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Six Barriers to Innovation in MUVE-based teaching


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Presentation at LYICT conference in Malaysia. 7th July 2008, last updated on 27th July 2008.

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Six Barriers to Innovation in MUVE-based teaching

  1. 1. Title slide <ul><li>LYICT Conference 7th-12th July, Kuala Lumpur </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Steven Warburton, King’s College London </li></ul>controlling Second Life: six barriers to innovation in MUVE-based learning and teaching
  2. 2. the uniqueness of SL what is Second Life? a unique configuration of freedom , creativity , interactivity , identity construction and tangible economy
  3. 3. <ul><li>From the moment you enter the World you'll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people , entertainment, experiences and opportunity. Once you've explored a bit, perhaps you'll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business. </li></ul><ul><li>You'll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow Residents. Because Residents retain intellectual property rights in their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other Residents. </li></ul><ul><li>The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions . This commerce is handled with the inworld unit of trade, the Linden™ dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online Linden dollar exchanges. </li></ul>From ‘What is Second Life’ Official Linden site
  4. 4. the counterpoint: utopian virtualism <ul><li>“ The hype around digital virtuality over the past decade has been more about myth and less about cyberspace. […] Symptoms of virtualism include exaggerated expectations of anything described as ‘virtual’, and unrealistic expectations that digital technologies will solve social problems”. </li></ul>Shields, R. (2003) The virtual. Routledge, London.
  5. 5. where can we find innovation in MUVE-based teaching? where can we find creativity in MUVE-based teaching?
  6. 6. six barriers to innovation
  7. 7. 1. the technical barrier <ul><li>machine related </li></ul><ul><ul><li>client side: bandwidth, hardware, firewalls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>server side: downtime, lag </li></ul></ul><ul><li>human related </li></ul><ul><ul><li>managing the client interface </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>developing basic in-world competences such as navigation, creating objects and manipulating ones avatar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>developing a 3D visual grammar </li></ul></ul><ul><li>standards related </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the lack of open standards makes it difficult to integrate other technologies </li></ul></ul>different users will experience in-world activities or events differently
  8. 8. 2. the identity barrier <ul><li>the fluidity and playfulness inherent in Second Life identity construction can be disconcerting and confusing </li></ul><ul><li>building social relations can be problematic and fraught when identities are never fixed </li></ul><ul><li>freedom brings with it accountability and managing [digital] reputation becomes an issue of concern </li></ul>
  9. 9. 3. the culture barrier <ul><li>Second Life can be an isolating experience - communities are hard to find and can be demanding to participate in </li></ul><ul><li>Second Life has its own set of codes, norms and etiquette and reading these is not straightforward </li></ul><ul><li>Second Life can feel destabilising: outside of the ‘safety zone’ - a place of no limits, no boundaries, no restrictions on behaviour </li></ul>
  10. 10. 4. the collaboration barrier <ul><li>collaboration often needs to be scaffolded - it is not a natural skill, rather one that we need to develop </li></ul><ul><li>building trust and authenticity are critical factors for successful cooperative activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>enabling effective dialog requires considered use of the available in-world communication tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>minimal in-world social networking tools mean that external social services such as Flickr are often needed enrich the interrelations between avatars </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. 5 . the time barrier <ul><li>simple things can take a long time: designing, validating and running teaching activities requires time and dedication </li></ul><ul><li>issues such as IPR, permissions and access all impact on design and implementation </li></ul><ul><li>practice, practice, practice </li></ul>
  12. 12. 6. the economic barrier <ul><li>yes Second Life is free for a basic account, but </li></ul><ul><li>anything beyond simply being in-world costs money: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>buying land to create teaching spaces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>uploading images and textures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>purchasing useful in-world tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>employing building and scripting expertise </li></ul></ul><ul><li>the lack of open standards locks our investment (both time and economic) inside a single non-transferable setting </li></ul>
  13. 13. seduced by the virtual: the reality of releasing innovation <ul><li>it is a mistake to be seduced by real-world parallels and assume learning and teaching can be readily transferred to a 3D virtual space </li></ul><ul><li>we need to address: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>how to best manage identity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>digital and cultural literacy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>what we mean by collaborative skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the specific affordances MUVEs such as the link between immersion, emotion and empathy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>how best exploit the space </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the grounds for particular technological tool choices - appreciate the situated and contextual nature of teaching and learning activities </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Liquid Learning ( www. liquidlearning .org ) - personal research blog </li></ul><ul><li>MUVEnation ( www. muvenation .org ) - EU funded, 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>LLL3D ( ) - EU funded, 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>OpenHabitat ( www. openhabitat .org ) – JISC funded, 15 months </li></ul><ul><li>these projects aim to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>examine good practices for teaching in MUVEs; investigate what works and what does not; discover different learning contexts; develop and test specific learning scenarios </li></ul></ul>where to find out more Dr Steven Warburton School of Law King's College London