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Choosing the                                                                              best virtual                    ...
VIRTUAL WORLD WATCH • Eduserv Research: http://www.eduserv.org.uk/research • Produces snapshot reports of who is doing wha...
“BEST”?• More ‘suitable’ than other virtual worlds.• More ‘suitable’ than other technologies, or non-technological  ways o...
Project first                 “I look at a project and see *if* a                 virtual world might suit that project.  ...
Evaluating worlds                “We in e-learning development havent looked at                alternatives to Second Life...
WHY USE A VIRTUAL WORLD?SOME REASONS...• Meet, talk, while at home or office - reduce CO2 emissions ...• ... and save trav...
Start with a box and make what you need                              Jessica Mullen   http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessica...
Model, animate and manipulate at molecular and atomic levels                                             Peter Miller, Uni...
Build an accurate simulation of a real world environment          Sarah Stewart (from the http://slenz.wordpress.com proje...
No gravity, health & safety, multi-million pound construction...                         Sheila Webber   http://www.flickr...
Recreate and explore historic structures, art, design                                  Gary Hayes   http://www.flickr.com/...
Communicate, record, save, replay                       StevenW Bohm   http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevenwbohm/3407008061
Find academics with similar virtual - and real - world interests
Learn to deal with medical situations                                        © Daden Limited   http://www.pivote.info/
Learn to do dangerous things, safely                                Flickr user ~C4Chaos   http://www.flickr.com/photos/co...
WHY USE A VIRTUAL WORLD?LESS VALID REASONS...• “Fun!” (Though isn’t learning easier when it’s enjoyable?)• “Woo! It’s so p...
There are many worlds...
Virtual Worlds                                                                                                            ...
2009 survey of business users of virtual worlds               © Virtual Worlds Road Map   http://virtualworldsroadmap.wiki...
Metaplace            Daniel Livingstone   http://www.flickr.com/photos/dlivingstone/3349381009/
Project Wonderland       https://lg3d.dev.java.net/wonderland/images/2007-12-Wonderland-Various/album/slides/app-sharing.h...
OLIVE        Ryan Rasmussen   http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanrasmussen/2720018644/
Second Life              John Kirriemuir http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/492552101/
OpenSim / ReactionGrid                         Annabeth Robinson   http://www.flickr.com/photos/annamorphic/3933560753/
Where do I start? How do I start?                     http://www.simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Second_Life_Education_W...
...so how do you pick a world?    What’s your criteria?
Criteria                • What I could get installed and supported without huge                    and exhausting fights w...
Pedagogy            “In terms of choosing Second Life, our institution            had already subscribed to an island and ...
Compromise               “No platform seems to offer a perfect               mix of options, security, and               p...
Some questions to ask, perhaps?
Is there an active community of educators using the virtual world?                              Sheila Webber   http://www...
Local expertise           “I am far more familiar with the educational           applications of Second Life [than other v...
Are there educators already doing what you want to do?                             Graham Stanley   http://www.flickr.com/...
Can you integrate other useful services and functionality?                             Daniel Livingstone   http://www.fli...
Lack of built-in functionality             “I have had a few classes in Metaplace, and done             some proof of conc...
Will the virtual world still be                                                                            around by the e...
Moving world          “OpenSim is interesting in that it gives us a backup plan / exit          strategy. Should Linden la...
Data transfer          “We looked at OpenSim as it would give us more flexibility in          terms of full management cap...
Can you re-use any buildings,areas or structures?                                                                         ...
Can you re-use existing content?                          Flickr user Ravenelle   http://www.flickr.com/photos/ravenelle/3...
Re-use         “We looked at Active Worlds a bit but did not stay with it for         several reasons. Cost was an issue b...
Are your computers up to specification?                                   David Chess   http://www.flickr.com/photos/ceoln...
Tools and platforms          “One of my key criteria is being platform agnostic. Small          Worlds, Metaplace and Seco...
Can your institution support the technical requirements?                              Oli Sigurdarson   http://www.flickr....
Can the virtual world handle a large group of learners?                                Raftwet Jewell   http://www.flickr....
Scalability              “My criteria for deciding on the suitability of different virtual              worlds is determin...
