Identity and Culture in Virtual Worlds


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VWBPE 2009 presentation on Teaching in Virtual Worlds: Identity and Culture by Dr. Cynthia Calongne, March 29, 2009. Visit and for more information.

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Identity and Culture in Virtual Worlds

  1. 1. TEACHING IN VIRTUAL WORLDS: IDENTITY AND CULTURE Paper presentation by Dr. Cynthia Calongne Institute for Advanced Studies Colorado Technical University Licensed under a Creative Commons Share Alike with Attribution License Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education March 29, 2009
  2. 2. Lyr Lobo in her nature spirit avatar Avatar Design by Lyr Cover slide: Lyr Lobo as a shadow robot dancing with herself
  3. 3. An Educause SAC Story <ul><li>The National Science Foundation (NSF) had recently updated their website </li></ul><ul><li>Someone asked if the NSF needed a Second Life site </li></ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Persis Trilling noted that Second Life centers on people interacting with each other and the content </li></ul><ul><li>Immersion, interaction & a sense of presence </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging and personal </li></ul>
  4. 4. Is this avatar new or experienced? How do we know?
  5. 5. First day in Second Life for which of these avatars?
  6. 6. Crossing boundaries: Eric McLuhan as Pharaoh
  7. 7. Your Avatar: Who Are You? <ul><li>Subcultures and roles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teacher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scholar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lover of life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Curious child </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Researcher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comedian </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Entertainer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sage, a wise person </li></ul></ul>What we know about you The inner you
  8. 8. Who are these people? Who is the avatar on the far right?
  9. 9. Paper Highlights <ul><li>People make a virtual world come alive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is that shared experience and the awareness of others that makes the content come to life. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Situated learning, culture and behavior </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anonymity can enhance learning and communication across cultural boundaries. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Representation: identity in the classroom </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students and instructors need to recognize one another. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. This is not your Mama’s classroom! Who is the avatar in the center?
  11. 11. Slide from TCC 2007 by D. Antonacci and N. Modares Focus on diversity and situated learning
  12. 12. Idealized self or real self? October 2006 Heading to Ramapo on the Teen grid!
  13. 13. CS 855 Futuring and Innovation Summer 2008
  14. 14. By January 2007, Second Life had over 2.5 million unique residents Who is this man? His avatar looks like a cartoon. Why do we take him seriously?
  15. 15. Chart Copyright © 2007 by the Virtual Environments Info Group In April 2008 - over 100 youth-oriented virtual worlds active or in development In Aug 2008 - it grew to over 150 virtual worlds In Jan 2009 - over 200 virtual worlds 59 have microtransactions 57 require subscriptions 46 use advertising From Virtual Worlds Management by Show Initiative
  16. 16. Choices for your avatar <ul><li>Avatar type </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Species </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Race </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ideal vs real </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Context sensitive </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nonverbal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Animations & gestures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sounds </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Appearance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skin, shape, hair, eyes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Image and style </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Welcoming </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Impressive </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intimidating </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Thought-provoking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expressive </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Powerful </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Super geek </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hip </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Above: Who is this avatar? Wireframe of an avatar
  18. 18. Lyr Lobo looks better with skin
  19. 19. TCC 2007 Pre-conference in Second Life organizers Who is the dog in the center?
  20. 20. Rise of the machines: How do we tell who is real from other objects?
  21. 21. Life 2.0 - who is the avatar on the left that helps users with 25 groups stay in touch?
  22. 22. Virtual World Culture <ul><li>Second Life cultures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Educators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professionals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Worldwide cultures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Furry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fantasy (Elves, dragons) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geeks (tech, sci fi, robots) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Arts, music, literary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adult </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teen grid </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ideal self </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Imaginative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enabled </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Real self </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Honest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disabled </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Kiwi educators and teen grid mentors - dressed as what subculture?
  24. 24. Which avatar is not real?
  25. 25. Real avatars, real people - who is on the left?
  26. 26. Ready to teach! Playful and imaginative learning environments In the photo above: What 5 letter word describes this group?
  27. 27. What 7 letter word describes what these students are doing while sitting in the wheelchairs? A CS 820 Usability and Interaction Class tests their accessibility projects
  28. 28. Who is this avatar? Bonus question: Where does Hack work and integrate content into Second Life?
  29. 29. Who is this little girl? At the NMC NML2009 Thursday Xu
  30. 30. Above: Who is the avatar featured on the right? Corwin and Lyr in her normal shape
  31. 31. Wright State MBA students their 1st day in Second Life
  32. 32. A Strategic Thinking class meets with the instructor and Lyr. How many students do you see?
  33. 33. We develop Second World skills and our identities in a virtual world class Students sharing ideas in social networks CS 820 Class Fall 2008
  34. 34. TEACHING IN VIRTUAL WORLDS: IDENTITY AND CULTURE Dr. Cynthia Calongne Lyr Lobo in Second Life Twitter Lyrlobo For more information, visit: Lyr Lobo CS 820 Usability and Interaction class 2009