March 7, 2019: Learning Through Wonder

Transcript of the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable: March 7, 2019

Topic: Learning Through Wonder

Photos by Beth Ghostraven

This Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable session again takes a theme from the 2019 ed. of *Innovating Pedagogy* (the annual publication from the Open University that identifies education trends). This report is at (section on Learning Through Wonder is pages 22-26)  


Sheila Yoshikawa: Hi everyone, and welcome to the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable. We meet on Thursdays at 12 noon SLT for an hour. 8pm In UK, 3pm EST. VWER is a forum to educate and inform the community about issues that are important and relevant to education in virtual worlds. This is a public meeting, so we will be keeping and publishing a transcript. The transcripts can be found at  The VWER continues to develop a community of educators from around the world. Please join the VWER group here in SL. If you are on Facebook please join our group there

Sheila Yoshikawa: I am moderating today. The topic for this week’s meeting will be: Learning with wonder. Let’s start as we normally do and introduce ourselves. As usual we will be in text chat for the whole session.

Sheila Yoshikawa: So I teach and research in the Information School at the University of sheffield, UK, and I am lead organiser for VWER

Beth Ghostraven: Hi Lorin!

Lorin Tone: Hiya Beth, and greetings to all!

Ravelli Ormstein: I’m Ravelli from Germany, in RL a quality auditor in the industry, where I have to train employees. In the past I worked as a private music teacher and here in SL as Dean of Information at Caledon Oxbridge.

Josain Zsun aka Budd Turner, retiree, currently maintaining Expedition Central sites, and presenting Trusted Friend talks, This Saturday 10 am SLT, at Science Circle and next Friday 8:30 @ Nonprofit Commons.

Beth Ghostraven: I’m Beth Ghostraven, middle school teacher-librarian in RL and owner of the Book and Tankard Pub in Victoria City, Caledon in SL; owner of Ghostraven Professional Attire, classic clothing for educators in SL ( ); Communications Chair for the VWBPE Conference ( ; Communications Chair and Focus Sessions Producer for the ISTE Virtual Environments Network; and unofficial liaison between education groups in SL. For information on events for the educational groups that I work with, see the ISTE VEN Massive Open Online Calendar at ; Twitter: @booklady9 I’ll be taking photos to publish with the transcript and recording this session on video; if you have any objection, please IM me.

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): Selby Evans, Blogger
Cybalounge web classroom (model). Any instructor could have a classroom to modify as needed
Augmented reality for story telling: 3DBear AR app

High School Tuition Services
Paradigm provides online instruction in virtual reality with the sciences, computing and maths. Our education service provides face to face education as an avatar in the virtual world of Paradigm. This is an education service where you enroll as an avatar in the virtual world of Paradigm. You would attend classes as an avatar with avatars from other countries where you can talk and IM chat. (Inviting others to join the effort)

Virtual Program for Seniors is created for the purpose of introducing people of senior age to the world of virtual worlds. We are also including people with special needs, particularly those who are housebound.

Elli Pinion: Elli Pinion/Becky Adams from University of New Mexico, USA.  Recently retired Director for Online Course Development and still teaching online for UNM.  VWBPE Director in SL.

PaulaJ Galicia: I teach only teenagers, philosophy, sociology and psychology, I’m portuguese and here in sl i have a poetry group, years ago i made an investigation about identity in sl

Sheila Yoshikawa: OK I will introduce today’s topic. It is another theme from the Innovating Pedagogy report from the Open University in the UK (section on Learning Through Wonder is pages 22-26); that’s the web address for the report. I put a few extracts in the notecard e.g. “Philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato saw wonder as a spur for learning, when we confront our familiar conceptions and explore strange new ideas.” Also I have the presentation board behind me, and I will say a few things in text from that.



**Topic: “Learning Through Wonder”

Virtual Worlds Education Round Table (VWER), at 12 noon SL time on Thursday 7 March 2019

**The session will be led by Sheila Yoshikawa and will be in text chat

This Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable session again takes a theme from the 2019 ed. of *Innovating Pedagogy* (the annual publication from the Open University that identifies education trends)

Report is at (section on Learning Through Wonder is pages 22-26)  

Questions to discuss

– what does “wonder” mean to you? Let’s “share [our] ideas of wonder and learn more about [our] roles as ‘wonder workers’”**

  • do you learn through wonder?
  • do you use “wonder” in our teaching generally (i.e. both online and face to face)?
  • how does it apply to virtual worlds education?
  • have people examples of using wonder as part of their teaching?
  • what do you think of  Matthew McFall’s phases of wonder?


