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eMENTAL HEALTH PROJECTS
eMENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
MOBILE DEVICE OPERATING SYSTEM VERSIONS
EDUCATIONAL USES OF SECOND LIFE
Virtual Worlds and 3D in Online Education
A webinar for the
Learning Technologies User Group
May 3rd 2007, 4pm - 5pm AEST (Sydney time)
In this session we will address the following questions:
What are online 3D virtual worlds? How popular are they becoming?
What are the unique characteristics of online 3D virtual worlds and what new opportunities do they present for online education?
What is Second Life? Why has it become so popular?
What are some of the ways online 3D virtual worlds can used in education? (with a special focus on Second Life)
What are some of the challenges educators face when using online 3D virtual worlds?
Why do educators need to pay attention to online 3D virtual worlds?
What does the future hold for online 3D virtual worlds and the 3D web?
There is currently an explosion in the number and population of online 3D virtual worlds. This development could even be heralding the next evolution of the Internet - the 3D web.
3D virtual worlds provide new ways to create, communicate, interact, socialise, network, collaborate, as well as new ways to teach and learn online.
Gartner Research Says 80 Percent of Active Internet Users Will Have A 'Second Life' in the Virtual World by the End of 2011
What are Online 3D Virtual Worlds? How Popular are they Becoming?
Online 3D virtual worlds are online 3D spaces that you navigate using a digital character called an 'avatar'. You interact with other users from around the world using text chat/instant messaging/voice chat (depending on the platform).
Online 3D virtual worlds are often called Multi-user Virtual Environments (MUVEs)
They are related to Massively Multi-user Online Games (MMOGs) such as World of Warcraft, but they are not games. However you can play, and sometimes create, games within them.
They range from completely open-ended environments with user-generated content (e.g. Second Life) to highly managed environments where the world-builder creates the content (e.g. Sony's Home).
Not all online virtual worlds are 3D - e.g.
Quality of graphics is not necessarily related to level of immersion, suspension of disbelief and identification with avatar.
There is a convergence occuring between gaming worlds (MMOGs), social networking sites (Kaneva) for social media sharing and consumption, and virtual worlds (2D, 2.5D and 3D)
Sony's 'Home' for PlayStation 3
Types of Online 3D Virtual Worlds and Related Online Communities
3D Virtual Worlds
DIY Virtual Worlds & 3D Web Spaces
2.5D Worlds & Avatar-based Communities
Virtual Worlds for Kids & Teens
Massively Multi-player Online Games (MMOGs)
Geo-spatial Data and Mapping
Full list of online virtual worlds with examples:
Virtual Worlds Resources - Jo Kay and Sean FitzGerald
How Popular are Online Virtual Worlds?
World of Warcraft - 8.5 million players worldwide
Runescape - 5 million players, inc. 1 million paying subscribers, over 200,000 concurrent users
Lineage - over 2 1/4 million active users
Entropia Universe - 500,000 registered participants
Star Wars Galaxies - estimated 110,000 to 175,000 subscribers
3D Virtual Worlds
Second Life - approx. 600,000 active users (6 million accounts)
There.com - 500,000 members
MTV's Virtual Hills, Laguna Beach & Virtual Pimp My Ride - 600,000 users
Social Networking Worlds
Cyworld - 20 million members - 33 percent of all South Koreans, 90 percent of Korean 20-30 year olds
Habbo Hotel - 66 million Habbos with 7 million unique users per month (UU/mth)
Gaia Online - 2.5m UU/mth
Club Penguin - 4.1m UU/mth
Neopets - 4.2m UU/mth
Webkinz - 4.1m UU/mth
Nicktropolis - 2.5 million registered unique visitors
Kids and teens have pushed at least 6 immersive online worlds to over 2m UU/mth in the US
What are the Unique Characteristics of Online 3D Virtual Worlds and what New Opportunities do they Present for Online Education?
Shared presence - it feels like being in the same space at the same time with others. Interacting with users from around the world.
Shared experience - you can view and experience the same events (e.g. videos, presentations, musical performances) and engage in shared activities (e.g. play games, pull apart 3D models, dance).
Real-time collaboration and creative co-production - act on the same objects in real time, e.g. a spreadsheet, a whiteboard or a 3D model.
Anonymity encourages more personal exploration. Shy students more likely to participate.
Immersion leads to the suspension of disbelief - enhances roleplay.
Spacial cues enhance communication - "What are they doing over there?"
Increased emotional bandwidth - enhanced communication from avatar choice and non-verbal cues such as avatar position, movement & gestures.
Identification with avatar. Emotional realism - you experience what your avatar experiences.
Supports experiential and project-based learning through authentic experiences in authentic contexts. The environment can be built to support incidental and informal learning.
Being in the same place at the same time naturally leads to peer learning.
Liberation from the physical laws of the real world makes possible the creation of innovative and imaginative spaces, activites and experiences.
Instructors report far higher engagement than other online platforms (although the capacity for distraction is also increased).
A very social environment - this leads to a more social experience than traditional online learning - students have greater opportunities to feel connected to other students and teachers. Students "hang out" after class, and are often found online working on class projects and/or socialising outside of class hours.
What is Second Life? Why has it Become so Popular?
is a 3D online digital world imagined, created and owned by its residents." The platform is developed by Linden Lab. Residents engage in a range of activities including socialising, attending musical events, playing games & sports, dancing, shopping, running businesses, building structures, scripting objects, attending meetings and presentations and undertaking training and education.
