Virtual worlds

The first thing that struck me looking through the Kzero slideshare was the number of virtual worlds in existence. Reflecting on this, this is more about the way I defined a virtual world. I saw a virtual world as being one like SL, where it replicated the adult world. Seeing that a large number of worlds were for younger children I thought about places like Club Penguin and Moshimonsters that my kids use. Minecraft came up as well which my kids love. It is interesting that I had not thought of these as virtual worlds, which of course they are. It is about broadening my perspective of what a virtual world is.

I read Chap 3 of the ref on Virtual worlds and the 3-D internet. The first point I highlighted was that virtual worlds can be used for a variety of purposes (p .82) I was particularly interested in the paragraph on how virtual worlds can be used in a learning environment.

As it happens I had been posting with Mica about virtual libraries and their usefulness prior to reading this article. P. 92 has a paragraph on how literature can be brought to life in a virtual world. I had put in my post to Mica that it would be great to be able to do this, and sure enough I am reading about it a couple of days later. I had to laugh.

I was thinking about how we might be able to use it in a work context and the article discusses how several major companies use it to host virtual conferences (p.86). In a time of budget cutbacks it may turn out much cheaper to own a virtual conference centre in SL than to fly everyone to a real location. I would be keen to find out how well received the conferences in virtual worlds are.

As I was reading through the article I was struck by how the ways in which a virtual world can be used is really only limited by imagination. It was interesting to read how Starwood hotels was using SL to market test hotel room concepts (p.89). I had read in other articles how virtual worlds could be used for prototype testing to save money and the Starwood example definitely shows that.

The reference to 3D web maybe being the next big thing (p.98) reinforces other material I have read which suggests the same thing. For me this means that we should be at least considering how we might operate in this environment and how we can best use it, so we are somewhat prepared if we get to that point.

With my focus being on adult education, the Learning Light paper on Second Life and Virtual Worlds was very interesting. This paper brought a balanced view of the pros and cons of learning in such an environment. The greatest potential I see a virtual environment providing is the opportunity to be able to explore perspectives of an environment that would otherwise be inaccessible. Examples of this in the Learning Light paper include floating outside a space station, being immersed in an ancient city or exploring the inside of a human body.

I am not sure that virtual worlds hold immediate value for inclusion in a tool for review in the second assessment but I am keen to explore their use as part of the 3rd assessment.


~ by dassocmed on August 7, 2012.

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