Extracts from “Innovating pedagogy”

(from page 22)

“Philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato saw wonder as a spur for learning, when we confront our familiar conceptions and explore strange new ideas.”

“A pedagogy of wonder has some similarities to guided discovery learning, where a teacher helps students solve a problem or understand a principle through a process of hands-on exploration. But it differs in how the quest begins: by showing an object or event that sparks curiosity, presenting the familiar in a new way, setting up a puzzle, or conjuring with science and nature.

“Much of this section is based on a doctoral thesis and subsequent explorations by Matthew McFall on designing wonder in and beyond school settings. He builds on previous work to describe wonder as a series of phases.

  • Anticipation: a sense that something is going to happen and a desire to know more.
  • Encounter: the moment of experiencing the wondrous.
  • Investigation: pursuit of the wondrous, to understand it better or to continue the experience.
  • Discovery: coming to understand, or realise how much more there is to know.
  • Propagation: continued working with this wonder, to share and celebrate.”

They also list the series of 8 “boxes” that McFall designed, each of which is a different activity: see pages 24-25 – it seems to me (Sheila) that these activities are ones that have been done in Second Life – e.g.the scavenger hunt, the show and tell, but the sequencing is interesting.

The sequence starts with (p24) “1. Black Box is a launch event that stimulates anticipation and piques curiosity. Depending on the teacher and the setting, it might be a table draped with a black cloth that is removed with a flourish to reveal a curious object; or it could be a magic or science show; or a physical box that is opened to reveal a clue or a puzzle. **The students share their ideas of wonder and learn more about their roles as ‘wonder workers’.”

Links given for this section of “Innovating Pedagogy” include:

– John Spencer’s blog posts about Wonder Week projects for schools and Inquiry Based Learning:

– “Egan, K., Cant, A. I., and Judson, G. (Eds.). (2013). Wonder-full Education: The Centrality of Wonder in Teaching and Learning across the Curriculum. Routledge. Parts of the book are available online:” [ie on Google Books]

– Matthew McFall’s PhD thesis: McFall, M. (2014). Using Heritages and Practices of Wonder To Design a Primary-School-Based Intervention. [PhD thesis, University of Nottingham, UK]


When and where: The VIRTUAL WORLDS EDUCATION ROUNDTABLE meetings start at 12 noon SLT (3pm ET – 8pm UK time) on Thursdays on VSTE in Second Life

We meet at


2019-03-07 VWER - Learning With Wonder_001

Sheila Yoshikawa: They say in the report “The innovative practice here is a curriculum design that builds upon and extends the heritage of wonder, encompassing virtual trips to wondrous places, digital cabinets of curiosities, and student-led object lessons”. They distinguish it from enquiry learning – some other initiatives about “wonder” seem to (to my mind) make “wonder” much the same as curiosity and enquiry. I think that “wonder” is different from curiosity; do others agree?

Lorin Tone: I agree with that, Sheila

QVINTVS PETILIVS SECVNDVS (severusalexander): hello all.

Sheila Yoshikawa: So one of the things they do – drawing a lot on a PhD thesis by McFall – is describe phases of wonder

  • Anticipation: a sense that something is going to happen and a desire to know more.
  • Encounter: the moment of experiencing the wondrous.
  • Investigation: pursuit of the wondrous, to understand it better or to continue the experience.
  • Discovery: coming to understand, or realise how much more there is to know.
  • Propagation: continued working with this wonder, to share and celebrate.

Sheila Yoshikawa: so I suppose when you are designing learning you might be guiding people through those phases or trying to trigger those phases. Also, they list these “boxes” – activities – that McFall describes, as a sequence to follow in a series of classes. So there’s “Black Box” described on this slide – the opener

Elli Pinion: Definitely trying to guide/trigger them.

Sheila Yoshikawa: “Black Box is a launch event that stimulates anticipation and piques curiosity. Depending on the teacher and the setting, it might be a table draped with a black cloth that is removed with a flourish to reveal a curious object; or it could be a magic or science show; or a physical box that is opened to reveal a clue or a puzzle. The students share their ideas of wonder and learn more about their roles as ‘wonder workers’.” So I was thinking what I had in my inventory that was wondrous that I could pull out; actually I think I have a lot of wondrous things 😉

Elli Pinion: True, I’m sure.  Things that are full of wonder!  Spark thinking.

