Virtual spaces, Second lives: what are the potential educational benefits of MUVEs


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For the JISC Innovating e-learning conference November 2008 -

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Virtual spaces, Second lives: what are the potential educational benefits of MUVEs

  1. 1. <ul><li>JISC innovating e-learning online conference 4-7th November 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Steven Warburton, King’s College London </li></ul><ul><li>tag: jiscel08 </li></ul>virtual spaces, second lives: what are the potential educational benefits of MUVEs?
  2. 2. Q. how many institutions have created a virtual presence in Second Life? See http://www. eduserv .org. uk/foundation/studies/slsnapshots A. the Eduserv July report 2007 on activity in SL lists over 40 UK universities and colleges that have a building, land or island on the grid. by May 2008 … “taking into account institutions who haven’t responded but where there is reasonable evidence of SL activity, and institutions who are developing in SL but not in a public way, then a figure of roughly three quarters of UK universities are estimated to be actively developing or using Second Life …”
  3. 3. does this answer surprise you - why ?
  4. 4. the predicted growth in virtual worlds by population and age retrieved October 2007 from
  5. 5. the uniqueness of SL what is Second Life: a unique configuration of freedom , creativity , interactivity , identity construction and tangible economy?
  6. 6. <ul><li>&quot;While Second Life captures the imagination of individuals who wish to create new lives free from societal and physical limitations of ethnicity, gender, geography, sexual orientation or status; it still manifests aspects of society (American, capitalist, gendered) from which it sprung and therefore is more reflective than transcendent” </li></ul><ul><li>(Jones, 2005) </li></ul>but in reality?
  7. 7. SL demographics from Linden Labs for July 2007 Notice how large the European representation is becoming – a shift challenging the dominance of the United States
  8. 8. MUVE affordances for education <ul><li>Social interaction including dialogue and cooperation through a strong sense of co-presence </li></ul><ul><li>Visualisation </li></ul><ul><li>Contextualisation </li></ul><ul><li>Relation to doing in the physical world (e.g. designing, building and scripting) </li></ul><ul><li>Informal learning opportunities e.g. language based communities </li></ul><ul><li>Affective nature of immersion, empathy and motivational aspects </li></ul><ul><li>Simulation and experiential learning (some physical constraints can be overcome) </li></ul><ul><li>Roleplay or taking on new roles as a lived experience </li></ul><ul><li>Strong communities (coherence around groups, sub-cultures and geography) </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities for content production that are both individual and owned (though transferability outside of the virtual world is limited within proprietary environments such as Second Life) </li></ul>
  9. 9. ten examples of Second Life used in different educational contexts
  10. 10. Visualisation 1. Visualisation I: View from outside a large-scale interactive model of the human testes. The scale of the model allows the student to navigate and fly through objects and receive pertinent information at key points along their journey.
  11. 11. 2. Visualisation II: This snapshot shows the docking of a malarial enzyme molecule. Students can use chat commands to control the molecules floating in the air. This particular model demonstrates a chemical reaction where all of the intermediates are made visible. Normally something that is hard for to visualise on paper, but easy to demonstrate in three dimensions. =130
  12. 12. roleplay 3. Roleplay: Many opportunities exist for roleplay within games-based and other community participation events. This can be used to promote learning by role taking as opposed to learning by doing.
  13. 13. Self paced tuition 4. Self-paced tutorial: An example of self-guided and self-paced learning. Here an avatar is following a tutorial on building objects at the Ivory Tower of Primitives on Natoma.
  14. 14. Second Health 5. Simulation: SciLands is a mini-continent and user community devoted exclusively to science and technology with over twenty teaching locations. Second Health is a virtual hospital campus commissioned by Imperial College, London, illustrating a healthcare setting of the future -
  15. 15. 6. Quests and problem solving: The Pot Healer Adventure on Numbakulla Island is one of the largest and most detailed puzzle solving mysteries in Second Life bearing much resemblance to the classic adventure game Myst. Quest type activities like this have been extensively used in the area of language learning.
  16. 16. Conference and presentation spaces 7. Conference and lecture spaces: Presentation style spaces can be creative and imaginative. Here at the MetaverseU conference, held at Stanford University, video was streamed live into Second Life. Multiple-media forms were used for audience presence including text, audio and moving image.
  17. 17. Hatmaking workshop 8. Workshops: Small group teaching settings are easy to create and the freedom of space and movement combined with a strong sense of co-presence can provide a compelling learning experience.
  18. 18. VRR 9. Virtual Reality: The virtual reality room is a 360 degree photo-realistic space created with captured images converted into a QuickTime VR panorama format and uploaded to SL.
  19. 19. Sloodle 10. SL to VLE links: The SLOODLE project links 2D and 3D teaching environments by creating channels for data transfer between Second Life and Moodle, an open source Virtual Learning Environment - http://
  20. 20. yes, plenty of activity, but where is current research focussed?
  21. 21. <ul><li>the first of phase of teaching activity in MUVEs has raised awareness and opened up the educational possibilities </li></ul><ul><li>the second phase of research activity is uncovering the need to match pedagogy, context and good practice in line with the unique nature of virtual worlds as a learning and teaching setting </li></ul><ul><li>virtual worlds represent new spaces that require new ways of thinking about education, where the design of the learning space needs to be in harmony with the pedagogical approach </li></ul><ul><li>a range of ethical issues are now emerging that include digital reputation management, the relationship between immersion and addiction, identity and authenticity, the moral dimensions of exposure to virtual sub-cultures </li></ul>research directions
  22. 22. talking points: what challenges do virtual worlds raise for educators and students? <ul><li>why choose a 3D virtual world as an educational platform or space? </li></ul><ul><li>is the strong sense of co-presence enough to create authentic learning scenarios? </li></ul><ul><li>are the barriers to entry ( technical, skills, identity, social, time, economic … are there more? ) simply too high for mainstream adoption? </li></ul><ul><li>does replicating classroom settings virtually suggest a step forward or a step backward? </li></ul><ul><li>can virtual worlds address motivational issues in students? </li></ul><ul><li>which virtual worlds can challenge the dominance of Second life in education? </li></ul><ul><li>are we simply seduced by the virtual and trying to force educational value and meaning into a novel environment? </li></ul><ul><li>where is the evidence that virtual technologies benefit educational processes? </li></ul><ul><li>where are open standards and interoperability? </li></ul><ul><li>what are your questions? </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Liquid Learning ( ) - personal research blog </li></ul><ul><li>MUVEnation ( ) - EU funded project, 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>LLL3D ( ) - EU funded project, 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>OpenHabitat ( ) – 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; explore different learning contexts; develop and test specific learning scenarios </li></ul></ul><ul><li>programmes have now been developed to help educators integrate MUVEs into their teaching: </li></ul>where to find out more
  24. 24. Final slide Dr Steven Warburton School of Law King's College London Email: Liquid Learning at Second Life: StevenW Bohm