Wikipedia entry on Second Life
Video - Introduction to Second Life
Slideshow - Education Redefined in a MUVE: Education in Second Life
Statistics (April 2007):
over 6 million
approx. 600,000 (10% total)
Premium (paid) accounts:
New signups a day:
average is 30 (was 37 in 2006) with approx. 16% over 55
60% are men, 40% are women
Completely user-generated content - it's an open world where you can create just about any thing and any experience you want.
Relatively easy-to-use built-in building and scripting tools.
Creators own the intellectual property for their creations.
In-world economy with real money transfer makes it easy to buy and sell creations (and profit from them).
Linden Labs takes a hands-off approach to governance, allowing the residents to self-govern (although there are
Terms of Service
residents are expected to abide by).
Alternatives To Second Life - Uber Edition « Second Life Games
There is also a
Teen Second Life
for 13 - 17 year olds.
What are Some of the Ways Online 3D Virtual Worlds can used in Education?
Distance and Flexible Education
Presentations, Panels and Discussions
Training and Skills Development
Displays and Exhibits
Roleplays and Simulations
Data Visualisations and Simulations
Historical Re-creations and Re-enactments, Living and Immersive Archeology
Multimedia and Games Design
Theatre and Performance Art
Treasure Hunts and Quests
Virtual Tourism, Cultural Immersion and Cultural Exchange
Language Teaching and Practice, and Language Immersion
Social Science and Anthropological Research
Politics, Governance, Civics and Legal Practice
Business, Commerce, Financial Practice and Modelling
Real Estate Practice
Product Design, Prototyping, User-testing and Market Research
Architectural Design and Modelling
Urban Planning and Design
For more types of educational uses of Second Life with examples see:
Educational Uses of Second Life - Jo Kay and Sean FitzGerald
What are Some of the Challenges Educators Face when Using Online 3D Virtual Worlds?
Proprietary services - putting money in corporate pockets.
Walled gardens vs open platforms.
Level of freedom/autonomy/choice to create own worlds with own rules.
High technological requirements - need a relatively fast computer with a good graphics card and broadband internet access.
Digital divide - due to access to technology or cost.
Steep learning curve (easier for gamers and the Net Gen).
Specific to Second Life
Poor introductory experience - problems with Orientation Island, Welcome Areas and a lack of obvious search makes it difficult to find places, experiences and people of interest.
Grid stability, performance problems, downtime and lag.
Regular downtime for grid updates & need to download a new client regularly.
Platform limitations - prim economy, limit of number of avatars per area.
Questionable content - privacy and control.
Legal issues for institutions - indemnity, copyright.
No backup. Limited import tools.
You can lose everything with no legal recourse - both as a result of technical issues and conflict with Linden Lab.
Why do Educators Need to Pay Attention to Online 3D Virtual Worlds?
This is going to be big - 3D online virtual worlds are exploding. The next generation of online interaction?
They offer unique qualities not available in any other medium - immersion, shared presence, shared experience etc.
They offer compelling and engaging environments for collaboration, interaction, communication etc.
They encourage student engagement.
Net Gen students have grown up interacting via avatars in online 3D immersive environments and will come to expect them.
Net Gen students are digitally literate and expect to be involved in the creation of their own media.
We will see more use of 3D virtual worlds in the workplace (online meetings, staff training) and at university/college.
Digital Natives need Digital Immigrants (Prensky) - young people need guidance from adult to learn how to use new online technologies effectively, critically, responsibly and safely.
Educators need to help define this space which is currently being driven by commercial interests.
Virtual worlds like Second Life provide an opportunity to explore and prototype new learning models - lifelong learning, Constructivism, experiential, project-based and informal learning.
What Does the Future Hold for Online 3D Virtual Worlds and the 3D Web?
Convergence of the following areas:
Online 3D virtual worlds - e.g. Second Life.
Online gaming - MMOGs e.g.
World of Warcraft
Console games - e.g.
Sony's PlayStation Home
Social networking sites - e.g.
(watch what MySpace does in the next 12 months).
Geo-spatial data and mapping applications - e.g.
Microsoft Virtual Earth
NASA World Wind
TV - e.g.
MTV's Virtual Hills, Laguna Beach and Virtual Pimp My Ride
Film - CBS plans Star Trek Environment within the Second Life -
Toy manufacturers -
Business applications of 3D immersive environments - meetings, conferences, brainstorming sessions, training -
MPK20: Sun's Virtual Workplace
Training simulations (flight simulators, military training e.g.
, surgical training -
ScienCentral Video News: Video Game Surgeons
3D immersive environments for role playing scenarios - environmental disasters, emergency response.
3D CAD for product design.
Virtual shopping malls. Watch Amazon.
Photo-realistic 3D worlds with more life-like avatars
3D web? Integration of 2D and 3D?
Alternative interfaces and input devices - e.g. Nintendo's Wii, neural interfaces
Mobile access via mobile devices and ubiquitous computing
Augmentation (HUDS in the real world)
Second Life in Education - Jo Kay and Sean FitzGerald Explore the Educational Uses of Second Life
Second Life Educator's (SLED) Mailing List
Metaverse Roadmap: Pathways to the 3D Web
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"