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Learning through fallingSecond Life in UK academiaVirtual World Watchwww.virtualworldwatch.netJISC RSC NorthernLearning in...
Eight questions.
1. Why are we doing this?
The positive reasons✤   Three things getting better (the perfect storm):    1. PC and Mac technology.    2. Broadband acce...
The negative reasons✤   “Job for life” dead. Constant re-skilling, re-education at all stages of    life needed. Juggled w...
£170 million buys a lot of virtual land, buildings.
Changing roll numbers = difficult school planning.
Your new university campus. Cheap, ignores gravity.
Even better: loads of cheap or free stuff.
2. Who’s teaching? Who’s learning?
Lots of people in UK universities do both.
16 ways to use virtual worldsExamples include:✤    As a connection device for Internet telephony, instant messaging or    ...
Teaching research, virtual world skills.
TB bacterium converts sugars.
Be anywhere, attend anything.
Multi-modal communication.
Lots of UK academic health, medicine in Second Life.
LiVE project, Birmingham: making movies.
Health and safety: quarry simulator.
Graduation ...
3. Does a technology have to be “mainstream”?
Right tool for the right job ...✤   Calculators not used in history, biology, sociology, religious studies ...    but are ...
4. When did some “IT services” become “IT dictatorships”?
Resistance to change?
“IT services sometimes do    not take it seriously and ask   ‘Why do you want to do this               at all?’”Mark Child...
Argument against (1)✤   Second Life has worked very well for teaching and learning activities    for tens of thousands of ...
Argument against (2) Your obstruction to virtual world use loses this university income including: ✤   Virtual World and t...
5. How “real” is it?
“Primarily, women want to       change their appearance      and fiddle with their hair,    and men feel the need to put   ...
“What is ‘real’, anyway?        And does it matter if it’s        ‘real’ or not, so long as it                  works?”And...
6. Where’s the proof virtual worlds work?
Fragmented, but there and free✤   Um, there’s, like, a massive online world of it. Have you looked?✤   Snapshot reports (5...
Accelerating the peer-review process is good.
Not just in the UK; look global (real world global).
Blogs, social media by academic developers.
“Why the need to prove?     You’re not required, all the    time, to quantitatively prove       that lecture theatres are ...
7. How do we deal with other academic sceptics?
“I have convinced my          managers now that it is          worthwhile for teaching.         Some people are bizarrely ...
Suggested responsesTo open minded sceptics: “Welcome! Understand by doing. So join us in-world at this teaching event; we’...
8. Where’s the money?
Tips✤   Funding bodies tend to farm out proposals to people experienced in    virtual worlds. So, no BS.✤   Unfortunately ...
Examples of VW work funders✤   BECTA e.g. teen grid research.✤   JISC (more than any other UK academic funder).✤   Higher ...
Example of European funding.
How quickly can you write a proposal... ?
One tiny last complication: loads more virtual worlds ...
Places in screenshots✤   Abbots Aerodrome (skydiving): http://slurl.com/secondlife/Abbotts/160/148/71✤   Southampton Solen...
Places in screenshots✤   University of East London: http://slurl.com/secondlife/UEL%20Island/62/44/31✤   LIVE (Learning in...
Places in screenshots✤   Second Life Education Wiki: http://www.simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Second_Life_Education_Wi...
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Learning through falling: Second Life in UK academia.

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April 2009 keynote presentation at the JISC RSC Northern conference on virtual worlds in education.

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Learning through falling: Second Life in UK academia.

  1. 1. Learning through fallingSecond Life in UK academiaVirtual World Watchwww.virtualworldwatch.netJISC RSC NorthernLearning in Virtual WorldsApril 21st 2009
  2. 2. Eight questions.
  3. 3. 1. Why are we doing this?
  4. 4. The positive reasons✤ Three things getting better (the perfect storm): 1. PC and Mac technology. 2. Broadband access. 3. Virtual Worlds themselves.✤ Lifelong learning opportunities.✤ Learn when you want, from where you want.✤ Thousands of successful instances of virtual worlds used in teaching and learning.
