Trialling Second Life machinima to promote discussion and support learning in the Australian sugar industry


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Well-designed and facilitated participatory learning processes focussing on stakeholder discussions can lead to significant learning, skill development and decision-making outcomes in industries such as agriculture. Virtual World machinima, which simulate farmer discussions, have significant potential as an alternative information delivery method in agriculture extension environments, where funding and policy support is declining and access to high speed internet is increasing globally. This research trials and evaluates a Second Life machinima designed as a discussion support tool for the Australian sugar industry.

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Trialling Second Life machinima to promote discussion and support learning in the Australian sugar industry

  1. 1. Trialling Second Life machinima to promote discussion and support learning in the Australian sugar industry: Stakeholder responses are encouraging… CreateWorld 2014, Brisbane Ms Joanne Doyle
  2. 2. Today’s session…
  3. 3. Australian climate  Highest level of year-to-year rainfall variability globally
  4. 4. Decision-making under uncertainty  Increasing demands on science to provide information for complex decision making to manage climate and related risk  How can science best support complex decision making?
  5. 5. Collaborative Research Network (USQ Project 3)  Investigating the impact of a web-based, ‘discussion-support’, agricultural-climate information system on Australian farmers’ operational decision making to enhance farm management decisionmaking around climate risk  to support sustainable (resilient) agricultural systems and rural communities   Collaboration: USQ ACSC & ADFI, ANU, UniSA, CANEGROWERS, Top Dingo
  6. 6. Better support for on-farm decision-making Farming systems science Seasonal forecast modelling Informed decision making and improved climate risk management
  7. 7. Project objective Targeted climate information OUTCOMES Improved climate knowledge Improved decisionmaking Discussion Forum Virtual scenarios Interactive predictive models Improved climate risk management IMPACT Social Economic Environmental
  8. 8. Research impact is…  …the demonstrable contribution that research makes to the economy, society, culture, national security, public policy or services, health, the environment, or quality of life, beyond contributions to academia. Source: ARC, 2012
  9. 9. Second Life     A virtual world User-created content and virtual marketplace Avatars can be customised and manipulated Machinima can be created screen capture software (eg FRAPS) to create machinima  recorded soundtracks 
  10. 10. Real World Virtual World Machinima Avatars Courtesy: Neil Cliffe
  11. 11. Sweet success in 2013
  12. 12. Evaluation process 2012 Workshop Evaluations from 13 workshops (207 participants) 2013 17 semi-structured Interviews to evaluate prototype machinima 2014 Deliver 6 workshops with machinima exposure. Pre and post workshop surveys Workshop group output Semi-structured interviews
  13. 13. Early results Characters: very accurate; good cross section; too clean, shiny and young Key messages: planning; too basic; discussion of decisions; seasonal forecasting and probabilities First impressions: typical farmer conversation; realistic scenario; choppy graphics; well put together; starts people thinking about risk; prefer real actors Quotes: Farmers, Extension Officers & Industry Organisation Setting: looked like a cane farm; standard shed meeting; appropriate for audience Appeal in conveying messages: good for prompting and helping discussion; good medium to get message across; useful for other topics; very innovative Mean rating of value (1 = low value; 10 = high value): Farmers: 6.9 (N = 7); Extension Officers: 7.2 (N = 6); Canegrowers Org: 6.4 (N = 4) Courtesy: Mr Neil Cliffe, Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments, University of Southern Queensland
  14. 14. Key outcomes to date     Machinima: a useful tool to support discussions around climate risk Audio: scripts appropriately targeted to discussion topics Visual: avatar ‘look’ was extremely important Technical challenge: seamless link between climate forecasts and discussions Looking ahead… Creation of further machinima: Irrigation, Fertiliser, Verandah
  15. 15. Acknowledgement  This project is supported through the Australian Government’s Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) program.  ’Digital Futures’ is the CRN research theme for the University of Southern Queensland
  16. 16. Acknowledgement  Team members: PhD candidate: Neil Cliffe (ACSC, USQ) Research Fellow: Kate Reardon-Smith (ACSC, USQ) ACSC (USQ) researchers: Roger Stone, Shahbaz Mushtaq, Torben Marcussen, Tek Maraseni ADFI (USQ) researchers: Helen Farley, Joanne Doyle, Neil Martin  Research collaborators: Janette Lindesay (ANU), Adam Loch (UniSA), Jeff Coutts (USQ Adjunct)  Research partners: Noel Jacobson and Amanda Hassett (Top Dingo), Matt Kealley (CANEGROWERS)
  17. 17. Thank you