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CETIS / Eduserv Foundation workshop

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A Virtual World Watch presentation to the JISC CETIS / Eduserv Foundation workshop in Glasgow, January 2009.

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CETIS / Eduserv Foundation workshop

  1. 1. The state of Second Life in Digital Games in UK Higher and Further Education European Libraries January 2009
  2. 2. Personal position  Three things getting better; the perfect storm: PC and Mac technology is getting better e.g. − processor power, graphics. − Broadband nearly ubiquitous. − Virtual worlds are constantly improving.  Lifelong learning: fit learning around your life.  Distance learning: more choice of courses. But need:  More evidence of academic quality.  Practical tools, assists, jump-ins, fast ramp-ups.
  3. 3. Snapshot survey 1: July 2007 Difficulty in finding activity. At the last minute, discovered the “2 islands away” technique. Around 40 universities / colleges “active”. Overall picture: fragmented.
  4. 4. Snapshot survey 2: September 2007 Essentially an update of survey 1. A few new ones e.g. Falmouth, Bournemouth, Leicester, Wolverhampton. Overall picture: fragmented.
  5. 5. Snapshot survey 3: Spring 2008 “Evidence” of Second Life activity in roughly 75% of UK universities. Three repeated wishes: - more funding opportunities - more time to develop - better technical facilities within SL, or a viable alternative environment Overall picture: fragmented.
  6. 6. Snapshot survey 4: Autumn 2008 Many respondents funded externally. Overall picture: fragmented.
  7. 7. Purpose of Virtual World Watch * To find out what the dickens is going on. * To provide pointers to “ammunition” for academics to use to make their case inside their institution... * ...though while remaining neutral (“platform agnostic”). * To try and bring together like-minded academic practitioners. * To see where this goes...
  8. 8. Typical respondent to a snapshot survey  Isn’t afraid to give an Just “does it” opinion  Usually either concise or extremely verbose  Open minded  Practises what they preach re: virtual worlds  Can go nose to nose with sceptics  Core of contacts in ~30 universities who respond to most surveys
  9. 9. Snapshot survey 5: Late 2008 / early 2009 Probably unwise to ask for survey data over Christmas and New Year … but still had 51 responses (highest number yet) -- Much more -teaching and learning -- Several institutions now -in 2nd or 3rd year of using -Second Life -- No clear “SL killer”, -though OpenSim is -creating interest
  10. 10. Activity in UK universities (generally HE)
  11. 11. Activity in UK colleges (generally FE)
  12. 12. Much activity outside responses “Staffordshire University is carrying out a project to see how useful a virtual world like Second Life might be when it comes to undergraduate teaching.” “We are active but not yet public.” - many responses. “A one year JISC funded research project at the University of Bristol. We are creating a collection of paintings that will be displayed within a virtual Pompeiian house in a similar way to the actual Sydenham Crystal Palace that was build in London in 1854.”
  13. 13. Data extraction from survey responses
  14. 14. Teaching in Second Life
  15. 15. “The virtual environment makes visualisation of three dimensional mathematical objects easier. Quite often the ability to jump from thinking in 2D to 3D is a major reason why students who were good at A-level maths struggle with degree level.” - Warwick “Classes in E-learning, politics and society; introduction to digital environments; introduction to digital game based learning; language, culture and communication in online learning; effective course design for E-learning; and information literacies for online learning are held each semester within Second Life.” - Edinburgh
  16. 16. “Currently we have finished building our island and are actively using it to teach Law, Radiography, 3D interactive media, real time media streaming, 3D animation, creative writing, Computer Science and much more.” - Hertfordshire “I taught 5 x 1 hour sessions in the first semester on bacterial cell wall ultrastructure.” – Liverpool “Autumn 2008: Level 1 media styling students: module 'Contextual Studies'. Using Second Life to build contemporary versions of historical fashion images. Level 3 fashion student: final year project. Level 1 Business Studies: taking part in library skills tutorials.” - Southampton Solent
  17. 17. Virtual Environment courses “A course about 3D interactive environments.” – Greenwich “In February '09, we'll be running our newly validated module ‘Virtual Environments’” - Leeds Art and Design College “I have twice run the class ‘Virtual Worlds for Design’ for architecture and engineering students (4th and 5th year, and post graduate).” - Strathclyde “The students learn how to program in Linden Script, and some simple 3D modelling. The module is 100% course work and their assignment this semester was to create an interactive virtual pet.” - Heriot-Watt
  18. 18. Student design e.g. Virtual Crufts
  19. 19. Virtual worlds as simulations of dangerous environments
  20. 20. Derby “A virtual quarry in conjunction with the Institute of Quarrying. This work is intended to replicate real quarrying situations: dangerous overhangs; explosions; hazardous working vehicles. Students move around the quarry identifying those hazards.”
  21. 21. West of England “The witnesses go down to the simulation set and the investigators stay at the gathering point. The tutor runs the simulation through – in this case a fork lift truck accident in a small warehouse which the witness students can view through their avatars.”
  22. 22. Health and medicine
  23. 23. Medical equipment created by Glasgow Caledonian “A simulation of a full working model of an X-ray machine. This allows for safe practice; is flexible either to be used in a class or for self study. It is scaleable - only one exists on campus but we can copy the simulation as many times as we wish.”