Sheila Yoshikawa: yes, so if you have the VWER group active, feel free to rez an object of wonder!

Rhiannon Chatnoir: hello all, just waiting for things to rez in

Sheila Yoshikawa: I have rezzed a creation by Bryn Oh

Sheila Yoshikawa: Mayfly machinima

Elli Pinion: 🙂  I’m wondering what to rez.  lol

Sheila Yoshikawa: the mayflies circleand then after a while “die” and new ones appear

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): LOL, so much stuff

Beth Ghostraven: I’ll bet you have something wondrous in your inventory that you could rez or wear!

Rhiannon Chatnoir: lol.. let me look

Lorin Tone: heh, I have too many wondrous things!

Sheila Yoshikawa: oh a wondrous book–2 books

2019-03-07 VWER - Learning With Wonder_009
Wondrous books from the Caledon Library

The Eight Wonders Of Caledon whispers: [READY] : Published by Denver Hax.

Sheila Yoshikawa: yes @Lorin

Beth Ghostraven: I can rez the solar system, but I’m a little afraid to–not sure how big it is, lol

Sheila Yoshikawa: lol Beth

Elli Pinion: yes, too much inventory in general….:-)

Sheila Yoshikawa: we can be startled if we suddenly find ourselves in it!

Sheila Yoshikawa: OK

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): cool

Elli Pinion: That’s awesome!

Sheila Yoshikawa: so my main feeling when I read this section was that Second Life was made for learning with wonder

Elli Pinion: I really agree!

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): agreed!

Sheila Yoshikawa: yikes!

2019-03-07 VWER - Learning With Wonder_002.png
Rhiannon Chatnoir

Sheila Yoshikawa: will it eat the mayflies?

Rhiannon Chatnoir: i had to move back so as not to crush any of you

Elli Pinion: The “sky” isn’t the limit in SL.

Rhiannon Chatnoir: i promise not to eat the mayflies

Sheila Yoshikawa: in fact I felt a sense of wonder when I came into SL, and I still quite often feel that sense of wonder encountering things in SL

Elli Pinion: 🙂

Elli Pinion: So agree.

Sheila Yoshikawa: lol @Rhannon, and …scary

Beth Ghostraven: there’s “oh wow!” wonder and then there’s “scratching my head in confusion” wonder

Elli Pinion: Yes, what is wonder to one person may not be to another.

Sheila Yoshikawa: eek godzilla vs megalon

Beth Ghostraven: hey, if we’re going big, I can be the giant Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man

Rhiannon Chatnoir: lol

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): I wonder at the wonderful things people have made in SL, creativity is high!

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Elli yes

Lorin Tone: hah, I have that one, Beth!

Beth Ghostraven: nahi, yes!

Rhiannon Chatnoir: yes it is all around us since the world is heavily about creation

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): 🙂

Elli Pinion: me, too nahi

Sheila Yoshikawa: I agree; I know I have to be aware that while I am caught up in wonder, another person may think “dull” or “lame” or “frightening”

Beth Ghostraven: part of education is encouraging the sense of wonder, needed more the older the students get

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): we don’t have the same interests, same as in RL

Sheila Yoshikawa: my guess would be since we are all here, we do all have a sense of wonder still in SL and virtual worlds?

Rhiannon Chatnoir: yes

PaulaJ Galicia: yes

Elli Pinion: yes

Sheila Yoshikawa: oops that was leading question!!

Lorin Tone: Yes, or the need to create things of wonder

Elli Pinion: lol

Elli Pinion: YES, Lorin.

Sheila Yoshikawa: I posed the question “do you use “wonder” in your teaching generally (i.e. both online and face to face)?” and I was thinking I used it a lot more when I taught in SL than I do in the physical classroom

PaulaJ Galicia: That is the best in sl, wondering

Beth Ghostraven: at the beginning of teaching a research project, I help students learn how to ask good questions, which is part of this

Sheila Yoshikawa: agree @Paulaj

Elli Pinion: I believe I do both places, but SL helps with that in online.

Sheila Yoshikawa: what sort of thing do you do in the physical world @Elli

PaulaJ Galicia: I wish i could do that in rl

Elli Pinion: And the “wonder” isn’t as rich/creative in f2f

Lorin Tone: f2f=face to face?

Elli Pinion: yes, sorry face to face

Lorin Tone: ty

Sheila Yoshikawa: I would be less confident of introducing something wondrous, and more worried that the students will think I’m wasting their time because they think it’s irrelevant

Elli Pinion: Similar to Beth….by asking questions/sharing video/scenarios that bring students out of their world and help them think bigger or dream a little, or face some realities that they need to understand

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Elli do you find that learners are resistant to come out of their world?

