Supporting Learners in Virtual Worlds<br />Mark Childs<br />
Basic premise<br />    We can understand the learner experience and support it more effectively if we firstly consider the...
Overview<br />Factors affecting the experience<br />The cases<br />The role of presence<br />Issues with engagement<br />E...
The factors affecting the experience<br />
Some of the factors<br />
Some more<br />
Combining the models<br />
Redrawing the model<br />
Unwrapping presence<br />
Some evidence<br />
The cases<br />Five case studies over the 2008/09<br />Two that fell apart<br />One follow-up investigation this year <br ...
08 / 09 cases<br />
Introductory session<br />a. Interacting with the world<br />b. Interacting with others<br />c. Interacting with the avata...
Learning the interface<br />Approximately half of students struggled with using the interface to move and navigate<br />Ne...
Getting used to distraction<br />Student D: Are you? Are you in Dundee? What’s this? Is it magical toadstools?<br />Me: Wh...
The role of presence i<br />
Theatre Design and New Media<br />Real life theatres in Second Life<br />What do you think the challenges for actors and d...
Green College experience<br />Because we've got the atmosphere, because you can play around with the characters and make t...
The role of presence ii<br />
Presence v. learning experience<br />
Differences in experience - Red<br />“You don’t have the feeling of it.”<br />“it feels like it’s lacking in something”<br...
Differences in experience - Green<br />it's great to just sit there and just lose yourself in it, you can just play about ...
What’s going on?<br />29% to 31 % of respondents “felt as if ‘the being on the screen’ was their real self”, 26% to 29% fe...
What can help?<br />It’s not the technology<br />Interactivity as an emotional engagement<br />“i like dancing / because w...
The role of presence iIi – the role of the avatar<br />
Loving your avatarvia @ Steve Warburton<br />
Social interactions and presence<br />Student R: hey [Student X], couldn't figure out how to change your pants yet?<br />S...
Social interactions and presence<br />Student R: [Student D], why the change in clothes?<br />Student D: you guys were tea...
Social presence and identity<br />Student L: I didn't want to look UGLY<br />Student B: that is my priority<br />Studeny O...
Social anxiety<br />Student E: This is sad...I am scared to leave! I am worried will end up bald, lost, and naked again. O...
Social disconnection<br />“it is difficult for me due to not beingable to witness other peoples non-verbal behaviors or re...
So what’s going on?<br />Becker and Mark --- social conventions adapted to the functionality of the environments in order ...
SO WHAT’s it all mean?<br />
Virtual body image<br />Used as a basis for social interaction.<br />Needs to be designed, personalised, recognisable, ali...
Virtual body schema<br />Given enough time spent inworld, virtual body becomes mapped to body schema, technology “disappea...
A link?<br />Embodied cognition.<br />“Cognitive processes are deeply rooted in the body’s interactions with the world” – ...
Bodies defined by acting<br />Interaction is not what the objects do, it’s what the avatars do<br />Experiential activitie...
A framework for    engagement<br />
A framework for    DISengagement<br />
Maybe these ...<br />Disclosurism<br />Disapproval of the environment<br />Particularly effective at RL<br />Failure to de...
Cycle of disengagement<br />The need to transmit large quantities of socio-emotional information to strangers over an impe...
So what can help?<br />Caspi and Blau (2008; 339): “Those who are sensitive to others’ manifestation of themselves, and pe...
Issues with engagement<br />
Failure and resistance<br />Two unsuccessful case studies<br />Yellow and Cyan Universities<br />Students’ refusal to take...
Red resistors<br />“it’s the new era of virtual relationships and stuff is quite scary”<br />“I can’t think that people wo...
3: The strong mundane<br />Four categories of disapproval<br />relationships in virtual worlds<br />activities in virtual ...
4: The weak mundane<br />OK with Second Life but the more fantastic elements undermine any sense of realism<br />“I think ...
Yellow and Cyan resistors<br />"I pay my university fees to learn and acquire relevant skills, not to play a game“<br />Ho...
5: The anti-gamer<br />If virtual worlds are mistaken for games, then may be prone to same opposition<br />frivolous and t...
Yellow and Blue responses<br />“when spawning in a public area it is not at all unusual to 'hear' unpleasant invitations a...
6: The shocked and disgusted<br />IVWs based in cyberpunk,  transgression against normative forms of social control (Balsa...
Ethical dilemmas<br />
Principles informing use of technology<br />Avoid uncritical acceptance of any technology <br />Discourage automatic gains...
An ethical dilemma<br />You want to run a session in Second Life – looking at the options you’ve decided it’s the best way...
Possible responses<br />A “walled garden”<br />Making all learning using IVWs optional<br />Beginning first session with a...