  24. 24. Medical and bioscience “A project entitled “A virtual bug’s life” which has students working on projects within many different types of virtual worlds as part of their student selected component. This is launching soon, so more on this in the next snapshot!” - Edinburgh “We have been developing game-based learning for the delivery of virtual patients in Second Life.” - Imperial College London
  25. 25. Health and simulation of dangerous situations “We have developed a virtual care home in Second Life for ‘patients’ with moderate to severe learning disabilities. Designed with clinical management students in mind, the care home is a basis for strategy development, whereby the students undertake scenarios in the care home such as an epidemic, a fire outbreak, a poorly managed staff team or an unhelpful higher being. They must collaborate with each other to come up with a convenient strategy that should effectively solve the scenario.” - Coventry
  26. 26. Other things that repeatedly appeared in the responses
  27. 27. Studying SL as a learning environment “A pilot study looking at Interprofessional education in Second Life.” - Coventry “Determining whether SL is a suitable environment within which to develop students' business enterprise skills.” - Leeds “Through the Open Habitat project, we are piloting various approaches to teaching and learning in Second Life and OpenSim.” - Leeds Metropolitan “This project investigated pedagogical issues related to teaching within 3D virtual worlds using Second Life as the delivery platform.” - Ulster
  28. 28. Staff introduction “We held a number of induction events to allow interested members of staff to familiarise themselves with the environment.” - Leeds “Teaching our staff about virtual worlds and the possibilities of these as a learning and teaching environment.” - Glasgow Caledonian “Currently exploring SL with a small group for staff to look at the feasibility of using SL to exchange and work with other educational establishments or projects.” – Strode College
  29. 29. Stuff difficult to do elsewhere “Creating some crime scene scenarios for use by forensic science students.” - East London “We're building a Buddhist monastery as part of a 2nd year course on the anthropology of Buddhism. A subset of the class will create avatars, learn to socialise in SL in all its indulgent glory, and then surrender all fashion, wealth and gender to become temporary monks/nuns.” - Aberdeen
  30. 30. Machinima “A section of the island is designated for film making (machinima), with an adaptable diorama and terraformable landscape for creating sets.” - JISC RSC (Northern) “A group of media students are undertaking a project on creating machinima and guidance on the use of the event simulator described above as part of their interactive media course.” - West of England
  31. 31. Funding
  32. 32. Funding In terms of number of activities, internal funding still the predominant main source. However, more external sources e.g.:  JISC funds many projects.  MUVEnation funded by the European Commission.  Leverhulme Trust funding researchers at Coventry.
  33. 33. Other worlds …
  34. 34. OpenSim “We expect to see more interest in OpenSim, and possibly Wonderland - emphasising the need to keep the ‘intelligence’ of any solution out of any one particular virtual world. We also still see no ‘Second Life killer’ out there.” - Daden Limited “The latest OpenSim server builds offer outstanding performance, and are rapidly maturing and becoming reliable for everyday use. Porting objects and scripts (but not all of them) from Second Life to OpenSim is now possible.” - Plymouth
  35. 35. OpenSim (more) “We plan to set up our own OpenSim server for our 600 art & design students to enjoy, free from some of the obstacles that we have encountered whilst trying to use Second Life.” - Leeds Metropolitan “We have an OpenSim grid running with a few regions set up. We are applying for funding to support an OpenSim grid for the UK academic community.” – St. Andrews
  36. 36. Night balloon over University of Nottingham marina in SL By Andy Beggan, University of Nottingham Myself on the west beach of Berneray By John Kirriemuir, http://www.silversprite.com Eduserv Foundation http://www.eduserv.org.uk/foundation Andy Powell in the pool, by Andy Powell http://www.flickr.com/photos/andypowe11/2750658057 Finland (snapshot number 1), by John Kirriemuir http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/478326770/ Seattle skyline (snapshot number 2), by John Kirriemuir http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/902573785/ Lift in Swedish hotel (snapshot number 3), by John Kirriemuir http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/2646601174/ Santa Monica pier at dusk (snapshot number 4), by John Kirriemuir http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/2950941750/ Virtual World Watch http://www.virtualworldwatch.net “Just Do It” (skateboard, hill and pier) http://www.perthlaw.biz/Bird%20Week%202006/nike.jpg This is Bear Country, by John Kirriemuir http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/2985946778/in/set-72157607957657774 New York City view, by Flickr user Meironke http://www.flickr.com/photos/meironke/2670845984/
  37. 37. Desert Landscape, by Flickr user Eggman http://www.flickr.com/photos/eqqman/463425700/ Teaching in Second Life (Brain picture), by Flickr user rosefirerising http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosefirerising/498913702/ Virtual Crufts, by Judy Robertson http://judyrobertson.typepad.com/judy_robertson/2008/12/virtual-crufts.html Quarry overview, by Peter Radcliff University of Derby Quarry rockfall, by Peter Radcliff University of Derby Factory safety picture, by Liz Falconer University of the West of England Medical science bench, by Rose Heaney University of East London X-ray machine, by Ferdinand Francino Glasgow Caledonian University Sloodle101/Second Life & Moodle, by Flickr user robinmochi http://www.flickr.com/photos/25095603@N07/2525372809/ JISC discussion table (funding), by Flickr user Eduserv Foundation http://www.flickr.com/photos/eduservfoundation/542482576/in/set-72157600343823993 PS3 Home marina picture, by Annabeth Robinson http://www.flickr.com/photos/annamorphic/3104565954/ PS3 Interior picture, by Annabeth Robinson http://www.flickr.com/photos/annamorphic/3106473041/