  5. 5. The negative reasons✤ “Job for life” dead. Constant re-skilling, re-education at all stages of life needed. Juggled with family, location ties.✤ Cost of repeatedly visiting distant campus in travel (fuel, tickets), time and carbon footprint.✤ University students live at home, can’t afford to live at university (Office for National Statistics report, April 2009).✤ It is cripplingly expensive to build, well, buildings and maintain them, at schools, colleges and universities.
  6. 6. £170 million buys a lot of virtual land, buildings.
  7. 7. Changing roll numbers = difficult school planning.
  8. 8. Your new university campus. Cheap, ignores gravity.
  9. 9. Even better: loads of cheap or free stuff.
  10. 10. 2. Who’s teaching? Who’s learning?
  11. 11. Lots of people in UK universities do both.
  12. 12. 16 ways to use virtual worldsExamples include:✤ As a connection device for Internet telephony, instant messaging or chat (as an alternative meeting place, live or recorded).✤ As a role play device (with predetermined roles, tasks or themes).✤ Open learning (as an open, non-structured, student centred learning community).Michele Ryan, University of Lancaster.http://www.lancs.ac.uk/postgrad/ryanm2
  13. 13. Teaching research, virtual world skills.
  14. 14. TB bacterium converts sugars.
  15. 15. Be anywhere, attend anything.
  16. 16. Multi-modal communication.
  17. 17. Lots of UK academic health, medicine in Second Life.
  18. 18. LiVE project, Birmingham: making movies.
  19. 19. Health and safety: quarry simulator.
  20. 20. Graduation ...
  21. 21. 3. Does a technology have to be “mainstream”?
  22. 22. Right tool for the right job ...✤ Calculators not used in history, biology, sociology, religious studies ... but are an accepted technology (except to neo-luddites clinging on to the abacus and slide rule).✤ A history textbook is only useful for history. But no-one refers to it as having a “niche application”.✤ Medicine ball in PE, test tube in chemistry, chisel in woodwork, paintbrush in art class, windspeed meter in geography ...✤ If you think about it, most of the tools and technologies in education are “niche”.
  23. 23. 4. When did some “IT services” become “IT dictatorships”?
  24. 24. Resistance to change?
  25. 25. “IT services sometimes do not take it seriously and ask ‘Why do you want to do this at all?’”Mark Childs, podcast interview, 20th April 2009.
  26. 26. Argument against (1)✤ Second Life has worked very well for teaching and learning activities for tens of thousands of students in UK universities.✤ No disasters, no armageddon, no university networks or JANET crashing.✤ So if it can’t work here, the only reason must be that the IT here is not up to scratch. Which is IT services problem ... IT services should have an attitude of “Make it so”, not “Computer says no”...
  27. 27. Argument against (2) Your obstruction to virtual world use loses this university income including: ✤ Virtual World and technology research funding (which also leads to publications, increased research rating and more funding). ✤ Income from distance learning courses, offered by other competing universities. ✤ Income from courses about technologies, offered by other competing universities. ✤ Income from collaborative works, partnerships, with businesses (as other universities are doing).
  28. 28. 5. How “real” is it?
  29. 29. “Primarily, women want to change their appearance and fiddle with their hair, and men feel the need to put walls and a roof (a shed) over themselves.”Anna Peachey, podcast interview, 20th April 2009.
  30. 30. “What is ‘real’, anyway? And does it matter if it’s ‘real’ or not, so long as it works?”Andy Powell, Eduserv Foundation, 28th January 2008.
  31. 31. 6. Where’s the proof virtual worlds work?
  32. 32. Fragmented, but there and free✤ Um, there’s, like, a massive online world of it. Have you looked?✤ Snapshot reports (5 to date), approaching 1,000 quotes from UK academic developers.✤ Externally funded projects usually obliged to make reports public, do an evaluation.✤ Many students doing PhDs in aspects of the use of virtual worlds in education.✤ Peer-reviewed material is creeping out ...
  33. 33. Accelerating the peer-review process is good.
  34. 34. Not just in the UK; look global (real world global).
  35. 35. Blogs, social media by academic developers.
  36. 36. “Why the need to prove? You’re not required, all the time, to quantitatively prove that lecture theatres are useful before building a new building.”Sheila Webber, podcast interview, 16th March 2009.