How long to orientate students before they can learn?                             PF Anderson   http://www.flickr.com/phot...
Will avatars be a benefit or a problematic distraction?                               PF Anderson   http://www.flickr.com/...
Can you and your students handle the culture of a virtual world?                                  Prad Prathivi   http://w...
Will learners encounter inappropriate content?                                 Flickr user Torley   http://www.flickr.com/...
Safety-oriented options           “Yes we have [considered virtual worlds other than Second Life]           and we continu...
What’s your budget?                                                                  Phillip Torrone http://www.flickr.com...
Budget     “Adaptability. So, if nothing suits well, can we adapt an     existing virtual world - the open source virtual ...
Will your students get “too into it”?                               Prad Prathivi   http://www.flickr.com/photos/pradprath...
What will you leave behind?                     Flickr user Right as Rain   http://www.flickr.com/photos/xlent1/3269755059/
Finally...       “Pedagogy wise I really dont think platform matters       all that much - it’s the old chestnut of Blackb...
Choosing the best virtual world for your teaching needs
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Choosing the best virtual world for your teaching needs

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A Virtual World Watch presentation for the JISC Innovating 
e-Learning 2009 Online Conference.

Published in: Education, Technology
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Choosing the best virtual world for your teaching needs

  1. 1. Choosing the best virtual world for your teaching needs www.virtualworldwatch.net JISC Innovating e-Learning 2009 Online ConferenceFrankie Rockett http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankierockett/3334290833/
  2. 2. VIRTUAL WORLD WATCH • Eduserv Research: http://www.eduserv.org.uk/research • Produces snapshot reports of who is doing what with virtual worlds in some UK universities and colleges. • Quotes today taken from the October 2009 ‘choosing virtual worlds’ report.
  3. 3. “BEST”?• More ‘suitable’ than other virtual worlds.• More ‘suitable’ than other technologies, or non-technological ways of teaching.... or perhaps ...• Helps achieves all the goals of the learning exercise.• Develops “bonus skills” as a consequence.• Cheapest / easiest / quickest option.
  4. 4. Project first “I look at a project and see *if* a virtual world might suit that project. If a virtual world does suit that project, then I think *which* virtual world would suit the project best.” Fiona Littleton, University of Edinburgh
  5. 5. Evaluating worlds “We in e-learning development havent looked at alternatives to Second Life so far, mainly because of the ease of access and availability of Second Life and that we dont want to be having to do anything technical ourselves. But, I must say that with the increasing number of virtual worlds around now, I think at the end of this year when we have a number of teaching projects running in Second Life, well be evaluating them and might well look at other options then.” Dr Liz Falconer, E-Learning Development Unit, University of the West of England
  6. 6. WHY USE A VIRTUAL WORLD?SOME REASONS...• Meet, talk, while at home or office - reduce CO2 emissions ...• ... and save travel time and expense.• Develop team communication and collaboration skills.• Develop design and programming skills.• Integrate video, audio, digital media as you want it, into an event or display which anyone globally can access.• Teach, either one-to-one or one-to-many.
  7. 7. Start with a box and make what you need Jessica Mullen http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessicamullen/3419396415/
  8. 8. Model, animate and manipulate at molecular and atomic levels Peter Miller, University of Liverpool
  9. 9. Build an accurate simulation of a real world environment Sarah Stewart (from the http://slenz.wordpress.com project) http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahmstewart/3199846801/
  10. 10. No gravity, health & safety, multi-million pound construction... Sheila Webber http://www.flickr.com/photos/23396182@N00/4083289648/
  11. 11. Recreate and explore historic structures, art, design Gary Hayes http://www.flickr.com/photos/garyhayes/639355411/
  12. 12. Communicate, record, save, replay StevenW Bohm http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevenwbohm/3407008061
  13. 13. Find academics with similar virtual - and real - world interests
  14. 14. Learn to deal with medical situations © Daden Limited http://www.pivote.info/
  15. 15. Learn to do dangerous things, safely Flickr user ~C4Chaos http://www.flickr.com/photos/coolmel/2481003077/
  16. 16. WHY USE A VIRTUAL WORLD?LESS VALID REASONS...• “Fun!” (Though isn’t learning easier when it’s enjoyable?)• “Woo! It’s so pretty!”• “At last, I can attend staff meetings as a unicorn.”• “We can get funding for this!”• “Have you smelt my colleague on a hot day? Would you want to sit next to him, or communicate virtually?”• “‘They’ are using it and we don’t want to look lame.”