Elli Pinion: hmmm….good question.  Likely, but in some ways I think they appreciate it. I teach tech in ed courses and they understand there is a lot they are going to face “out there.

Beth Ghostraven: Hi Stranger!

Stranger Nightfire: hello Beth

Sheila Yoshikawa: I teach distance learners (not through virtual worlds but using Adobe Connect, Blackboard, Google apps and various other things) and I think that although it is not as full of “wonder” as SL it is actually easier to introduce show-and-tell, or share exciting things in a virtual environment, even 2D

Elli Pinion: I agree, online often opens up opportunities

Sheila Yoshikawa: wow Rhi you have some gorgeous avis

2019-03-07 VWER - Learning With Wonder_010
Rhiannon Chatnoir with mayflies

Rhiannon Chatnoir: thanks.. things collected through the years

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): people nowadays are immediatists, they want to save time and many wouldn’t like to be wondering , they would like all given to them, digested

Elli Pinion: That is a great point nahi. They want the “answer.”

Rhiannon Chatnoir: which, that is another perk of a virtual environ like this.. that sense of play and wonder even with your avatar and identity

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Nahi good point, if you give people something to wonder at, you are putting it to them to have the reaction or decide how they feel about it

Beth Ghostraven: oh, right, Rhi, the sense of play is closely related to wonder

Elli Pinion: Agree!

Rhiannon Chatnoir: useful for teaching as well.. during an archaeological focused exchange working with Global Kids, we had the students don avatars to embody animals or concepts

Elli Pinion: Rhiannon….SL offers a lot of creativity

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Rhiannon, avatars used to embody concepts: particularly imaginative I think!

Sheila Yoshikawa: If you look in the report at the “boxes” sequence I was thinking I have seen all those types of activity in SL and in other virtual worlds, but the sequencing was interesting

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): I usually do it in a fast way, not too long and twofold, activate previous/background knowledge and introduce topic

Sheila Yoshikawa: so @nahi would the “wonder” be something that could trigger memories or discussion of something in their past? some experience etc?

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): absolutely, and that awakens their curiosity, for me to catch their attention

Beth Ghostraven: Rhi, you look like you’re from Ursula Le Guin’s book Catwings!

2019-03-07 VWER - Learning With Wonder_011
Rhiannon Chatnoir

Rhiannon Chatnoir: lol thanks

Rhiannon Chatnoir: yes it is a bit of a joke on my avatar name too

Rhiannon Chatnoir: a black cat = chat noir

Beth Ghostraven: yes :o)

Sheila Yoshikawa: 😉

Sheila Yoshikawa: does anyone else have an example of teaching with wonder?

Elli Pinion: I love the word “wonder” and it’s challenging me to think about how I teach. Haven’t used that word before, but love the phases he talks about.

Sheila Yoshikawa: when I used to bring students inworld, the first thing they did was unpack a box of all sorts of stuff and play at rezzing things, flying, trying things on, and that seemed to me an event with a lot of wonder and play

Beth Ghostraven: Sheila that sounds like fun!

Sheila Yoshikawa: even the older students seemed to get engaged by it, and it created the more relaxed atmosphere of experimenting and making mistakes that I wanted

Elli Pinion: And that is the Black Box, isn’t it?

Sheila Yoshikawa: yes, almost literally, just that it wasn’t black lol, as they weren’t sure what they would pull out next

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): colorful and live

Sheila Yoshikawa: actually I was thinking of the interest in “unboxing videos”–you know what I mean? vloggers unpacking a surprise box of stuff

Elli Pinion: Yes, I almost see the cloth uncovering the interesting things they get to play with.

Beth Ghostraven: I haven’t seen that, could you paste in an example, Sheila?

Sheila Yoshikawa: in fact there have been schemes like that in SL, selling a box, say of furniture, and it is a surprise what it will be

Beth Ghostraven: like the old Grab Bags at a bazaar

Sheila Yoshikawa: I will find an example

Sheila Yoshikawa: feel free to give more examples of teaching with wonder (e.g. – scavenger hunts? show and tell?)

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): a joke, or a riddle

Elli Pinion: And then the next step is the students sharing their ideas of what they wonder?

Elli Pinion: Hmmm….I always do a scavenger hunt in SL and unlike f2f, I have to give them more time to explore and share, because they are so engaged. It definitely gets their “wonder” going!

