July 24, 2014

Immersive virtual labs for under $150,000

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Johnson, R. (2010) UMC packs 3-D visuals into cutting-edge research lab GrandForksHerald, December 1

This is a report on the University of Minnesota-Crookston’s new virtual immersion lab, that enables the development of ‘walk-around’ 3D simulations that the participant can control or interact with.

One example of use: simulating emergency evacuation of a large sports stadium.

These ‘virtual immersive labs’ have been around for some time – Virginia Tech has been operating the CUBE since the late 1990s – but whereas in the past these were immensely expensive, the new technology used at UM-C is within the financial reach of many institutions. What now limits its use now is not so much cost but imaginative applications.

Journal: researching virtual worlds

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Journal of Virtual Worlds Research

The Researchers’ Toolbox: Volume 3, No. 1, 2010 of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is now available. This is required reading for anyone interested in evaluating virtual worlds, and most of the articles will extend to researching educational applications of virtual worlds. And it’s all open access.

The editors had so many good submissions that a second number will be coming out in December/January.

Table of Contents:

Virtual Worlds, the IRB and a User’s Bill of Rights
Jeffrey M. Stanton

How to approach a many splendoured thing: Proxy Technology Assessment as a methodological praxis to study virtual experience
Lizzy Bleumers, Kris Naessens, An Jacobs

dint u say that: Digital Discourse, Digital Natives and Gameplay
John Grantham

A Design Research Approach to Developing User Innovation Workshops in Second Life
Remko Helms, Elia Giovacchini, Robin Teigland, Thomas Kolher

What are users thinking in a virtual world lesson? Using stimulated recall interviews to report student cognition, and its triggers
Lyn Henderson, Michael Henderson, Scott Grant, Hui Huang

Applying Constant Comparative and Discourse Analyses to Virtual Worlds Research
Peter Leong, Samuel R. H. Joseph, Rachel Boulay

Learning spaces, tasks and metrics for effective communication in Second Life within the context of programming LEGO NXT Mindstorms™ robots: towards a framework for design and implementation.
Stewart Martin, Michael Vallance, Paul van Schaik, Charles Wiz

Conducting Empirical Research in 3D Virtual Worlds: Experiences from two projects in Second Life
Shailey Minocha, Minh Tran, Ahmad John Reeves

eLab City: A Platform for Academic Research on Virtual Worlds
Thomas P. Novak

Process, Paratexts, and Texts: Rhetorical Analysis and Virtual Worlds
Christopher A. Paul

Interviews within experimental frameworks: How to make sense of sense-making in virtual worlds
CarrieLynn D. Reinhard

Using Design-Based Research for Virtual Worlds Research Projects
Antonio Santos

The Neil A. Armstrong Library and Archives: That’s One Small Step for a Virtual World Library, One Giant Leap for Education!
Shannon Bohle

NMC Horizon Report on new learning technologies for Latin America

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The 2010 Horizon Report: Edición Iberoamericana, a Spanish language edition, is the result of a collaboration between the NMC and the Open University of Catalunya (UOC).  This report marks the first time that a Horizon Report has not only been written in, but entirely developed in a language other than English.  The report analyzes the potential of innovative technologies and reflects on trends and challenges specifically for Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. The six technologies named in this edition are collaborative environments, social media, open content, mobiles, augmented reality and the semantic web. The report has been released in Spanish, with English, Catalan, and Portuguese translations to follow.

Download the 2010 Horizon Report: Edición Iberoamericana [PDF, 360k]
Learn more about the 2010 Horizon Report: Iberoamerican Edition

New interface for Second Life

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Young, J. (1010) Will Second Life Upgrade Help Virtual Classrooms? Chronicle of Higher Education, February 25

Following Jeffrey Young’s earlier article suggesting some disillusionment of educational users with Second Life, this article reports on the new interface just released by Second Life. I’ve just downloaded it and need a little time to play with it, but it seems at a first glance very easy to use.

Rape in virtual worlds

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Bugeja, M. (2010) Avatar Rape Inside Higher Education, February 25

I hesitated about posting this blog, not because of the content, but because I already had a strong reaction to a previous posting suggesting that virtual worlds still had a long way to come before they are going to be useful in education, and I don’t want to give the impression that I am always criticising virtual worlds. Quite the contrary, in fact. I believe they have tremendous potential for education, but because they are so potentially revolutionary, they force us to think radically about what education is, and how it can best be delivered – all great questions.

This article though raises another set of questions, basically about online behaviour and institutions’ responsibilities to students, particularly if they are being sent into virtual worlds. It also asks questions about the nature of rape and whether it can actually be rape in a virtual world. To my mind, the issue is more about ethics and the concept of virtuality than about the educational aspects of virtual worlds, but because it made me think more carefully about something I might need to deal with as an online tutor, I found the article useful and thought provoking ( the good kind).