  17. 17. There are many worlds...
  18. 18. Virtual Worlds Second Life (33) Age 5 Jumpstart 1.4m Webkinz Jr. All Star BabiesRegistered Accounts 17m DinoKids 1m Chuggington Utherverse (32) 3m SeaPals 15m 2009Q3 2009 2.5m WebbliWorld Liv World Garden Party kzero.co.uk 2m 1.2m Zula 13m Pixie Hollow Blue Mars (31) Wowzie 1m 1.2m Age 30+ GeoSim World Age 8 Philly (32) Ecobuddies Tw 2008 init Planet Soccer Live y (3 Bunnytown 1) Mini Match Konstruction Zone Vector City Racers Teleplace Camp Pete Live or open beta Woogi World Beanie Babies Xivio nd 1.5m Launched in 2007 Isla Hello Kitty HiPiHi (30) erald Club PonyPals Handipoints ZooKazoo Em ille Webosaurs Closed gov Roblox Min 10.8m Buildabearville Amazing 5m 3m Worlds .com 7m Webkinz 2m anda Ty Girlz Pand 6m Zwinky 5m 2006 Wonder Rotunda/Footee 2010 Tootsville/ToppsTown ActionJetz Robot Galaxy 19m Barbie Girls 17m Brit Chicks/WoozWorld Chapatiz 15m 12m Cybertown 2005 40m 76m 80m Poptropica 20m ERepublik Chobots Ekoloko 4m 6m Fusion Fall Shidonni Omnidate 4m 7m Moshi Monsters 1m Age 25 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2005 2006 2007 Dizzywood 2008 2009 1m 1.6m Age 10 3m Franktown Rocks Yoowalk MinyanLand Free Realms 5m 45m 50m 2m 1.5m 55m Neopets SceneCaster 4m 3m Digital Dollhouse 2005 Supersecret Freakatars NFL Rushzone 3.3m Fantage 1m 1m Vizwoz 1m Elf Island Activeworlds 1m 2m Weblin 12m Green UpperDeckU Vivaty 2006 19m Football Superstars 22m Medikidz go My M Papermint 28m Sup Empire of Sports ini L 30m erm 1.5m Club Penguin Chamber of Chat ife od Twinners 2m 5m el 1.5m Galactik Football 8.6m 1.5m 1.5m s 10m Nicktropolis 2m orld 3m 2007 2m 2m mallW ClubCooee vSide Planet Cazmo 1m Girl Ambition Kaneva S vLES 6m 2.5m 1m 4m 3m 3m Precious Girls Club There 4.5m 20m Whirled 8m 5m 4m Lola’s Land 2m 13m 11m 6m Spineworld 5m 30m Whyville vMTV 90m 35m Rocketon 12.7m Ridemakerz Yoggurt 2008 IMVU 19m 15m Age 20 40m Funji Home 12m 17m Spicy Town 100m Muxlim 5m Age 13 7m 7m 16m Freggers 13m 3m Action Allstars Taatu 4m Frenzoo Onverse 9m 24m Girl Sense 8m xm 5m 15m 21m 124m 2m Home 1m Cosmopax 12m 135m sMeet 2009 26m 3.2m RevNjenz 5.2m xm 16m 1m 26m No data shown for worlds 13m Habbo Ourworld Outspark 20m 30m 148m under 1m registered accounts. 1.2m Includes estimates. Meez Gaia Stardoll 30m Copyright KZero 2006-2009 Meta-place 3.8m 2m 1.5m 42m WeeWorld Howrse Age 15 RoiworldThursday, 22 October 2009
  19. 19. 2009 survey of business users of virtual worlds © Virtual Worlds Road Map http://virtualworldsroadmap.wikispaces.com/Survey+Aug+09
  20. 20. Metaplace Daniel Livingstone http://www.flickr.com/photos/dlivingstone/3349381009/
  21. 21. Project Wonderland https://lg3d.dev.java.net/wonderland/images/2007-12-Wonderland-Various/album/slides/app-sharing.html
  22. 22. OLIVE Ryan Rasmussen http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanrasmussen/2720018644/
  23. 23. Second Life John Kirriemuir http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/492552101/
  24. 24. OpenSim / ReactionGrid Annabeth Robinson http://www.flickr.com/photos/annamorphic/3933560753/
  25. 25. Where do I start? How do I start? http://www.simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Second_Life_Education_Wiki#Teaching_Resources
  26. 26. ...so how do you pick a world? What’s your criteria?