A framework for    engagement<br />
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10 09-14 supporting learners in virtual worlds

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  • a. Interacting with the worldMotionManoeuvringWayfindingChanging camera positionsUsing mouselookb. Interacting with othersUsing local chatUsing private chatUsing the minimap to find people and move to themThis equates to Salmon’s online socialisation stage. These are important to accomplish early on, since it is the sense of copresence with other users that is the element that more participants respond to than the other features of immersive virtual worlds. c. Interacting with the avatarchanging the appearance of the avatarcreating new folders to save different appearancesanimating the avatard. Finding and searchingCreating a landmarkFinding a landmark in the inventoryTeleporting to a new location and back again 
  • Emphasise this was for the first time the students were in SL
  • This is one of the things that happened - the students weren’t able to answer all of the questions – same happened for Magenta students
  • However Green College students did feel OK with this.
  • Here’s another thing the role of presence in learning – all cases.It’s important, so therefore why doesn’t everyone get it?Stress - not related to attitude to technology
  • Point out that this was a telematic experiment
  • Establish what is meant by interactivity in this contextPoint out problems with defining tech of virtual worlds is that terms are dependent on perception of viewers – immersiveness, sensory engagement
  • New section – developing relationship with avatar – mention reference to character, avatar, her/him, I
  • There are social conventions that are evident: Proxemics and kinesics
  • Will talk about disapproval laterNote few comments in Red case study about positive aspects of SL compared to negative comments – negative students dominating
  • Already looked at those who don’t feel embodied and the disclosurists
  • 10 09-14 supporting learners in virtual worlds

    1. 1. Supporting Learners in Virtual Worlds<br />Mark Childs<br />
    2. 2. Basic premise<br /> We can understand the learner experience and support it more effectively if we firstly consider the learners’ need to develop a virtual body and a virtual identity.<br />
    3. 3. Overview<br />Factors affecting the experience<br />The cases<br />The role of presence<br />Issues with engagement<br />Ethical dilemmas<br />A framework for engagement<br />
    4. 4. The factors affecting the experience<br />
    5. 5. Some of the factors<br />
    6. 6. Some more<br />
    7. 7. Combining the models<br />
    8. 8. Redrawing the model<br />
    9. 9. Unwrapping presence<br />
    10. 10. Some evidence<br />
    11. 11. The cases<br />Five case studies over the 2008/09<br />Two that fell apart<br />One follow-up investigation this year <br />One observation of a single student in a single session.<br />
    12. 12. 08 / 09 cases<br />
    13. 13.
    14. 14.
    15. 15.
    16. 16.
    17. 17. Introductory session<br />a. Interacting with the world<br />b. Interacting with others<br />c. Interacting with the avatar<br />d. Finding and searching<br />
    18. 18. Learning the interface<br />Approximately half of students struggled with using the interface to move and navigate<br />Needed one session to just get used to interface<br />The process was speeded up when we avoided (dis)orientation island <br />Essential to do sessions where you can instruct students face-to-face<br />No correlation with whether they were gamers or not<br />No correlation with whether they valued the experience or not<br />
    19. 19. Getting used to distraction<br />Student D: Are you? Are you in Dundee? What’s this? Is it magical toadstools?<br />Me: Who’s got the magical toadstools?<br />Student D; We have! I think they are magical toadstools.<br />Student E: Yes they are.<br />Student A: What the hell’s a magical toadstool?<br />Student D: I think we are actually getting high on ‘shrooms. Yes we are, we are.<br />Student E laughs.<br />Student D; Look we’ve just eaten toadstools and we’re going crazy. Oh amazing. Awesome. <br />Student E: Do it again. Do it again.<br />Student D: OK let’s have another one. See what happens. Weeeee. Getting high while flying. That’s dose. Weeeeeee.<br />Me: Can we start move back to Theatron? If you’ve got a Theatron landmark can you join me back on the stage in Theatron?<br />
    20. 20. The role of presence i<br />
    21. 21. Theatre Design and New Media<br />Real life theatres in Second Life<br />What do you think the challenges for actors and designers would be in the real theatre this model represents?<br />What would be the challenges for actors and designers working in the virtual theatre in Second Life?<br />Theatres that only exist in Second Life<br />From the stage design (and any other surrounding spaces) what can you determine are the nature of the performances and the communities that built the stages?<br />How do these theatres / auditoria differ from real life theatrical spaces?<br />
    22. 22. Green College experience<br />Because we've got the atmosphere, because you can play around with the characters and make the audience be back in that century, It encourages as an audience member to actually think “wow we’ve actually been transformed”.<br />“It's not just the idea round the theatres; we actually have to perform in different spaces to get the atmosphere”. <br />
    23. 23. The role of presence ii<br />
    24. 24. Presence v. learning experience<br />
