08 03-17 integrating real and virtual worlds for next generation learning
INTEGRATING REAL AND VIRTUAL WORLDS FOR NEXTGENERATION LEARNINGPredicting how technology is likely to affect learning over the coming decade is analmost impossible task when emerging technologies can change the learninglandscape in increasingly unpredictable ways and timescales. However, one of themost important developments is likely to revolve around virtual world, 3D immersiveenvironment applications such as Second Life, a virtual world in which educators arealready exploring the potential of these new virtual learning spaces.Emerging technologies like these, sophisticated media rich computer games consolesand mobile phones have already had an impact on the attitudes, abilities andexpectations of the so-called generation Y. People of all ages not only have access tolearning content in unprecedented ways but are also involved in producing andsharing content as never before. It is the youth of today with their willingness toembrace new technologies who will not only shape the future of learning, but willalso be intolerant of traditional classroom based “Chalk and talk” methods.This chart shows the changing attitudes and styles being shaped by new mediatechnologies and internet services.This changing landscape represents a shift away from a traditional hierarchicallearning model in which knowledge and skills are transferred downwards from aknowledge professional and are absorbed by the learner in formal classroom / lecturetheatre settings to a more learner centric environment based on learner-directeddiscovery of knowledge and collaborative peer to peer learning. In this environment,knowledge professionals in many disciplines will be challenged by highly motivatedlearners who, for a variety of reasons will “know” more than those mandated toeducate them.
Examples of this phenomenon include patients with rare conditions who visit their GParmed with in-depth knowledge of the medical condition, symptoms and treatmentoptions, and students of digital media who can easily be more skilled and capable thantheir tutors.The so-called Web 2.0 trends towards information publishing rather thanconsumption, the ready accessibility of rich media information, new tools fordiscovering and sharing information such as Google Earth, the emergence of socialnetworking spaces such as Facebook, the ever increasing functionality of mobiledevices and the phenomenon of 3D immersive worlds such as Second Life and Worldof Warcraft are all creating new ways to collaborate and discover new knowledgeanytime, anywhere.Coventry University Second Life Virtual Auditorium
These technologies are changing the face of virtual classrooms which, with tools suchas Webex, Live Meeting and Adobe Connect Professional, are themselves stillmaturing as bandwidth increases and compression technologies develop.So, even before the virtual classroom or meeting place in 2 dimensional space hasbeen universally accepted, there is a new kid on the block, still immature in itsfunctionality compared to the application sharing toolsets currently available in 2D,but with great promise of a richer learning experience because of the third dimension.Serious Games Institute Steering Group in Second LifeLooking beyond what is currently in active use, the Serious Games Institute (SGI) atCoventry University is engaged in a public/private partnership between industry andeducation to explore these new frontiers of learning and, in particular how “seriousgames” and the integration of real and virtual worlds is likely to impact the future oflearning. The SGI is a £7M project jointly funded by Advantage West Midlands andCoventry University Enterprises Ltd.The SGI’s building is being equipped with an infrastructure that will integratephysical and virtual worlds and support location aware learning applications through anew approach to smart buildings. This new approach is one in which buildings areequipped to “learn” about visitors and stakeholders through sensor technology, socialnetworking and relationship management techniques. In this way, the building shouldbe able to recognise visitors and respond to them in a highly personalised andproactive way.
The author’s alter ego Hobson Hoggard outside the virtual SGIThe analogy to this approach is the “Exclusive Golf Club” model where collaborativelearning takes place between members sharing a common interest. In the same waythat a Golf Club acts as a facilitator of relationships between members, buildings(educational and/or non-educational and physical and/or virtual) will use technologyto facilitate learning relationships that are a blend of synchronous and asynchronouslearning, on-line lectures, self-directed learning and collaborative knowledge sharingand discovery.CONTACT DETAILSDavid WortleyDirectorThe Serious Games InstituteCoventry University Enterprises LtdUnit 6Coventry Innovation VillageCoventry University Technology ParkCheetah RoadCoventryCV1 2TLTel: +442476158202Mob: +447974984351EMail: email@example.comWeb site: http://www.seriousgamesinstitute.co.uk/Second Life SGI Reception: http://slurl.com/secondlife/SGI%20THR33/128/128/0Second Life SGI Virtual Auditorium :-http://slurl.com/secondlife/SGI%20THR33/96/107/27Second Life SGI at Eolus Partnership :-http://slurl.com/secondlife/SGIatEolus/203/188/31