in the virtual world: an analysis of students' construal of pedagogic subject positions in a 3D virtual learning environment


This article discusses the results of an investigation on construal of pedagogic positions in a series of online interactions between two students performing learning activities in a three-dimensional virtual learning environment. It aims at analyzing how students offer praise while performing learning activities in the absence of a teacher or mentor. Results show that while students were highly focused in the learning activities, they construe different pedagogic positions through their language behavior, taking more proactive or reactive roles. The main area of attitudinal language used was Appreciation and most evaluative language in the corpus targets the objects created by the students themselves, falling within the Composition subtype. Positive evaluation and Negative evaluation play important roles in the performance of the learning activity: Positive evaluation is used in the corpus to provide feedback on the improvements made in the world and manage conflict or reassurance; Negative evaluation serves two key functions – the management of the revision of the work done and the control of the tasks to be performed. It is argued that the understanding of pedagogic subject positions construal is an essential step for the elaboration of pedagogic strategies, including those which incorporate the extended potentials of new technologies.

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Text & Talk (founded as TEXT in 1981) is an internationally recognized forum for interdisciplinary research in language, discourse, and communication studies, focusing, among other things, on the situational and historical nature of text/talk production; the cognitive and sociocultural processes of language practice/action; and participant-based structures of meaning negotiation and multimodal alignment.