  37. 37. 7. How do we deal with other academic sceptics?
  38. 38. “I have convinced my managers now that it is worthwhile for teaching. Some people are bizarrely hostile to it, for no particularly good reason.”Dr. Judy Robertson, Heriot-Watt, Autumn 2008 snapshot.
  39. 39. Suggested responsesTo open minded sceptics: “Welcome! Understand by doing. So join us in-world at this teaching event; we’ll show you around.”To closed minded sceptics: “If you are a competent academic, your research would show that the technology works (proven) and plenty of fellow academics are using virtual worlds in teaching and learning.” “Admit it, you say that about every new technology. Therefore, the issue isn’t with the technology - it’s with you ...”
  40. 40. 8. Where’s the money?
  41. 41. Tips✤ Funding bodies tend to farm out proposals to people experienced in virtual worlds. So, no BS.✤ Unfortunately often have pseudo-sceptics marking as well. So may have to try a bit harder. References to back up your case.✤ Really, don’t recreate your campus in SL. Just don’t. Okay?✤ State educational goals as clearly as possible.✤ How is doing it in a VW better than not doing it in a VW?✤ Cost benefit over RW. Sustainability.
  42. 42. Examples of VW work funders✤ BECTA e.g. teen grid research.✤ JISC (more than any other UK academic funder).✤ Higher Education Academy.✤ AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) / BBC.✤ EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)✤ Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (prev. DTI). Basically, the same organisations who fund digital technology in education. Nothing especially different about virtual worlds.
  43. 43. Example of European funding.
  44. 44. How quickly can you write a proposal... ?
  45. 45. One tiny last complication: loads more virtual worlds ...
  46. 46. Places in screenshots✤ Abbots Aerodrome (skydiving): http://slurl.com/secondlife/Abbotts/160/148/71✤ Southampton Solent University: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Solent%20Life/193/138/47✤ JISC Emerge: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Emerge/183/191/26✤ Reusable Learning Object: http://www.ics.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/rlos/chandler/index.php✤ The Faery Crossing: http://slurl.com/secondlife/The%20Faery%20Crossing/141/55/26✤ Manchester Business School: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24220989@N03/3367211287✤ Infolit iSchool: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Infolit%20iSchool/128/128/39✤ TB Bacterium: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Liverpool%20University%20Port/181/109/53✤ Eduserv Symposium (2007) audience: http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/492471366✤ Multi-modal communication: http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/492471374
  47. 47. Places in screenshots✤ University of East London: http://slurl.com/secondlife/UEL%20Island/62/44/31✤ LIVE (Learning in Virtual Environments) project: http://www.bcu.ac.uk/news/releases08/virtual_learning.html✤ Institute of Quarrying: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Institute%20Of%20Quarrying/171/144/38✤ Manchester Business School graduation: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24220989@N03/3365610474✤ Infolit iSchool: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Infolit%20iSchool/128/128/39✤ Spaceport Alpha: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Spaceport%20Alpha/83/142/71✤ Remington Typewriter: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bestrated1/2621358221✤ Education UK Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Education%20UK/128/128/22✤ La Trobe University lecture space: http://slurl.com/secondlife/La%20Trobe%20University/198/52/27✤ Journal of Virtual Worlds Research: http://jvwresearch.org
  48. 48. Places in screenshots✤ Second Life Education Wiki: http://www.simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Second_Life_Education_Wiki✤ Adventures of Yoshikawa (blog): http://adventuresofyoshikawa.blogspot.com✤ Abacus: http://www.flickr.com/photos/skidder/37675092✤ Eduserv Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Eduserv%20Island/128/128/20✤ MUVEnation funding details: http://elgg.jiscemerge.org.uk/stevenw/weblog/953.html✤ JISC Rapid Innovation Grant: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/fundingopportunities/funding_calls/2009/03/309ricall.aspx✤ Annabeth Robinson in Playstation HOME: http://www.flickr.com/photos/annamorphic/3104565954✤ Annabeth Robinson in Playstation HOME: http://www.flickr.com/photos/annamorphic/3106473041✤ Metaplace: http://learninggames.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/uws-metacampus

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