I’ve posted my report, (the full PDF version is located under the Immersive Internet Australia tab, profile on education), profiling Australian educators’ use of virtual worlds and other immersive technologies. Hopefully, it is something of a roadmap for those contemplating such tools, as well as a marker of those who already do.
Here’s the abstract :
The idea that virtual environments are places for community engagement has been understood by the gaming community for some time, however the rise of the online world, Second Life (SL), during 2005-7, brought wider recognition, as fascinated media reported on the more sensational aspects of living in a pixelated world.
Since then, the faint pulse has turned into a strong heartbeat, spearheaded by a bullish kids and youth market that sees constituents migrating comfortably to virtual worlds for social and gaming purposes. Equally, rapid improvements in the platforms themselves have prompted service providers to consider 3D virtual environments for geographically dispersed or resource-limited communities, or where remote services and collaborative projects are being undertaken.
It is timely therefore, to understand how multi-user virtual environments (MUVES) add value to the education sector.
The report describes those elements which distinguish virtual environments from other collaborative tools, and documents Australian initiatives in education, demonstrating how immersive Internet technologies can engage students not just in learning, but also in knowledge production.
With Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) initiative in mind, a field study establishes a context for further government supported programs.
There are many projects which, due to the space/time equation, are not included – but if you have a project, please drop a note in the comment box. Many thanks to my colleagues at Smart Services Internet Cooperative Research Centre, my research home, and especially a virtual worlds cohort who have assisted my research. In particular:
Dethridge, Lisa. School of Media and Communication, RMIT, Melbourne Victoria
Driver, Erica. Co-founder, Thinkbalm
Field, Westley. Managing Director Skoolaborate, Director eLearning, Methodist Ladies College (MLC), Sydney NSW
Flavell, Karen. (formally), Treet TV,
Gray, Peter. Public Relations Unit, Linden Lab
Joy, Bruce. CEO, VastPark
Kay, Jo. Principal, Jokaydia, 2009
Linegar, Dale. Virtual Worlds education facilitator, Monash University
McKeown, Lindy. Virtual Worlds education consultant
Millea, Jenny. Program Manager, Education.au
Mitham, Nic. CEO, KZERO
More, Greg. Principal OOM Creative; Lecturer, Spatial Information Architect Laboratory (SIAL) School of Architecture and Design RMIT
Quodling, Bob. CEO, Simmersion Holdings Pty Ltd
Rizzo, Alberto. Director, eLearning Strategies Melbourne Grammar School
Sankar, James. Director, Applications & Services, AARnet
Steele, Cathie. Director, Centre for Health Innovation, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne
Stefanic, Danny. CEO, ExitReality
Smith, Stuart. Senior Research Officer, Falls and Balance Research Group, Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute
Soudoplatoff, Serge. Founder, Almatropie
Teubler, Vincent. Co-Founder, Gogofrog
Wood, Colin. Manager, Partnerships for Learning, Centre For Learning Innovation, Department of Education and Training NSW.