  27. 27. Criteria • What I could get installed and supported without huge and exhausting fights with the computing officers. • Price (although we ended up paying for our island we weighed up the cost of the extra support time for OpenSim against this). • End user programming is a must for us. • Learning materials available to support students. • Multiuser virtual environment with user generated content support. • Support from other educators who have done something similar. Judy Robertson, Department of Computer Science, Heriot-Watt University
  28. 28. Pedagogy “In terms of choosing Second Life, our institution had already subscribed to an island and there were people engaged in work in Second Life whose experiences we were able to draw on. We also developed our own pedagogical arguments to justify our approach and these were well rehearsed at our IPED conference here at Coventry, the Re-LIVE conference at Milton Keynes and the ascilite conference in Melbourne all last autumn.” Dr Graham Steventon, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Coventry University
  29. 29. Compromise “No platform seems to offer a perfect mix of options, security, and population of others. In this sense picking a world to use with students is very much about deciding what areas you are willing to compromise and what areas you are not.”Michele Ryan, University of Lancaster
  30. 30. Some questions to ask, perhaps?
  31. 31. Is there an active community of educators using the virtual world? Sheila Webber http://www.flickr.com/photos/23396182@N00/4082460341/
  32. 32. Local expertise “I am far more familiar with the educational applications of Second Life [than other virtual worlds], and I am aware of OpenSim and Twinity ... but a quick glance at Open Croquet looks very interesting. I am in Second Life because others in HE are, and because of existing expertise at my institution.”Dr Anne Cunningham, School of Sciences, University of Sunderland
  33. 33. Are there educators already doing what you want to do? Graham Stanley http://www.flickr.com/photos/grahamstanley/2047808213/
  34. 34. Can you integrate other useful services and functionality? Daniel Livingstone http://www.flickr.com/photos/dlivingstone/3971378097/
  35. 35. Lack of built-in functionality “I have had a few classes in Metaplace, and done some proof of concept work with SLOODLE in Metaplace. It’s light, simple fun and give a chance to do lightweight stuff with minimal learning curve for participants. But there’s no integrated voice (need Skype or Ventrillo).”Dr Daniel Livingstone, Computer Science, University of the West of Scotland
  36. 36. Will the virtual world still be around by the end of your educational exercise? “Before I started I went to our ITC where they were into VR stuff and realised it would be more efficient to use Second Life as it would be under constant development due to being commercial.” David Jukes, Nottingham Trent UniversityFlickr user Nesster http://www.flickr.com/photos/nesster/3714783252/
  37. 37. Moving world “OpenSim is interesting in that it gives us a backup plan / exit strategy. Should Linden labs go under financially we could rescue something from the wreckage and put it on OpenSim. Also, should we encounter network bandwidth problems we could run OpenSim on campus. In addition, open source projects have a good track record if they can gain traction. So we’ve gone for a belt and braces approach; most of the work is in Second Life initially, but OpenSim is lurking in the background, not quite ready for prime time but capable of stealing the whole show!”Matthew Cownie, School of Health and Social Care, University of the West of England
  38. 38. Data transfer “We looked at OpenSim as it would give us more flexibility in terms of full management capabilities, no limitation on the number of islands we could create, or on the way we could interact with the virtual world e.g. extensions to SLOODLE or how we could integrate hardware into the virtual world. In addition, having full access/control of the hosting server would be useful. We deployed OpenSim in July 2009 and ran it in standalone mode. One useful tool we found was Second Inventory which allowed us to transfer over existing Second Life content into OpenSim.” Michael Callaghan and Kerri McCusker, University of Ulster
  39. 39. Can you re-use any buildings,areas or structures? Theatron project © Kings Visualisation Lab, Kings College London http://www.kvl.cch.kcl.ac.uk/gallery.html
  40. 40. Can you re-use existing content? Flickr user Ravenelle http://www.flickr.com/photos/ravenelle/3570314091/