Editor's Notes

  • Night balloon over the University of Nottingham Marina.\n
  • Why I am interested in this whole Virtual World thing.\n
  • The Eduserv Foundations interest in Virtual Worlds.\n
  • All the snapshots have been done while I was on the road, or preparing to go on the road. The first one was done in the spring of 2007, but data was difficult to find. I was in Finland at this point.\n
  • This snapshot was basically an update of the first one. The picture is of Seattle, which had some very good fish restaurants.\n
  • The third snapshot (partially done while I was in Sweden – there’s a notice on the lift) showed a significant increase in the amount of Second Life activity which we uncovered.\n
  • The fourth snapshot showed this increase in virtual world activity increasing, but also some practitioners in UK HE starting to look at alternatives to Second Life.\n
  • Virtual World Watch is the holding place for the snapshots. Various bits of relevant data and information will appear on the website as it develops over the next year.\n
  • These are my personal reasons for doing Virtual World Watch. The project runs for a year, from mid-October 2008.\n
  • Some characteristics of many of the respondents to the five snapshots to date. Typically, these are battle-hardened academics. \n
  • Snapshot number 5 was started when I was in the USA trying to avoid being eaten by bears. Though formal surveying didn’t start until near Christmas, which was not a wise move. Having said that, I still received a record number of responses; three people even submitted theirs on Christmas Day.\n
  • Lots of responses, as ever, from UK universities.\n
  • Activity in UK colleges, and other Further Education institutions, has been negligible. Having said that, there seems to be some more activity very recently, but it is still only a tiny fraction of that found in UK universities.\n
  • It should be stressed that the survey is not comprehensive. There is much Second Life, and increasingly other Virtual World activity, in places and by people who did not respond. Here are a few examples; in addition, a number of respondents always indicate other activities that they cannot yet go public on.\n
  • Here is some of the data (removing personal and other information) from most of the current snapshot survey. It shouldn’t be taken as cast in stone, as the situation with most institutions is constantly changing. Things to notice:\nMost respondents thought they would be doing virtual world activities next year as well.\nTeaching and learning activities were mentioned in most responses.\nSecond Life is still the predominant virtual world (albeit this was the partial focus of the survey), though OpenSim is gaining significant interest).\n
  • So let’s have a look at a few examples of teaching activities in Second Life.\n
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  • There are also an increasing number of courses about virtual worlds, or that use them for their own ends.\n
  • Heriot-Watt, where they do lots of fun things in Second Life.\n
  • The quarry simulator at the University of Derby.\n
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  • The School of Health & Bioscience at the University of East London has a wet lab with a PCR experiment. \n
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  • Some elements came up in several responses to the latest snapshot.\n
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  • There are an increasing number of funding sources, unlike a few years ago, for research, teaching and learning projects in Second Life in UK academia. Coventry University has also got hold of some big money from the Leverhulme Trust for a group of researchers and PhD students.\n
  • But … there are Virtual Worlds other than Second Life. In the picture is PS3 home.\n
  • And this year may very well see the main discussion be whether to stick with Second Life, or to use OpenSim. Several universities and academics are looking at it at the moment.\n
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