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Don't look back in anger...


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A presentation at the Big Issues in Immersive Virtual Worlds conference, at Coventry University, in November 2010.

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Don't look back in anger...

  1. 1. Don’t look back in anger... Big Issues in Immersive Virtual Worlds 2010 Coventry University John Lembo
  2. 2. Quick summary of Virtual World Watch...
  3. 3. VWW: Virtual World Watch (1) “Snapshots” of who is using virtual worlds, and how, in UK universities and colleges. Unexpectedly large numbers of downloads. Spring 2007 to Summer 2008: Eduserv funded reports. Summer 2008 to Spring 2010: under more cohesive Eduserv funding. Kathryn Trinder
  4. 4. VWW: Virtual World Watch (2) Summer to Autumn 2010: No funding plus legal and technical problems. Bah. Small bits of funding gained; other bits being pursued plus more passive sources. Website and data getting revived, virtual world book progressing. A few information alliances in the works, including... COPOP
  5. 5. Games, virtual worlds and higher education SIG Partners: University of Edinburgh University of Leicester Virtual World Watch Institute of Education Allied with other organisations e.g. DIGRA. Website soon; first event in SL next week. Sheila Webber
  6. 6. Games, virtual worlds and higher education SIG To support research into the uses and potential of games and virtual world technologies in Higher Education teaching and learning and – crucially – to develop links between research and practice in these areas. To act as a forum for the exchange of ideas across disciplines. To forge an agenda of educationally relevant scholarship and practice. Start date: Autumn 2010 (basically, now).
  7. 7. UK in 2010 Threats and opportunities
  8. 8. Inha Leex Hale
  9. 9. Gunnlaugur Þór Briem
  10. 10. John Amos
  11. 11.
  12. 12.
  13. 13. Tom
  14. 14. William Hook
  15. 15. Colony of Gamers
  16. 16. Michael Coghlan
  17. 17. 3.5 years of data... (VWW likeS counting things)
  18. 18. Some nerdy statistics Snapshots to date: 9 of which 8 are public, one in legal ‘limbo’ (#9.3 should be public by Nov. 15th). Including #9.3: Responses (open to definition, and not all eligible or publishable) from UK HE: 1,053. Responses from UK FE, schools, RSCs, other: 81. Continuing ‘problem’ of people who do not, will not, or cannot, report or respond.
  19. 19. WHich virtual world? Daneel Ariantho 91% use(d) Second Life. 4% use(d) OpenSim. 5% the rest. Core minority experiment with many worlds that come along. Second Life still vastly predominant. Increase in using OpenSim, Unity 3D.
  20. 20. WHo FUNDS DEVELOPMENT? Of that which is not voluntary... 54% internal university/college. 11% medical funding sources. No one major source e.g. 7% efforts through JISC funding. Increase in European funding. Amounts vary massively, from tiny amounts to several hundred thousands. Sheila Webber
  21. 21. What are academics doing? A lot of the responses blur, but picking the predominants: 42% are researching virtual worlds, nearly all of which is virtual world use in education. 27% are “making stuff” for a myriad of reasons. 31% are using virtual worlds in some aspect of teaching and learning. SGVW at Derry
  22. 22. What subject areas? Broad subject areas not well represented, except for health, medicine and the biosciences. ‘Niche’ ones predominate e.g. Learning about e-learning. Midwifery. Aspects of art and design. Individual languages. n.b. Class sizes vary. SGVW at Derry
  23. 23. THe IT Support issue Always been the 2nd most common issue, after obtaining funding. Situation really bad in 2008 for many in UK HE. But only a small fraction of complaints now. It’s still near-impossible at FE and school level to do SL stuff. And hard to do other virtual world stuff as well. Chris Stephens
  24. 24. ACademic peer attitudes Still variable though hearing less about hostility. Best combated by using the VW with goal-based structured task. Most common negative vibes: Waste of scarce funding. “Dangerous.” Not “real” learning. It’s a game... Fiona Littleton
  25. 25. Iris Shreve Garrott
  26. 26. IS VW use in HE/FE increasing? FE: No. That one’s easy :-( 2007-08: High turnover, much one-off experimentation. Core group of 2+ academic year developers, users has been slowly growing. Recent Linden Lab moves have rattled a lot of UK academics... Bex Ferriday
  27. 27. Major issues at the moment The four (main) options: 1. Stay with commercial SL. 2. Move to OpenSim. 3. Move to another VW. 4. Give up. University funding changes: How do I make my job safer? How can this be funded? More demanding students? Kathryn Trinder
  28. 28. What matters to you? What are you going to do? Stick with Second Life, move to OpenSim, something else? What’s your bugbears? Funding good? What’s your issues? Are you positive or negative? Kathryn Trinder Over to you...