    25. 25. Differences in experience - Red<br />“You don’t have the feeling of it.”<br />“it feels like it’s lacking in something”<br />“you just feel like you’re just watching a game.”<br />“At the end of the day you’re still sat in your bedroom, you’re not actually in a theatre, it’s just like a second self”<br />“Even though you’re not actually there you can walk around it virtually and go to different places”<br />
    26. 26. Differences in experience - Green<br />it's great to just sit there and just lose yourself in it, you can just play about with it and see what happens.<br />you get to fly and you get to fly really, really high up in the sky and all the clouds and birds flying past you. <br />just staring at the screen for ages and just doing that sort of stuff it just didn’t interest me <br />
    27. 27. What’s going on?<br />29% to 31 % of respondents “felt as if ‘the being on the screen’ was their real self”, 26% to 29% felt that their physical body was their real self and 40% to 42% felt that both were real (Heeter, 1995; 200). <br />“The percentages were surprisingly consistent across different audiences and different virtual experiences. … About one fourth of the population is so strongly situated in the real world and their real body that they have a difficult time becoming involved in a virtual world.” (Heeter, 1995; 200).<br /> Embodiment tendency<br />
    28. 28. What can help?<br />It’s not the technology<br />Interactivity as an emotional engagement<br />“i like dancing / because we’re on the stage / it feels right”<br />“we actually have to perform in different spaces to get the atmosphere”<br />“When it was just in that little bit when you first start, that was not really the thing because it was like a computer game. Then but when you start ... I think it was when we went to the German little town you know with the Jews and stuff like that? ... I actually think that is probably the closest you're going to get to go onto these things”<br />
    29. 29. The role of presence iIi – the role of the avatar<br />
    30. 30. Loving your avatarvia @ Steve Warburton<br />
    31. 31.
    32. 32. Social interactions and presence<br />Student R: hey [Student X], couldn't figure out how to change your pants yet?<br />Student X: maybe I like hot pink plaid spandex<br />Student O: I like hot pink spandex!<br />Student K: It suits you<br />Student X: I started to change them, and when I got bored these were the ones I had on<br />Student R: good reasoning<br />
    33. 33. Social interactions and presence<br />Student R: [Student D], why the change in clothes?<br />Student D: you guys were teasing me about my top last week ... or what you thought was NO top<br />Student R: you mean the one we thought you didn't have on?<br />Student I: what top [Student D]? YOu were naked!<br />Student K: I only recognize you from your bracelet [Student D (using her RL name)]<br />Student D: no, had a natural colored shirt on ... and the bling bracelet<br />Student R: I like the top<br />Student D: it's like real life, no time to shop<br />
    34. 34. Social presence and identity<br />Student L: I didn't want to look UGLY<br />Student B: that is my priority<br />Studeny O: I used shopping as practice for navigation<br />Student V: I wantedto look more "personalized" rather then thesample model<br />Student B: i chose the gender and nationality that i am<br />Student A: originality seems important to some as well, beauty in the eye ofthe beholder<br />Student L: I want to look like I smell nice.<br />Student G: then at the same time, I didn't want to be too skinny and generic<br />
    35. 35. Social anxiety<br />Student E: This is sad...I am scared to leave! I am worried will end up bald, lost, and naked again. One life is enough...<br />Student Z: I worry about looking silly in this because I don't feel comfortable with this type of enviroment<br />Student D: don't want to look "stupid" ... I'm worrying about sitting down and can't do it<br />
    36. 36. Social disconnection<br />“it is difficult for me due to not beingable to witness other peoples non-verbal behaviors or reactions to comments”<br />Student L: not so much because we don't know who one another is yet<br />Student R: no, not right now, people don't know who we are yet<br />Student T: No I think it IS safe because you are hidden<br />Student B: i agree it is more safe here to be "yourself"<br />
    37. 37. So what’s going on?<br />Becker and Mark --- social conventions adapted to the functionality of the environments in order to maximise the degree of social presence experienced by the users<br />
    38. 38.
    39. 39.
    40. 40.
    41. 41. SO WHAT’s it all mean?<br />
    42. 42. Virtual body image<br />Used as a basis for social interaction.<br />Needs to be designed, personalised, recognisable, aligned to identity.<br />Situative learning activities need to be preceded by:<br />Time designing the look.<br />Shopping.<br />
    43. 43. Virtual body schema<br />Given enough time spent inworld, virtual body becomes mapped to body schema, technology “disappears into the architecture of the body”.<br />Proprioception (Rowe). <br />Appropriation (Littleton et al).<br />Approprioception (me).<br />Around the same time students report “feeling the atmosphere of the space”.<br />
    44. 44. A link?<br />Embodied cognition.<br />“Cognitive processes are deeply rooted in the body’s interactions with the world” – Wilson.<br />For cognition in virtual worlds to be effective :. need to establish virtual body schema.<br />
    45. 45.
