July 29, 2014

Virtual worlds revisted

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Ramaswami, R. (2011) Is There a Second Life for Virtual Worlds? Campus Technology, September 1

Palomäki, E. (2009) Applying 3D Virtual Worlds to Higher Education Helsinki FIN: Helsinki University of Technology

The article in Campus Technology provides a thoughtful and well-researched overview of the current state of virtual worlds in higher education, drawing heavily on Eero Palomäki’s master’s thesis, but also on several other sources.

Some of the conclusions:

  • don’t try to replicate a classroom: do what can’t be done in a classroom
  • it’s hard work: there are technological and pedagogical challenges in making virtual worlds work in higher education
  • cultural issues: the ‘capitalist, real-estate view of the world’ in Second Life clashes with higher education’s culture of collaboration and sharing
  • effective training for both instructors and learners in how to operate in virtual worlds is essential
  • high level IT support is essential
  • find a niche: certain areas lend themselves to virtual worlds; others don’t
  • motion capture is needed to provide more ‘realism’

Virtual worlds aren’t dead yet then, but definitely need more development if they are to become mainstream in post-secondary education

Comments

  1. Thanks for your post Tony.

    Nice to see still some interest towards my thesis. And it was nice to find the Ramaswami article. I’ve been working on a virtual chemistry lab project after my thesis, you can find more information for example in our EDUCAUSE workshpo page (http://www.educause.edu/E2011/Program/SESS099), from the proceedings of NBE2011 (http://www.ulapland.fi/InEnglish/About_us/News__Events/Events/NBE2011/Publications.iw3) and our project home page: (http://bit.ly/lablife). We also had interesting experiences using the chemistry lab as an environment to teach foreign language to university students.

    Eero

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