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Kathy Trinder, a learning technologist is talking about how Glasgow Calendonian University and use of virtual worls in learning and development.

Emphasises the fact this is still new to higher education and that there is a lot of experimentation.

Started with staff and students attending evening classes = development of a comunity around 2nd life. Aim was to get through early adopter issues.

Ran competitions to find projects – got 9 entries from around GCU.

Projects from law students, clinical students and psychology students. 


Computer tech students wanted to learn more about Artificial Intelligence. So they created a robot/simulation to see how AI algorythm worked. Third year students built the simulator for thefirst year students. Peer teaching proved powerful.

Xray simulator – in real life these machines cost a lot – to help students learn how to do x-rays. Much easier to get 150 students to train on simulator.

Student support in second life. Enable students to approach her without the stigma – as adifferent(anaynous) persona. Not right for all students, but good for some. Plan to build some support spaces in  second life.

Law of second life project.

Virtual ward to practise decision making processes around patient needs.

Exciting – new open source version of Second Life called OpenSim - avirtual worl on a USB stick.

Kathy gives an example of a student who takes tutorials in Second Life. And highlights the collaborative nature of online games – crucial skills for business.

Kathy is now giving a demo in Second Life.  Warning: if you are not used to the technology then you will feel uncomfortable. But get used to it! This will be a theme for the day I think.

How do guage learning success?

Trying out self-efficacy. Start training by asking questions, do activity, ask again (confidence goes down), more activities then more questions.

Questionnaires and student interviews.

Data from Second Life

What is level of cost/resource/timescale?

Will need tech people to create buildings - multimedia people. But you can start and have a go – not that difficult. Also buy stuff – save you time. AI will need scripting and programming.

What was take up of seminars?

Started with 18 staff and students but dropped off to hard core of six. Slow starter but gathering pace. a year so far and now starting evening classes again.

Lot of fear around this.Don't go in alone – work in pairs or groups.

Someone raises point about cultures around technologies – educators are intrusive? need an immersion class in how to be in second life. Kathy does this – sends students shopping.

Identity is a big issue. 

Any negatives?

Loss of control. Fear (again) that people are going to do something that they shouldn't.