July 30, 2015

Online Educa Berlin 2011 program now available

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The ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2011 programme is now available online. Featuring over 80 parallel sessions and 350 speakers, this year’s programme centres on New Learning Cultures.  Focusing on cutting-edge technologies and the latest policy developments, key questions in education and business will be addressed, including how can the delivery of education keep up with the pace of change? Do we need a new culture of learning? Are the old methods dead?

One of the keynote speakers is Ruth Martinez, E-Learning consultant and researcher in 3D Virtual Worlds. She is interviewed here:

Martinez, R. (2011) Virtual learning environments: an interview with Ruth Martínez Online Educa News Service, October 14

Another interesting presentation is about learner-directed learning. Thomas Köhler of the Institute for Vocational Education at Dresden University of Technology and Jens Drummer of the Saxony Education Institute have worked on a longitudinal study that looks at learner output in self-directed e-learning exercises. For more information, see:

Köhler, T. and Drummer, J. (2011) A learner-centred approach to Web 2.0 e-learning, Online Educa News Service, October 14

Where: Hotel Intercontinental, Budapester Str. 2, 10787 Berlin Germany Tel.: +49 (0)30 26 02-0

When: November 30-December 2

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

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