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Night Nests with Pests: A Case Study of Creative Placemaking and Exploring Sonoran Desert Ecology on the OpenSim with Middle School Students

Mary Stokrocki

Abstract


Using participatory action research methods, namely questionnaires, daily note taking, and interviewing, this case study reveals problems and solutions, simulated at my ASU Hive on the OpenSim site, sponsored by the University of British Columbia. Problems included short time, Internet problems, and losing their creations. Volunteer students built three-dimensional desert creatures and dome structured nests, changed light effects, chose the ecological theme “Night Nests With Pests,” and included ecological responses. This theme led to correspondence with the ASU website “Ask the Biologist.” What began as a joke about pests and annoying behavior in the classroom, ended in community learning about the importance of pests in an ecosystem as a complex web of interconnected and dependent ingredients. Pests serve as a “warning” sign and need to be accommodated. Artists and community participants, as well as students, can construct a virtual world, build architectural forms, link avatar people and ideas to explore life problems. 


Keywords


Participatory Research; Creative; Placemaking; Build Tools; Community; Ecology; Virtual World; Pests.

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References


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