Second Life: Reaching into the Virtual World for Real-World Learning. Educause.

Second Life: Reaching into the Virtual World for Real-World Learning.

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Title: Second Life: Reaching into the Virtual World for Real-World Learning (ID: ERB0717)

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Bibliography of the role of virtual worlds in education

From: David P. Dillard <>
It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose, but How You Play the Game:
The Role of Virtual Worlds in Education: An Annotated Bibliography
Thanks to Bernie Sloan, a frequent poster to the DIG_REF discussion group
for sharing this link and resource with me.
It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose, but How You Play the Game:
The Role of Virtual Worlds in Education: An Annotated Bibliography
Sharon Stoerger
“Boring” and “dry”: these are two words that today’s students often use to
describe their experiences in school (Prensky, 2001, 2003). Oblinger
(2003) asserts that these new students – individuals “raised on the
Internet and interactive games” (p. 44) – may have expectations that are
not met by the current “skill and drill” system of learning (e.g., Gee,
2003; Steinkuehler, 2005). They, and more specifically the Net Generation
or the Millennials (Carlson, 2005; Oblinger, 2003), come into the
classroom equipped with different attitudes toward education, as well as a
diverse array of technological skills. These individuals want more than
the traditional lecture format; instead, they are seeking out authentic
and active educational experiences, like those found in video games.
According to the Entertainment Software Association (2007), the typical
game player is 33 years old and has been playing games for more than 10
years; 38% of these games players are women. But, this is not to say that
younger individuals are not playing games. They are, and as Lenhart,
Madden, and Hitlin (2005) report, the majority of teenagers are now using
the Internet; further, 81% of these teens (or approximately 17 million
individuals) play games online (p. 35). More importantly, though, the
exposure to certain technologies, like video games, may have altered the
minds of these students, or “digital natives,” in such a way that
educational theories that worked in the past may not in today’s world
(Prensky, 2001).
It is important to emphasize that these technologically savvy students are
not searching for an easier path; on the contrary, as Steinkuehler (2005)
suggests, these individuals are seeking out cognitive challenges via video
games. Gee (2003) continues this line of thought, and argues that in the
world of video games, “hard is not bad and easy is not good” (p. 165).
Therefore, some educators, like Barab and his colleagues (2005), propose a
different type of educational model. This alternative is one that blends
together games and learning, while adding one ingredient that is typically
absent in education – fun. Despite evidence to suggest that there are
benefits to the interactions that take place within these rich, complex
worlds, the fact is that the educational community has been slow to adopt
the use of new technologies in the classroom (Hitlin & Rainie, 2005).
The articles that are summarized in this bibliography examine a wide
variety of topics including immersion, creation (versus memorization), and
game innovation, as well as Csikszentmihalyi’s (e.g., 1993) concept of
flow. Many of the authors take a constructivist rather than an
instructivist approach to the topic and draw from the work of scholars,
such as Piaget and Vygotsky.
Read more at the URL above.
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 – 4584

Techcrunch comparison table of online virtual worlds

August 5 2007

Virtual World Hangouts: So Many To Choose From

Mark Hendrickson


The avatars roaming many online virtual communities may be cartoonish and their activities inconsequential, but the recent sale of Club Penguin to Disney for $350 million (with $350 million in earn out) demonstrates that the business of casual immersive worlds, or virtual hangouts, is not entirely child’s play.

Virtual hangouts are where people can engage each other using imaginary characters in imaginary environments. They have been around and popular in Europe and Asia for years. However, they appear to be gaining traction in the United States as of late. Some commentators even believe that the type of experience provided by these destinations could very well become integral to the forthcoming Web 3.0 era.

The newly released MultiVerse platform, which is designed for the creation of online 3D worlds, certainly anticipates a future in which developers demand the tools necessary to build niche virtual communities because such communities have gone mainstream.

Currently, virtual hangouts differentiate themselves by targeting particular audiences and providing certain types of immersive experiences.

