Virtual Worlds for Immersive, Media Rich Educational Shared Environments

Presenter: Alan Hudson
Location: Somerset and London, United Kingdom
Twitter: @AlanNHudson

Presentation Description: Online virtual worlds enable the creation of immersive environments not possible in other media or in conventional classrooms. Real life reproductions of environments such as a court room for teaching law students, or burning buildings for training fire fighters are prohibitively expensive, and must consider the student’s health and safety. With videos we can create stimulating action packed images, but these are not interactive. Video creates experiences where the audience are distanced from the action. Virtual worlds create a more immersive and engaging experience for students, allow interaction and can be used by individual students or a whole class at a time. Four keys features we can exploit are:

  1. Little or no need to consider the health and safety of the students so we can expose the students to dangers we wouldn’t be allowed to in real life.
  2. The student can view the environment from many points of view.
  3. Buildings and oceans can move, appear, disappear unrestricted by the laws of physics (and its cheap). We can instantly travel from the 2012 Olympics to ancient Greece.
  4. The students’ avatars can be programmed and animated to be part of the presentation. Thus the student can become the performer with no need for rehearsal.

Many of these features have been exploited in recent Second Life builds. This presentation will use video to show a 3D Warehouse built for Health and Safety training, and New Synthetic Theatre productions “Ninety Nine Percent” and “Jabba Jabba Jabba”.

Link to presentation’s supporting documents:
http://mralanhudson.wordpress.com/k12-2012-references/

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