Virtual World Watch - summary of Second Life Snapshots

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A summary of the series of Second Life snapshots funded by Eduserv.

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Virtual World Watch - summary of Second Life Snapshots

  1. 1. Virtual World Watch Summary of Second Life Snapshots John Kirriemuir (Silversprite Helsinki) October 2008
  2. 2. The snapshots so far <ul><li>funded by the Eduserv Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>four so far: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>June 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>September 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>October 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>strictly covering UK university and college activities only </li></ul><ul><li>started off being solely about Second Life use </li></ul><ul><li>lately moving into Second Life and other worlds </li></ul><ul><li>getting unwieldy; format may need to change </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><ul><li>Things that have changed </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Users/institutions increasing <ul><li>first snapshot survey (June 2007) found 41 instances of Second Life use in UK HE/FE </li></ul><ul><li>by May 2008, some form of Second Life activity detected in 75%+ of UK universities </li></ul><ul><li>in many cases, multiple Second Life activities in the same institution </li></ul>
  5. 5. Growth in funding sources <ul><li>originally, most development work self-funded i.e. in own time of academic </li></ul><ul><li>now there are multiple sources – e.g. from last snapshot: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>internal i.e. from Pro-Vice Chancellor, centrally, or multi-department </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ hardcore research” funders e.g. Leverhulme Trust </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>JISC (funds several projects) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>European funding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eduserv Foundation </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Teaching and learning in SL <ul><li>number of instances increasing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>class sizes vary up to thirty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>usually heavily participatory in terms of communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>most students reported as taking to it; a few have problems with the concept </li></ul></ul><ul><li>however… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not everyone is evaluating effectiveness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>no predominant method of measuring this </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Increasing acceptance <ul><li>academics report less negative responses of late from: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>peers (other lecturers and researchers) ‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>students </li></ul></ul><ul><li>this is due to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>more people knowing about Second Life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2 nd year of teaching and learning use (no longer a 'gimmick') ‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>activities that generate research money become more popular </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><ul><li>Things that have stayed the same </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Multiple reasons for SL activity <ul><li>building a representation of the university </li></ul><ul><li>researching the use of virtual worlds in education </li></ul><ul><li>teaching </li></ul><ul><li>marketing the university, and income generation through alumni </li></ul><ul><li>holding seminars </li></ul><ul><li>remote teaching (one to many) </li></ul><ul><li>remote supervision of PhD students </li></ul><ul><li>student design and development skills acquisition </li></ul>
  10. 10. Sceptics <ul><li>sceptics are out there </li></ul><ul><ul><li>open-minded sceptics (academic approach: “convince me”) are useful; challenges users of virtual worlds for proof </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>closed-minded sceptics add nothing to academic debate; often sceptical for seemingly personal reasons </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Some people are bizarrely hostile to it, for no particularly good reason” </li></ul>
  11. 11. FE (Further Education) colleges <ul><li>almost total absence in all snapshots </li></ul><ul><li>searches, list requests, and other contacts indicate little activity - either public or 'under the surface‘ (unless FE colleges are much more secretive than HE universities!) ‏ </li></ul><ul><li>a small number of (enduring) exceptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Myersclough College (Forestry course promotion) ‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bromley College (Computer Science promotion) ‏ </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. The two great “needs” <ul><li>Funding </li></ul><ul><li>... and ... </li></ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><ul><li>Worlds other than Second Life </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Mentions in October 2008 <ul><li>three or less mentions each: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Olive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Palace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Croquet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Metaplace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Neverwinter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Small Worlds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Active Worlds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twinity </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Mentions in October 2008 <ul><li>eight or more mentions each: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>OpenSim </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wonderland </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Metaplace </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. OpenSim <ul><li>open source – technical </li></ul><ul><li>offers more control and privacy than Second Life </li></ul><ul><li>“ SL and OpenSim have quite a lead, providing a toolkit rather than an end product.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ OpenSim does interest us, especially with regard to being able to close access for particular activities, the potential to bulk manage accounts and the opportunity to track activity for learning mapping.” </li></ul>