Destinations such as Club Penguin and Barbie Girls cater to children and pre-teenagers with their simple user interfaces, basic games, and cartoon graphics. Other immersive worlds such as Second Life and Habbo Hotel shoot for a broader audience by providing more advanced chat capabilities, more realistic simulations of reality, and tools to design objects and surroundings. Then there is Red Light Center (NSFW), which targets mature adults to give them an altogether more explicit breed of entertainment.

The worlds meant for children are designed with a concern for the safety and security of their users. Webkinz, for example, only lets users chat with a preselected assortment of phrases so no one can say anything inappropriate or share personal information. The services meant for general audiences lack such restrictions and theoretically can be enjoyed by all types of people, although this freedom often translates into behavior that would be utterly inappropriate for children. Second Life, for example, does not explicitly promote adult behavior but has become notorious for it nonetheless. Embracing the more voluptuous side of human behavior, services like Red Light Center are professedly all adult, all the time and encourage users to participate in explicit behavior.

Virtual hangouts range not only in the audiences they target but also in the level of immersion they provide. Some, such as Second Life and Active Worlds, put you in 3D-rendered environments with first person points of view in an attempt to approximate virtual reality. Others, such as Gaia (“the world’s fastest growing online world hangout for teens”) and Barbie Girls, use sprites (two-dimensional pre-rendered figures) to provide a bird’s-eye view of characters moving around in largely static settings. Even further down the immersion scale, the “worlds” of certain services such as Cyworld and Neopets are produced simply using HTML images and Flash animations.

Hangouts intended for younger audiences are generally less immersive than those meant for more mature audiences. Perhaps the only reason for this lies in a child’s inability to navigate more complex simulated worlds. However, children and pre-teenagers may also get something entirely different out of virtual hangouts than adults. While adults are presumably drawn to these services because they provide the opportunity for escapism, younger audiences may treat these products as interactive cartoons and toys. Thus, while all of these services provide a similar opportunity to hang out virtually, they may possess fundamentally distinct appeals for different demographics. The variety in immersion levels will probably continue to reflect these differences.

The chart in this post provides a basic comparison of these services to convey the range of virtual hangouts that currently exists. It should be noted that we tried to draw a distinction between online worlds where people hang out and worlds where people play role playing games, as is the case with World of Warcraft and Entropia Universe.

The following services are included in the chart:

McMaster University Library vision statement

McMaster Uni Library in Canda has just revamped their mission statement (below), and it’s a thing of beauty.

Even more interesting are the notes of staff feedback(Strategic Planning) from the planning meeting.  They were asked beforehand to read the David Lewis paper, A Model for Academic Libraries 2005 to 2025

new vision/mission statements

The University Library has been engaged in a strategic planning process to update our vision/mission and strategic directions. We have completed the first phase of that process and have updated our vision and mission statements. The next phase of the process will include an update to our strategic directions, goals/objectives, and metrics.

McMaster University Library will be recognized as Canada’s most innovative, user-centred, academic library.


The University Library advances teaching, learning and research at McMaster by:
· teaching students to be successful, ethical information seekers
· facilitating access to information resources
· providing welcoming spaces for intellectual discovery
· promoting the innovative adoption of emerging learning technologies

We value:
· excellent customer service,
· collaboration, innovation, creativity and risk taking,
· inclusiveness and respect for the individual
· accountability for our actions and decisions

I’m presenting about SL at this seminar 14 Aug,

Online learning using virtual worlds
USQ Faculty of Education Symposium

Participants are invited to take part in this unique FREE triple-cast event in person face-to-face at USQ , simultaneously in-world in Second Life or watch a live broadcast via the web.


As the web becomes more of an interactive two-way space and gaming technology escapes the entertainment industry and begins to infiltrate education and commercial applications, 3D technologies are rapidly becoming vital elements of this new landscape. Already millions of users have made the leap to become represented by their avatars, the graphical image of a user. Social presence in highly immersive environments is changing the way people communicate online using rich, perpetual virtual worlds and interactive web based objects.

