Virtual worlds, real learning? The uptake of virtual worlds for teaching and learning in UK universities

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A presentation at the TERENA Networking Conference 2009 in Malaga.

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Virtual worlds, real learning? The uptake of virtual worlds for teaching and learning in UK universities

  1. 1. Virtual worlds, real learning? The uptake of virtual worlds for teaching and learning in UK universities
  2. 2. <ul><li>what are the definitive features of virtual worlds like Second Life? </li></ul><ul><li>what are the affordances of virtual world’s for teaching and learning? </li></ul><ul><li>overview of uptake in the UK </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>what are the definitive features of virtual worlds like Second Life? </li></ul>
  4. 8. <ul><li>on the Internet no one knows you’re a dog </li></ul><ul><li>but wings and tails (‘furries’) seem oddly popular! </li></ul>
  5. 11. <ul><li>what are the affordances of virtual world’s for teaching and learning? </li></ul>
  6. 12. <ul><li>SL can be used to deliver lectures, but… </li></ul>
  7. 13. <ul><li>...most suited to “active” and “collaborative” learning styles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>coding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>discussion groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>machinima and drama production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>role-play </li></ul></ul>
  8. 16. <ul><li>meetings, particularly hybrid-meetings, work well </li></ul><ul><li>(given communication limitations) </li></ul>
  9. 21. <ul><li>overview of uptake in the UK </li></ul>
  10. 22. Hype
  11. 23. Second Life hype
  12. 24. Second Life in education hype
  13. 25. <ul><li>poor “orientation” experience </li></ul>
  14. 26. <ul><li>technical barriers and relatively poor graphics </li></ul>
  15. 27. <ul><li>people simply don’t “get it” </li></ul>
  16. 28. <ul><li>communication issues </li></ul>
  17. 29. <ul><li>Eduserv has funded a series of snapshots since 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>undertaken by John Kirriemuir </li></ul><ul><li>(SL: Silversprite Helsinki) </li></ul>http://tinyurl.com/3ps2f3
  18. 30. <ul><li>virtualworldwatch.net </li></ul>
  19. 31. <ul><li>active development at over 90% of UK universities </li></ul>http://tinyurl.com/3ps2f3
  20. 32. <ul><li>core of early adopters, e.g. Edinburgh and Open University, using it extensively in teaching and learning </li></ul>
  21. 33. <ul><li>units and teams in quite a few other universities, typically run by “strong-headed” people, using SL for both teaching and learning and other research </li></ul>
  22. 34. <ul><li>massive duplication of research across UK universities as to whether virtual worlds have a valuable role in teaching and learning </li></ul>
  23. 35. <ul><li>many individual academics undertaking isolated work in SL, usually under the radar, often unwilling to share outcomes </li></ul>
  24. 36. <ul><li>SL still very predominant – some (growing) interest in OpenSim but likely to be a long while before SL loses its place as market leader </li></ul>
  25. 37. <ul><li>overall, very fragmented picture both within and across universities </li></ul><ul><li>impossible to make generalisations for UK as a whole </li></ul>
  26. 38. Conclusions <ul><li>SL remains the market leader by far </li></ul><ul><li>despite all the negativity around SL it remains the best educational MUVE offering </li></ul><ul><li>but… competition is coming </li></ul><ul><li>which is good for everyone (except Linden Lab!) </li></ul><ul><li>it is probably too early (i.e. expensive) for most educational institutions to experiment with other virtual worlds right now </li></ul>
  27. 39. Questions questions…

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