  17. 17. Google Lively <ul><li>high profile and easy to use, so many people have tried it </li></ul><ul><li>felt to be 'superficial' for teaching and learning needs </li></ul><ul><li>“ Google’s new virtual world was disappointing and didn’t seem to get the idea of open access community.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The big drawback, especially for educators, was the lack, at least at the moment, of the ability to create your own content.” </li></ul>
  18. 18. Wonderland <ul><li>Java-based </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration/communication-oriented </li></ul><ul><li>“ Wonderland was particularly interesting as it allowed groups of people to dynamically edit the same document. </li></ul><ul><li>The quality of spatial sound was also appealing, and the fact that the platform is Java based and would allow for complex programming.” </li></ul>
  19. 19. Other issues of interest
  20. 20. Needs of developers <ul><li>they all say funding, so ignoring that -they also said: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a toolkit of ready-made high quality stuff for SL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“SL on a stick” to circumvent problems with group and university lab work restrictions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>guides aimed at academics e.g. how to successfully run a tutorial or workshop in Second Life </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Disappearing early adopters <ul><li>some UK Second Life academic developers from the early days, i.e. 2006 and 2007(!), aren't doing this any more </li></ul><ul><ul><li>funding has finished? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>development skills have moved elsewhere? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>fed up of lack of peer support / working in isolation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>technical restrictions? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>it didn't work out...? </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. IPR and related issues <ul><li>what if... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>several islands claim to represent one university </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an academic develops content for his research / course at home, then 'takes it' with him or her when he moves to a new university </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>students do design work on their university island – who 'owns' it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the Vice Chancellor goes for a wander around his institutional island, and is 'mugged' by students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a learning or education feature, developed by an academic at cost to the institution, is 'copied' or replicated by an academic at another institution </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Duplicated effort <ul><li>many universities are doing exactly the same thing: investigating, from scratch, whether Second Life is useful for teaching and learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>peer-review “lag” particularly bad with virtual worlds due to rapid developments. Plenty of research going on, and has happened; the mound of (public) findings so far small </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>contact and peer networks being thin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the “you don't get it till you've tried it” nature of SL </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. University infrastructure <ul><li>what happens if/when teaching and other educational activities in virtual worlds become widespread? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>network traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more higher specified machines (and graphics cards) in the labs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more labs? Or can wireless campus network cope with mass use of SL on laptops? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>voice: making a noise wherever the participants are </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. The future
  26. 26. “In it for the long-haul” <ul><li>Second Life currently predominant ... but may not be in the future </li></ul><ul><li>the use of virtual worlds in education will take years, possibly many, to be refined </li></ul><ul><li>“ We will clearly continue to explore virtual worlds – however, it is not clear that Second Life world is the optimal environment.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Increasingly used but not mainstream for several years.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I don’t think it will go away this time, simply because of the enormous investment. We will also see diminished boundaries with the 2D web that will bring virtual worlds into the mainstream.” </li></ul>
  27. 27. Virtual World Watch <ul><li>currently one year (ending Oct 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>activities funded by the Eduserv: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>continuation of the snapshot series, but with focus moving more towards 'many worlds' </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>identifying the directions and predominant themes in the emerging Second Life and virtual worlds research sector </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an independent comparison of Second Life to other virtual worlds, for teaching and learning purposes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>other stuff we find interesting :-) </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Virtual World Watch <ul><li>Web: www.virtualworldwatch.net </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: V_World_Watch </li></ul><ul><li>are you a UK academic doing “stuff” in virtual worlds? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>submit your blog to the blogroll </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>fill in the next snapshot survey questionnaire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>contribute a few screendumps to the Flickr picture pool </li></ul></ul><ul><li>thanks – that also helps you publicise your work </li></ul>

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