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Virtual Worlds. 
What is 
the point? 
Coventry University 
Steve Cadman http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevecadman/265356331...
These slides look a little familiar...
VWW: Virtual World Watch 
“Snapshots” of who is using 
virtual worlds, and how, in UK 
universities and colleges. 
Unexpec...
why use a virtual world 
in education? 
What is the point?
The death of travel to learn? 
Quoting Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, Open University
CO2 and global warming 
Timothy Hamilton http://www.flickr.com/photos/bestrated1/205117457/
Tomorrow we are all screwed... 
Dipesh Soneji http://www.flickr.com/photos/dipeshsoneji/1019702760/
John Kirriemuir http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/492471374/
Build what you need... 
PF Anderson http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosefirerising/456065514/
Blend Info and social 
Sheila Webber http://www.flickr.com/photos/23396182@N00/4259812586/
Mix up your media 
N Speller http://www.flickr.com/photos/spellers/2833505085/
...increasingly, any media 
Annabeth Robinson http://www.flickr.com/photos/annamorphic/4382933824/
Bleed in Geo-stuff, maps 
DadenMedia http://www.flickr.com/photos/dadenmedia/2984446235/
Virtual World USE 
by UK academics
Current State of PLAY 
• 95%+ of UK academics who use VWs use Second Life. 
• (newish) Every UK university has done someth...
Main Subject areas of VW use 
Health and medicine. 
Nursing training. 
Midwifery. 
Health and safety training. 
Physics si...
CRIME AND FORENSICS 
Sheila Webber http://www.flickr.com/photos/23396182@N00/4680574100/
Physics 
SGVW Team, University of Ulster http://www.flickr.com/photos/33422226@N04/
Midwifery 
Kate Boardman http://www.flickr.com/photos/kattanhurnung/4115602444/
Mechanics and history 
Kate Boardman http://www.flickr.com/photos/kattanhurnung/4398763759/
Micro level stuff 
Hiro Sheridan http://www.flickr.com/photos/hirosheridan/524368209/
Simulation (Quarry) 
University of Derby / Institute of Quarrying
Attitude problems with virtual worlds 
(often applicable to other technologies in 
education)
Second Life: EMBRACE or AVOID? 
“It’s easy to use.” 
“There’s loads of free stuff in there already.” 
“There’s lots of oth...
“It’s just a game!” 
Things wrong with the ‘game’ thing: 
1.It isn’t (what’s the game objective if 
it is?). You don’t und...
wtf is going on?!! 
Bettina Tizzy http://www.flickr.com/photos/bettinatizzy/2308041401/
Finding ‘stuff’ is hard 
Millions of people use 
virtual worlds. 
There are many virtual 
worlds. 
Search facilities range...
“There’s no-one here.” Um, so?
OH no! Something bad! 
“The Internet is bad.” 
“If you go online you will 
immediately encounter sex, 
nudity, perversion,...
Tech support say “no.” 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/procsilas/378146339/
Academic says no 
“I don’t have the time to 
learn new stuff.” 
“What I use works fine for 
me.” 
“I’m retiring soon so it...
Now your turn (if you want) 
Go into Second Life with a purpose. An event, a group 
meeting, a specific list of locations ...
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Virtual Worlds. What is the point?

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A presentation to the Learning Innovation Research Group at Coventry University.

Published in: Education
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Virtual Worlds. What is the point?

  1. 1. Virtual Worlds. What is the point? Coventry University Steve Cadman http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevecadman/2653563318/ www.virtualworldwatch.net
  2. 2. These slides look a little familiar...
  3. 3. VWW: Virtual World Watch “Snapshots” of who is using virtual worlds, and how, in UK universities and colleges. Unexpectedly large numbers of downloads. Funded by Eduserv from 2007 to 2010. Self-funded for the next few years. www.virtualworldwatch.net Roo Reynolds http://www.flickr.com/photos/rooreynolds/493815619/
  4. 4. why use a virtual world in education? What is the point?
  5. 5. The death of travel to learn? Quoting Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, Open University
  6. 6. CO2 and global warming Timothy Hamilton http://www.flickr.com/photos/bestrated1/205117457/
  7. 7. Tomorrow we are all screwed... Dipesh Soneji http://www.flickr.com/photos/dipeshsoneji/1019702760/
  8. 8. John Kirriemuir http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/492471374/
  9. 9. Build what you need... PF Anderson http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosefirerising/456065514/
  10. 10. Blend Info and social Sheila Webber http://www.flickr.com/photos/23396182@N00/4259812586/
  11. 11. Mix up your media N Speller http://www.flickr.com/photos/spellers/2833505085/
  12. 12. ...increasingly, any media Annabeth Robinson http://www.flickr.com/photos/annamorphic/4382933824/
  13. 13. Bleed in Geo-stuff, maps DadenMedia http://www.flickr.com/photos/dadenmedia/2984446235/
  14. 14. Virtual World USE by UK academics
  15. 15. Current State of PLAY • 95%+ of UK academics who use VWs use Second Life. • (newish) 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.
  16. 16. Main Subject areas of VW use Health and medicine. Nursing training. Midwifery. Health and safety training. Physics simulations e.g. wind turbines. Information science theory. Art and fashion.
  17. 17. CRIME AND FORENSICS Sheila Webber http://www.flickr.com/photos/23396182@N00/4680574100/
  18. 18. Physics SGVW Team, University of Ulster http://www.flickr.com/photos/33422226@N04/
  19. 19. Midwifery Kate Boardman http://www.flickr.com/photos/kattanhurnung/4115602444/
  20. 20. Mechanics and history Kate Boardman http://www.flickr.com/photos/kattanhurnung/4398763759/
  21. 21. Micro level stuff Hiro Sheridan http://www.flickr.com/photos/hirosheridan/524368209/
  22. 22. Simulation (Quarry) University of Derby / Institute of Quarrying
  23. 23. Attitude problems with virtual worlds (often applicable to other technologies in education)
  24. 24. Second Life: EMBRACE or AVOID? “It’s easy to use.” “There’s loads of free stuff in there already.” “There’s lots of other academics in my subject area using it.” “Been around for many years, so looks solid.” “It’s hard to use.” “Bloody expensive to get a decent chunk of land.” “Academics I know have been scared off it because of newspaper stories.”
  25. 25. “It’s just a game!” Things wrong with the ‘game’ thing: 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/
  26. 26. wtf is going on?!! Bettina Tizzy http://www.flickr.com/photos/bettinatizzy/2308041401/
  27. 27. Finding ‘stuff’ is hard Millions of people use virtual worlds. There are many virtual worlds. Search facilities range from basic to non-existent. “Stuff” is inconsistently labelled. There is no ‘google’. John Kirriemuir http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/2346333322/
  28. 28. “There’s no-one here.” Um, so?
  29. 29. 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 to deal with it in all forms of life). Sari Choche http://www.flickr.com/photos/sari-coche/2537936209/
  30. 30. Tech support say “no.” http://www.flickr.com/photos/procsilas/378146339/
  31. 31. Academic says no “I don’t have the time to learn new stuff.” “What I use works fine for me.” “I’m retiring soon so it’s not worth it.” “It’ll never catch on.” “In my day...” Pelican http://www.flickr.com/photos/pelican/2147350197/
  32. 32. Now your turn (if you want) Go into Second Life with a purpose. An event, a group meeting, a specific list of locations to explore. Allow an hour (yes, 60 minutes of your life) to edit your avatar 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 a pub, go disco dancing, try on some free costumes.

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