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Surveying Virtual World use in UK Higher and Further Education

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Surveying Virtual World use in UK Higher and Further Education

  1. 1. Digital Games in European Libraries Surveying Virtual World use in UK Higher and Further Education Saturday, 13 September 2014
  2. 2. Saturday, 13 September 2014
  3. 3. Saturday, 13 September 2014
  4. 4. 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. • Always-on learning: whenever you want. Saturday, 13 September 2014
  5. 5. Unofficial aims (mine) of Virtual World Watch * To provide “ammunition” for academics to use to make their case inside their institution. * To try and bring together like-minded academic practitioners. * To see where this goes. * To - professionally - challenge the (closed minded) sceptics. Saturday, 13 September 2014
  6. 6. Where VWW is at (Mid March 2009) • Now on snapshot survey number 6 - release date of mid to late April 2009. • Also to be released then is first report looking at alternative virtual world uses in academia. • Weekly podcasts with academic developers proving unexpected success. Want to be interviewed? Get in touch… • Building up the resource directory to provide some evidence and useful “stuff”. Saturday, 13 September 2014
  7. 7. Typical respondent to a snapshot survey • Isn’t afraid to give an 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 Just “does it” Saturday, 13 September 2014
  8. 8. Activity in UK universities (generally HE) Saturday, 13 September 2014
  9. 9. Activity in UK colleges (generally FE) Saturday, 13 September 2014
  10. 10. 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.” Saturday, 13 September 2014
  11. 11. Data extraction from January survey responses Saturday, 13 September 2014
  12. 12. Summary of Snapshot 5+ • All bar one UK university has some evidence of Second Life “activity” i.e. research, design, study, teaching or learning. • Building a replica of your campus in SL just for the sake of it is rare now (hurrah!). • Activities diverse, but newer universities tend to be more into it than older ones. • Huge amount of duplicated work going on across universities in investigating use of Second Life in teaching and learning  Saturday, 13 September 2014
  13. 13. Student Developments … Saturday, 13 September 2014
  14. 14. Saturday, 13 September 2014
  15. 15. Virtual worlds as simulations of dangerous environments Saturday, 13 September 2014
  16. 16. More safety … “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.” Saturday, 13 September 2014
  17. 17. Learning about research … Saturday, 13 September 2014
  18. 18. Touring developments … Saturday, 13 September 2014
  19. 19. 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 Saturday, 13 September 2014
  20. 20. Learning about quantitative research … Saturday, 13 September 2014
  21. 21. Additional angle to conference … Saturday, 13 September 2014
  22. 22. Student information (Student health) Saturday, 13 September 2014
  23. 23. 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 Saturday, 13 September 2014
  24. 24. 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.” Saturday, 13 September 2014
  25. 25. INCORE project (Norther Island conflict) Saturday, 13 September 2014
  26. 26. Just to complicate things: Other worlds … Playstation Home Saturday, 13 September 2014
  27. 27. Metaplace University of the West of Scotland - Web-based - Flash - extensible - avatars - scripting Isometric view Easy to work in (Sims meets Second Life?) Saturday, 13 September 2014
  28. 28. 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 Saturday, 13 September 2014
  29. 29. 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 Saturday, 13 September 2014
  30. 30. Educators in World of Warcraft … Saturday, 13 September 2014
  31. 31. Dealing with sceptics “Academics? Getting funding to play silly games like Second Life and World of Warcraft and pretend it is learning? Disgusting. In my day we didn’t have email, made do with slate and chalk and it did us no harm … yadda yadda yadda …” Saturday, 13 September 2014
  32. 32. See no innovation … Saturday, 13 September 2014
  33. 33. Made in 9 months from 1 egg and 1 sperm… Saturday, 13 September 2014
  34. 34. … so why does a bunch of words take so much longer to get published? Saturday, 13 September 2014
  35. 35. Better … JIME Open peer review process Saturday, 13 September 2014
  36. 36. Saturday, 13 September 2014
  37. 37. Adventures of Yoshikawa Saturday, 13 September 2014
  38. 38. Funding Saturday, 13 September 2014
  39. 39. Saturday, 13 September 2014
  40. 40. Saturday, 13 September 2014
  41. 41. Virtual World Watch: future CDC (Continuous Data Collection) starts this week. Future reports: • Quarterly (3) throughout 2009. • SL and alternative virtual worlds (2). • Ongoing virtual world research (1). Other interests: • Search in virtual worlds. • Funding for virtual world development in UK HE/FE. Saturday, 13 September 2014
  42. 42. Okay, that’s all Virtual World Watch is funded by Eduserv. Web: Email: Twitter: @V_World_Watch I’m here for the rest of the day… Saturday, 13 September 2014

Editor's Notes

  • Night balloon over the University of Nottingham Marina.
  • The Eduserv Foundations interest in Virtual Worlds.
  • 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.
  • Why I am interested in this whole Virtual World thing.
  • These are my personal reasons for doing Virtual World Watch. The project runs for a year, from mid-October 2008.
  • Some characteristics of many of the respondents to the five snapshots to date. Typically, these are battle-hardened academics.
  • Lots of responses, as ever, from UK universities.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Here is some of the data (removing personal and other information) from most of the previous snapshot survey. It shouldn’t be taken as cast in stone, as the situation with most institutions is constantly changing. Things to notice:
    Most respondents thought they would be doing virtual world activities next year as well.
    Teaching and learning activities were mentioned in most responses.
    Second Life is still the predominant virtual world (albeit this was the partial focus of the survey), though OpenSim is gaining significant interest).
  • The quarry simulator at the University of Derby.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • … and some more long term things.
  • Doing something in Second Life or another Virtual World? Get in touch; maybe I can find similar academics in UK to link you up with?