NZ: Literature review on virtual worlds

The dynamos at SLENZ have published a literature review titled Engaging with Second Life: Real Education in a Virtual World.

Written by Ben Salt, Clare Atkins and Leigh Blackall, it provides a superb overview of research undertaken to date and covers a wide range of education-related topics including learning design in Second Life, applying behavioural and cognitive theories and the science applications of virtual worlds.

If you’re an educator or someone just interested in the academic underpinnings or work being done in Second Life, this is a more than worthwhile read.

Virtual worlds are big: market research

US-based market research firm In-Stat have released a research paper entitled ‘Virtual Worlds and Web 3.0: Examined, Compared, Analyzed‘.

To see the 58-page report in full you’ll need to pay US $2,995 (that’s only $51.64 per page folks!), but the overview is:

  • virtual world businesses earn nearly 90% of their money from sale of virtual items
  • The number of registered virtual world users will have exceeded 1 billion by 2012, with a total revenue of US $3 billion.
  • Ten criteria were used to rate virtual worlds, with the social networking aspect coming out as the strongest hook. On the face of it, none of the findings seem earth-shattering for virtual worlds observers. For more traditional businesses, the revenue projections would certainly draw some interest. Market research on virtual worlds in becoming more and more frequent as business sees the potential opportunities – market research businesses in particular.

    The projections put forward by In-Stat don’t seem that unrealistic given the current revenue and registration numbers – what do you think?

    SL5B Closure: Annual Prizes and disruptive technology

    Today saw the closing address by Linden Lab’s board Chairman, Mitch Kapor.

    Dusan Writer has an excellent write up but the take home messages for me were:

    1. The announcement of an annual ten thousand dollar prize for achievement in Second life. Judges will be drawn from a wide range of sources including Second Life residents. Here’s hoping that 10K is US dollars, not Linden Dollars.

    2. That Linden Lab not surprisingly remain fixed to the idea of Second Life as a disruptive technology platform being utilised by virtual world pioneers with particular succes sin education and health. Nothing earth shattering there and Linden Lab can hardly argue they have a well established platform with mainstream appeal – imagine the questions around profitability then.

    ViZiMO at Tokyo Metropolitan University

    We’ve covered Hidenori Watanave’s work before and we were pointed to an interesting project recently completed at Tokyo Metropolitan University.

    A three-week workshop was held with the theme ‘Translating real space into virtual space’, with eighteen students taking part. An application called ViZiMO was used to create the final works, and fascinating those works are:

    You can read more here. I just love the physics of ViZiMO – much more theatrical than Second Life.

    Linden Lab release 4th podcast: education and Second Life

    Linden Lab’s intermittent series of podcasts continues, this time with a focus on education projects in Second Life.

    Get it here or you can read the transcript.

    $100,000 in virtual learning prizes up for grabs

    The New Media Consortium (NMC) have announced they have 100 thousand US dollars available to fund up to twenty “innovative open-source learning experiences”.

    Read all about it here – I get really inspired by the momentum that’s behind education in virtual worlds now.

    ‘Envisioning the Educational Possibilities of User-Created Virtual Worlds’

    The title of this post is the title of a fascinating article, which was recently published in the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AAEC) Journal.

    You can get the full-text (PDF) version online by clicking here.

    The abstract for the article:

    Educational games and simulations can engage students in higher-level cognitive thinking, such as interpreting, analyzing, discovering, evaluating, acting, and problem solving. Recent technical
    advances in multiplayer, usercreated virtual worlds have significantly expanded the capabilities of user interaction and development within these simulated worlds. This ability to develop and interact with your own simulated world offers many new and exciting educational possibilities. This article explores the technical capabilities and educational potential of these new worlds. Additionally, it presents and illustrates a model, which uses interaction combinations, to identify course content and topics having educational applications in virtual worlds.

    Suite of tutorial videos: land in Second life

    Torley Linden has come up with eleven more tutorial videos – find them here

    Murdoch University Island in Second Life

    Veteran Australian Second Life resident and Murdoch University Library staff member Kathryn Greenhill, has created a very interesting video of Murdoch University’s presence in Second Life. It covers the management, ongoing activities and challenges that running an island in Second Life involves.

    Murdoch University 2008

    Another good reason to have a look is that the island is closed to the general public.

    Click here to view the video on YouTube.

    The virtual classroom project

    Jokay Wollongong is an Australian Second Life resident with a very active education blog that’s well integrated with the Jokaydia islands in Second Life.

    One interesting project underway is the Virtual Classroom Project. It’s a lengthy read but an excellent example of some of the Australian-driven innovation in education in a virtual world context.

    Check it out in-world

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