  41. 41. Re-use “We looked at Active Worlds a bit but did not stay with it for several reasons. Cost was an issue but mostly because there are more people in SL and thus the experience is richer. Also we try to use artifacts that other have developed, visiting other islands instead of having to create everything from scratch. SL provided a larger range of third party- created and free places to visit and use for our courses. We felt the limitation of Active Worlds being a collection of separate worlds was greater than the benefit of the added security a private world offers.” Michele Ryan, University of Lancaster
  42. 42. Are your computers up to specification? David Chess http://www.flickr.com/photos/ceoln/3916503310/
  43. 43. Tools and platforms “One of my key criteria is being platform agnostic. Small Worlds, Metaplace and Second Life all run smoothly on Macs as well as PCs and thats often my first criterion. After that, content creation tools that are simple, co- operative, reliable and stable is my next criterion. I appreciate that Metaplace may have changed since I was there last, but each time I have looked, only Second Life has passed all these tests.” Eloise Pasteur, Designer
  44. 44. Can your institution support the technical requirements? Oli Sigurdarson http://www.flickr.com/photos/steingro/725347978/
  45. 45. Can the virtual world handle a large group of learners? Raftwet Jewell http://www.flickr.com/photos/raftwetjewell/3125643666/
  46. 46. Scalability “My criteria for deciding on the suitability of different virtual worlds is determined by the needs of an art or design student studying on a predominantly campus-based, practice-led undergraduate course. The other major factor in my decision making process is the ability for the technology to facilitate the large numbers of students that I manage. If something takes 10 minutes to configure per student, thats 60 hours of configuration for just one course. If it isnt easily scalable, I havent got time.” Ian Truelove, Leeds Metropolitan University
  47. 47. How long to orientate students before they can learn? PF Anderson http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosefirerising/1713307398/
  48. 48. Will avatars be a benefit or a problematic distraction? PF Anderson http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosefirerising/422591035/
  49. 49. Can you and your students handle the culture of a virtual world? Prad Prathivi http://www.flickr.com/photos/pradprathivi/3923621775/
  50. 50. Will learners encounter inappropriate content? Flickr user Torley http://www.flickr.com/photos/torley/3750060476/
  51. 51. Safety-oriented options “Yes we have [considered virtual worlds other than Second Life] and we continue to consider them. We may well use alternatives to Second Life in a future project and where feasible we have developed technologies that are independent of the virtual world in which they are visualised. We would consider OpenSim, Suns Wonderland or Forterras Olive for projects requiring behind-the-firewall access, or where we needed to work across the age ranges of the two Second Life Grids (i.e. 13-18 and 18+).”Dave Taylor, Virtual Worlds and Medical Media, Imperial College London
  52. 52. What’s your budget? Phillip Torrone http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmtorrone/118904267/Andy Powell http://www.flickr.com/photos/andypowe11/1142157613/ Phillip Torrone http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmtorrone/118904268/
  53. 53. Budget “Adaptability. So, if nothing suits well, can we adapt an existing virtual world - the open source virtual worlds do well here. Maintainability. How much money and time is going to be required to use the virtual world, including how much is it going to change the hardware requirements when equipping computing labs.” J Ross Nicoll, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews
  54. 54. Will your students get “too into it”? Prad Prathivi http://www.flickr.com/photos/pradprathivi/2695999562/
  55. 55. What will you leave behind? Flickr user Right as Rain http://www.flickr.com/photos/xlent1/3269755059/
  56. 56. Finally... “Pedagogy wise I really dont think platform matters all that much - it’s the old chestnut of Blackboard or Moodle, Internet Explorer or Firefox, iPod or MP3 player. Its about people’s perceptions, and misperceptions can just stick or freeze people into not trying things, into being negative. It’s not the technology per se, it’s what you do with it.”Kathryn Trinder, Glasgow Caledonian University

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