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Virtual worlds in education

Page history last edited by Gary Motteram 3 years, 3 months ago

Unit 3 Synchronous session (up to 2014)


Up to and including 2014 in Unit 3 we met in the virtual world Second Life. As this kind of activity continues and there are still educators who engage in practice in virtual worlds I'm going to keep this material available, but I have decided not to use this space for the seminar in 2015. I am happy to take people in if they let me know they are interested.


Here are a number of papers that you might like to look, if you want to find out more about virtual worlds in education.


Deutschman, M., Panichi, L. and Molka-Danielsen, J. (2009) Designing oral participation in Second Life: A comparative study of two language proficiency coursesReCALL21(2), 206-226.


Duncan, I., Miller, A. and Jiang, S. (2012) A taxonomy of virtual worlds usage in education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(6): 949:964.


Lee, M. J. W., Dalgarno, B. & Farley, H. (2012). Editorial 28(3): Preface to the Special issue. In M. J. W. Lee, B. Dalgarno & H. Farley (Eds), Virtual worlds in tertiary education: An Australasian perspective. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28 (Special issue, 3), iii-vii.  http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet28/editorial28-3.html. This is a preface to a special issue of this journal containing articles on a number of different subject areas.


Liou, H-C. (2012) The roles of Second Life in a college computer-assisted language learning (CALL) course in Taiwan, ROCComputer Assisted Language Learning25(4): 365-382.


Peterson, M. (2006). Learner interaction management in an avatar and chat-based virtual worldComputer Assisted Language Learning19(1), 79-103.


Virtual worlds in higher education

As part of the Euroversity project that the Manchester Institute of Education has been involved in, we ran a one day conference in Manchester on 14 Mar, 2014, which we also broadcast online via Adobe Connect and Second Life. A good example of how you can blend real and virtual life together.


Below are videos made by Christel Schneider (a colleague on the Euroversity project), who was one of the remote participants and also did a presentation about another project she is involved in -- CAMELOT and demonstrated the technique of making videos in virtual worlds -- machinima.


The first video is of Liz Falconer from the University of West England (UWE). It starts off by talking about the MA course that they run in virtual education at UWE and then talks about reasons for using such tools in education. It makes reference to a recent article, which would be worth following up if you are interested in this area (you can find other articles that she has written linked to the bottom of her profile). Christel has made a great job of editing together the video stream from Adobe Connect with a video that she made in Second Life that Liz Falconer referred to in her talk.



The second video is of Christel Schneider doing her presentation within 2nd Life that was broadcast live to the participants in Manchester.




There are many kinds of virtual worlds and in this course we only have time to consider one or two. The space that has been most talked about in education is Second Life, but increasingly we are seen developments in an open source version of Second Life called Open Sim and through past and current project work in the Europe: AVALON and Euroversity I have a number of contacts who can show us around these spaces and talk about the possibilities for education.


Although virtual worlds are are not reported in the media as much as they once were there is still a significant community that engages with them in education in a range of different ways. There is also a growing literature on their use. We also see the spaces that are defined as virtual worlds changing in nature and spaces that might have been seen to be gaming worlds like Minecraft are increasingly being used for similar activities to those we used to find exclusively in spaces like Second Life.


Here are two videos that were recorded in 2012 in Second Life that may be of interest.




Exploring Second Life


If you want to visit any virtual world you need to have an avatar and what is termed a viewer. You can access Second Life directly from Linden labs and you need to go through the process of getting yourself an avatar and signing up. You can then download a viewer and get started. You can download Second Life's viewer, but you can also use Firestorm to access Second Life and Open Sim (see below). The advantage of Firestorm is that it is a more stable viewer and it doens't update as often as the one from Linden Labs.  You do need a computer with a high specification to access virtual worlds, which is one of their limitations, you also need a good internet connection. 


The Wikipedia introduction to Second Life gives you a good flavour of what the space offers and some of its history.


A place I have involvement with and a possible home is: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/AVALON%20Learning/108/70/36. This island was set up during the European AVALON project. Another project that uses virtual worlds that I have connection with is Euroversity, this also uses the AVALON Learning island for meetings.


Here is a link to a recording of the initial meeting in Second Life that occurred on 3 March 2013, it should open in a new window. I have used Google Docs to store this one to see what is possible.


If you want to get a broader sense of the breadth of work in a variety of virtual worlds look here: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/.


Here it is in Vimeo in a slightly less high quality version:




Sessions in Open Sim


In 2013 we also visited Open Sim. If you are interested in learning more about this look at this article on building historical recreations for a number of projects in the general area of education. Alan Miller at St Andrews University has some interesting looking articles on Open Sim. I recommend: Duncan, I., Miller, A. and Jiang, S. (2012) A taxonomy of virtual worlds usage in education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(6): 949:964.


There is also the proceedings from the 2nd European Immersive Education Conference 2012.


Here is a link to one of the videos I recorded on 3rd March in Open Sim. It is too big to up load to vimeo.




A further session in Open Sim. Discussing how teaching might be undertaken in Open Sim, but also about building community:













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