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Virtual Worlds in Education ... why?

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A presentation to the Information Studies department in the University of Sheffield, in the spring of 2009.

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Virtual Worlds in Education ... why?

  1. 1. Virtual worlds in education ... why? www.virtualworldwatch.net Department of Information Studies Sheffield UniversityPaolo Margari http://www.flickr.com/photos/paolomargari/453106211/
  2. 2. “HOW IS THIS LEARNING?” http://www.flickr.com/photos/raftwetjewell/3025176313/
  3. 3. MY EPIPHANYBefore: “This looks like areally crap video game.Why is it so popular?”During: “Oh. I can do whatI want. And these are realpeople, makinginformation available.”After: “Ah. It’s people andinformation, and what youmake of it.” Roo Reynolds http://www.flickr.com/photos/rooreynolds/1742418908/
  4. 4. VWW: VIRTUAL WORLD WATCH“Snapshots” of who is usingvirtual worlds, and how, in UKuniversities and colleges.Unexpectedly large numbers ofdownloads.Funded by Eduserv from 2007to about now.www.virtualworldwatch.net Roo Reynolds http://www.flickr.com/photos/rooreynolds/493815619/
  5. 5. WHY USE A VIRTUAL WORLD IN EDUCATION?
  6. 6. THE DEATH OF TRAVEL TO LEARN? Quoting Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, Open University
  7. 7. John Kirriemuir http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/492471374/
  8. 8. BUILD WHAT YOU NEED... PF Anderson http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosefirerising/456065514/
  9. 9. MIX UP YOUR MEDIA N Speller http://www.flickr.com/photos/spellers/2833505085/
  10. 10. ...INCREASINGLY, ANY MEDIA Annabeth Robinson http://www.flickr.com/photos/annamorphic/4382933824/
  11. 11. BLEED IN GEO-STUFF, MAPS DadenMedia http://www.flickr.com/photos/dadenmedia/2984446235/
  12. 12. VIRTUAL WORLD USE BY UK ACADEMICS
  13. 13. CURRENT STATE OF PLAY• 90%+ of UK academics who use VWs use Second Life.• (new) Every UK university has done something in VWs.• Activity in UK colleges much patchier.• Some, but not much, overlap with academic communities who use other technologies e.g. Blackboard, digital games.• Steadily growing research base of materials.• Difficulty in quickly/simply showing benefits of virtual worlds to colleagues, students, noobs underlying problem.
  14. 14. MAIN SUBJECT AREAS OF VW USE Health and medicine. Art and fashion. Nursing training. Legal training. Midwifery. Theatre and drama. Health and safety training. Computer science programming. Physics simulations e.g. wind turbines. Crime scene training. Information science theory. Languages, esp. Spanish.
  15. 15. PHYSICS SGVW Team, University of Ulster http://www.flickr.com/photos/33422226@N04/
  16. 16. MIDWIFERY Kate Boardman http://www.flickr.com/photos/kattanhurnung/4115602444/
  17. 17. MECHANICS AND HISTORY Kate Boardman http://www.flickr.com/photos/kattanhurnung/4398763759/
  18. 18. MICRO LEVEL STUFF Hiro Sheridan http://www.flickr.com/photos/hirosheridan/524368209/
  19. 19. SIMULATION (QUARRY) University of Derby / Institute of Quarrying
  20. 20. ATTITUDE PROBLEMS WITH VIRTUAL WORLDS(OFTEN APPLICABLE TO OTHERTECHNOLOGIES IN EDUCATION)
  21. 21. SECOND LIFE: EMBRACE OR AVOID? “It’s easy to use.” “It’s hard to use.” “There’s loads of free stuff “Bloody expensive to get a in there already.” decent chunk of land.” “There’s lots of other “Academics I know have academics in my subject been scared off it because area using it.” of newspaper stories.” “Been around for many “Every week a VW seems to years, so looks solid.” fold; is Second Life next?”
  22. 22. “IT’S JUST A GAME!”Things wrong with this:1. It isn’t (what’s the game objective if it is?). You don’t understand what a game is.2.What’s wrong with games anyway?3.Some games used in teaching and learning.4.Psychological limitations: fun is dangerous, not useful? http://www.flickr.com/photos/dunechaser/103300924/
  23. 23. WTF IS GOING ON?!! Bettina Tizzy http://www.flickr.com/photos/bettinatizzy/2308041401/
  24. 24. FINDING ‘STUFF’ IS HARDMillions of people usevirtual worlds.There are many virtualworlds.Search facilities range frombasic to non-existent.“Stuff” is inconsistentlylabelled.There is no ‘google’. John Kirriemuir http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/2346333322/
  25. 25. “THERE’S NO-ONE HERE.” UM, SO?
  26. 26. OH NO! SOMETHING BAD! “The Internet is bad.” “If you go online you will immediately encounter sex, nudity, perversion, wherever you go.” “University students must be kept away from it.”(Rather than teach them how todeal with it in all forms of life). Sari Choche http://www.flickr.com/photos/sari-coche/2537936209/
  27. 27. TECH SUPPORT SAY “NO.” http://www.flickr.com/photos/procsilas/378146339/
  28. 28. ACADEMIC SAYS NO“I don’t have the time tolearn new stuff.”“What I use works fine forme.”“I’m retiring soon so it’snot worth it.”“It’ll never catch on.”“In my day...” Pelican http://www.flickr.com/photos/pelican/2147350197/
  29. 29. NOW YOUR TURN (IF YOU WANT)Go into Second Life with a purpose. An event, a groupmeeting, a specific list of locations to explore.Allow an hour (yes, 60 minutes of your life) to edit youravatar and get used to flying around.Try all forms of communication.Trying clicking on interesting stuff to see what happens.Do physical stuff; ride a fairwheel, go skydiving, drop in at apub, go disco dancing, try on some free costumes.

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