Sheila Yoshikawa:  example of unboxing a subscription box or here’s a SL example

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): they can discuss in pairs before venturing their ideas

Sheila Yoshikawa: @nahi yes that’s always a good idea especially for students who are not so confident for one reason or another

Elli Pinion: I love that, talking/exploring initial ideas with a partner.

Sheila Yoshikawa: in virtual worlds it is easier because you can IM with someone without others knowing! although students could text or IM each other in class. I have been thinking – perhaps I should challenge myself to create a class based on the “boxes” of wonder! say on information literacy, which is my specialist area

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): excuse me, can you see me? I only see my shoes :O

Sheila Yoshikawa: lol

Beth Ghostraven: nahi, I can see you fine

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): aahhh whew, thanks

Sheila Yoshikawa: sorry @nahi I can see you


2019-03-07 VWER - Learning With Wonder_004
nahi, Qvintvs, and Ted

Beth Ghostraven: Sheila, do you have an example in your inventory of the box of stuff that you gave students to unpack? something you could give us?

Sheila Yoshikawa: um wait a moment Beth

Elli Pinion: (reading them quickly) They seem to be very sequenced and lead to a “share and celebrate” ending.

Elli Pinion: Yes, @nahi, I can see you.

Sheila Yoshikawa: there you go – oh – actually it IS black I had forgotten!

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): thanks Elli 🙂

Sheila Yoshikawa: It is not very impressive now as regards clothes etc!

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Elli yes – I think celbrating in the end is good?

Elli Pinion: absolutely, I agree

Beth Ghostraven: got it, thanks!

Lorin Tone: Looks handy, thank  you!Elli Pinion: Yes, TY, Sheila.

Sheila Yoshikawa: yes it was the sequencing that I thought was interesting, especially if you can explain it to the learners, so they don’t think it is a lot of disconnected irrelevant stuff

Sheila Yoshikawa: any other final thoughts on wonder?

Sheila Yoshikawa: for example

Sheila Yoshikawa: should we be trying to make the VWER discussion more wondrous?

Rhiannon Chatnoir: almost reminds me of a hunt type concept

Sheila Yoshikawa: yes

Elli Pinion: lol…..absolutely.  Though you started that by asking us to rez things.

Beth Ghostraven: Lorin, do you have a hunt prize out for people to search for, for the Steam Hunt?

2019-03-07 VWER - Learning With Wonder_005
Lorin Tone

Rhiannon Chatnoir: i have used things like that to encourage exploring, a series of treasure chests to find and

Sheila Yoshikawa: I always enjoy the sessions when people rez things or change avis, but perhaps not everyone feels the same?

Lorin Tone: Yes, I do Beth

Sheila Yoshikawa: oo Lorin, do you have a notecard or something about the hunt?

Lorin Tone: It’s a big hunt!  Just a sec Sheila

Sheila Yoshikawa: yes @Rhi, and that is used at VWBPE isn’t it to encourage people to explore?

Rhiannon Chatnoir: yes

Beth Ghostraven: Lorin, I’m curious about whether preparing for the hunt relates to what we’re talking about, preparing a lesson?

Elli Pinion: Yes!

Rhiannon Chatnoir: it is a great mechanic to encourage exploration, even game play if you use clues

Rhiannon Chatnoir: or things that might need to be learned and solved along the way

2019-03-07 VWER - Learning With Wonder_017
Rhiannon Chatnoir as she usually appears

Sheila Yoshikawa: spooky white bat!

Sheila Yoshikawa: Thanks for the notecard

Beth Ghostraven: I sent you all the notecard with the shop landmarks on it for the Steam Hunt. The group is Historical Hunts, Ltd.

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): ty, Beth

Elli Pinion: TY!

Sheila Yoshikawa: So I think I will draw the wonder to a close. Next week it is an open forum

Lorin Tone: I’ll dig up hunt information Sheila, most of it is no trans

ղɑհì (nahiram.vaniva): thanks!

Elli Pinion: Lovely discussion…great topic!

Sheila Yoshikawa: thank you all for being wonderful

Sheila Yoshikawa: lol

Beth Ghostraven: Sheila, this was great, thank you!

Rhiannon Chatnoir: thanks and hope i wasn’t too distracting while shuffling avatars

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): great discussion  — bye all

TedWhitecrow: Thank you all

Lorin Tone: Good discussion, thank you, everyone a good day!


VWER Meeting Transcripts by Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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