    46. 46. Bodies defined by acting<br />Interaction is not what the objects do, it’s what the avatars do<br />Experiential activities need to be preceded by a long time:<br />Acting inworld / interacting with spaces<br />Locations that have an emotional resonance<br />
    47. 47. A framework for engagement<br />
    48. 48. A framework for DISengagement<br />
    49. 49. Maybe these ...<br />Disclosurism<br />Disapproval of the environment<br />Particularly effective at RL<br />Failure to develop a body image<br />
    50. 50. Cycle of disengagement<br />The need to transmit large quantities of socio-emotional information to strangers over an impersonal mode of communication can make people feel vulnerable and open to personal attacks. So they limit the amount of this type of information … which in turn creates a barrier to communication. (Barrett, 2002, 35)<br />
    51. 51. So what can help?<br />Caspi and Blau (2008; 339): “Those who are sensitive to others’ manifestation of themselves, and perceive the “others”, are more highly motivated to project their own self onto the group” <br />Support in developing avatar<br />Support in identifying social conventions<br />Explore attitudes to virtual worlds<br />
    52. 52. Issues with engagement<br />
    53. 53. Failure and resistance<br />Two unsuccessful case studies<br />Yellow and Cyan Universities<br />Students’ refusal to take part<br />Also disapproval from non-self-selected case study (Red)<br />A general observation – IVWs polarise opinion more than other technologies<br />
    54. 54. Red resistors<br />“it’s the new era of virtual relationships and stuff is quite scary”<br />“I can’t think that people would actually want to be inworld.”<br />“I don’t think you should have a second life on your laptop.”<br />“It seems kind of pointless because in one aspect people can represent themselves however they want to”<br />“I rather think all the opportunities which are available to participants sound rather unhealthy. Personal interaction and real experiences are much more positive.”<br />
    55. 55. 3: The strong mundane<br />Four categories of disapproval<br />relationships in virtual worlds<br />activities in virtual worlds<br />living in virtual world<br />virtual identities<br />not only anxious about these activities, but see them as dehumanising<br />Ancient scepticism:a “distrust of uneasiness about technical activities (that) can be detected in the earliest strata of Western philosophy (Mitcham, 1994; 277).<br />
    56. 56. 4: The weak mundane<br />OK with Second Life but the more fantastic elements undermine any sense of realism<br />“I think it's frightening when it's so new to even consider representing yourself as non-human”<br />unease with non-realistic elements, particularly the use of non-human avatars Bayne (2008; 201)<br />
    57. 57. Yellow and Cyan resistors<br />"I pay my university fees to learn and acquire relevant skills, not to play a game“<br />How does flying around a computer game help us learn about real world issues?<br />
    58. 58. 5: The anti-gamer<br />If virtual worlds are mistaken for games, then may be prone to same opposition<br />frivolous and time-wasting, <br />only for young children, <br />not a respectable thing to do<br />too easy<br />the learning acquired is inauthentic (Whitton and Hollis, 2008; 223)<br />
    59. 59. Yellow and Blue responses<br />“when spawning in a public area it is not at all unusual to 'hear' unpleasant invitations and conversations”†<br />“the community seems to tend towards the seedy or the disturbing (I once followed round a spawn point by a 'man' with a virtual penis, which is frankly just creepy no matter how liberal or worldly you are)” †<br />“I’m standing in just the original site I went into ... and a guy comes in with an erection that big next to me and I find those sites that ... It's offensive to some people.”<br />“the people i have met own my own have been perverted”<br />
    60. 60. 6: The shocked and disgusted<br />IVWs based in cyberpunk, transgression against normative forms of social control (Balsamo, 1995: 359)<br />Lack of regulation, <br />Discomfort at experiences where one has less control (Trinder, 2008; 356 – 358)<br />Predisposed by moral panics of old media<br />Rise in belief in a “right not to be offended”<br />
    61. 61. Ethical dilemmas<br />
    62. 62. Principles informing use of technology<br />Avoid uncritical acceptance of any technology <br />Discourage automatic gainsaying of any technology<br />Make all “reasonable adjustments” to facilitate inclusion<br />Provide new, engaging and diverse learning experiences<br />
    63. 63. An ethical dilemma<br />You want to run a session in Second Life – looking at the options you’ve decided it’s the best way to do it<br />However some students are refusing to take part, others have taken part but do not want to go back because they have been griefed<br />What do you do?<br />
    64. 64. Possible responses<br />A “walled garden”<br />Making all learning using IVWs optional<br />Beginning first session with an opportunity to voice objections and analyse these<br />Contest students’ belief that they have a right not to be offended<br />Ditch the use of IVWs altogether<br />
    65. 65. A framework for engagement<br />

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