Highly respected technology trends forecaster,, predicts…

“80 Percent of Active Internet Users Will Have A “Second Life” in the Virtual World by the End of 2011…”

This symposium will bring together a group of international leaders, developers and practitioners in the use and development of 3D technology in university teaching and learning and academic libraries. They will showcase a continuum of 3D applications ranging from 3D learning objects within a web page, through small “rooms” with class avatars accessible from a web page to interfacing 3D worlds with the Learning Management System (using SLoodle – a mash up of Second Life and Moodle) and the use of fully immersive virtual worlds (including Second Life, ActiveWorlds and Croquet).

Offered in 3 formats, this mixed reality event allows you to participate in one of three ways:

  • Face-to-face at the Toowoomba venue (limited – only 45 spaces available),
  • Online via the web (listen and view the streamed presentations (no interactivity, viewing only)
  • Online in the virtual world of Second Life where you will see and hear all the presentations and be able to ask questions via the moderator.

The interactive format provides you with the opportunity to ask questions whether you are participating face-to-face or in the virtual world, Second Life.

Symposium details

Symposium Website:

Registration: Registration for each format is required. Only 45 place available in the real life face-to-face session.

Cost: Free

Times and venues:

  • Real Life: August 14, 2007 9.30am – 1.30pm (AEST, GMT+10)
    Real Life Venue: USQ Toowoomba Campus Council Chamber S block
  • Second Life simultaneous broadcast : Monday, 13 August 2007 at 4:30pm – 10.30pm (Second Life Time)
    Second Life Venue: Terra incognita island, Decka’s Decks. Terra incognita 156, 100, 33
  • Live Web Cast: August 14, 2007 9.30am – 1.30pm (AEST, GMT+10)
    Live Web Cast Venue: An internet browser near you
    Web Cast URL:

For more information please contact Cameron Loudon on x1687 or email


Cameron Loudon

Manager | Digital Marketing
Marketing and Public Relations
University of Southern Queensland
Toowoomba Queensland 4350

Contact Information
Telephone: +61 7 4631 1687
Facsimile: +61 7 4631 1404
Mobile: 0412 673 941
USQ Website:

The University of Southern Queensland is a registered provider of education with the Australian Government.
(CRICOS Codes: QLD 00244B | NSW 02225M)

Carrick grant for Virtual Reality T&L at Macquarie

Looks like Professor John Hedberg at Macquarie is formulating an application for a Carrick grant to form an International Virtual Reality Teaching and Learning Research Institute.  I found this via the SLOz blog



Call for Expressions of Interest to contribute to a proposed International Virtual Reality Teaching and Learning Research InstituteThis is a general call for academics and practitioners involved or interested in the field of Virtual Reality Teaching and Learning (using environments such as Second Life) to express their interest in contributing to or being associated with an International Virtual Reality Teaching and Learning Research Institute.

The range of research and development that the proposed Institute would support is intentionally left open, but could include projects such as investigating the efficacy of various virtual reality learning designs, researching the sociological and psychological aspects of learning in virtual reality environments, and the success with which tools and
scripts can be applied across different curricula.

Interested parties can nominate roles that they would like to perform, which may include:

– advice on the policies of the Institute and the services it provides
– research and development in conjunction with the Institute (utilising support services that would be provided by the Institute)
– evaluation of Institute performance

If you are interested in becoming involved with the proposed Institute, please provide an Expression of Interest (of no longer than one page) outlining your experience with VREs or related technology based learning applications, any research experience, the reasons for your interest in becoming associated, and the ways in which you would like to be involved.

Please return all Expressions of Interest no later than 9th August 2007.

Prospective contributors would form part of a Carrick Grant Application to establish the Institute.

This initiative is being lead by Professor John Hedberg, Macquarie University Australia.”