Researchers want to take a radical look at how learning and teaching in 3D worlds can be best achieved. The Virtual Island will be launched by the University of Leicester on 18 December.
Leicester, one of Britain’s biggest postgraduate distance-learning providers, plans to start with a ‘blank canvas’ upon which a picture can be painted on what works- and what doesn’t – in cyber learning. This could provide a template for educational establishments across the UK and beyond.
The Leicester research project is using the Second Life Virtual World and will examine
What can universities achieve to enhance learning in Second Life that they cannot do on Real Life campuses?
How do learners benefit?
What do educational resources look and feel like in Second Life?
Which disciplines and topics benefit the most?
How do avatars learn?
How do avatars teach?
Could the establishment of Virtual Worlds just be a phase or a gimmick?
Is it divisive to have virtual worlds for educational purposes?
The Beyond Distance Research Alliance team at the University of Leicester say the explosion of interest in Virtual World learning is akin to the impact of the Internet some 15 years ago – and it is therefore critical for institutions to create platforms that are fit for educational purposes, rather than simply placing ‘content’ on for its own sake.
Professor of eLearning and Learning Technologies at the University of Leicester, Gilly Salmon, says:
“We have created an Island in Second Life for communities of learners, teachers, technologists and creative practitioners to explore the educational benefits of 3D worlds. At a time when the ‘buzzword’ is student experience…we must push out the boundaries.
For the first time in the history of higher education, the digital world has offered us a low cost 3D environment for exploration and construction. No-one yet knows whether it’s ‘worth it’ and the nature of the value it will add to learning. But it’s up to us- the educators of the 21st Century- to find out.
"Our Second Life Island is a pleasant and creative environment set up for the groups of learners, researchers and teachers to collaborate and explore. We plan to build on the very best of what we already know about using online environments for teaching and learning and find out the benefits of the new characteristics and opportunities.”
The Leicester Island, created in collaboration with TwoFour Learning, a media and learning company based in Plymouth, is unlike any other in the virtual world. Professor Salmon says:“The Media Zoo is not a direct replication of physical environments found in real life -instead Leicester took the opportunity to develop something a little more radical.
Leicester’s Island has gone beyond general information and documents. Many Second Life Islands are currently going through the same processes and periods the Internet did with content being uploaded for the sake of content, the Leicester Island to drawing in the latest technologies available in Second Life to add value to the visitors (e.g. RSS Feeds and a Virtual Reality Theatre)
Thinking beyond the psychological and communicative benefits of Island provision, we have to think about we can do in Second Life which we cannot easily do in real life; in which case simulations of events, actions and practices could prove to be the most educational benefit.
We plan that all disciplines will see a benefit, but from initial interest and ideas Second Life will certainly have a large impact on the sciences and all on disciplines with collaborative elements in their teaching. With a huge potential for simulation and experimentation taking student part into scenarios where they previously learnt from conceptual ideas.
For learning communities the environment presents new opportunities, for example in the case of distance learners, Second Life gives them an environment in which they can meet and discuss synchronously whilst giving an identity to the cohort through their avatars.
Our research project is trying to identify preferred and viable futures for formal education and how 3D virtual worlds could enhance the learner experience. The Island allows us to immerse ourselves in a potential environment that could form all or part of that future. The pedagogies and models developed through the research project will be transferable to future 3D environments.”
Richard Wallis, Head of TwoFour Learning, adds: “Second Life presents us with an amazing opportunity to think in entirely new ways about teaching and learning. Whether it's extending the classroom experience, learning through simulation, or exploring new forms of collaborative working, the possibilities are endless, and present major challenges to educators.”
NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
New approach uses light instead of robots to assemble electronic components
08.11.2017 | The Optical Society
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses