More on NUTN "Six Scenarios" Panel & Virtual Worlds

More on NUTN "Six Scenarios" Panel & Virtual Worlds


In my previous post, I invited my fellow panelists to add their thoughts and impressions. Cynthia had a lot to share, so she gets her own guest post:

"Here are my observations from our session...

Steady as she goes makes sense, especially in the face of incredible growth, as Lisa noted. Yet, as Susan stated, compelling educational experiences are important for today's workforce.

Early adoption of technology requires a culture shift as well as a mechanism for producing the 3D course content that is needed for these immersive learning experiences. It is very hard to shift a large educational program into imaginative, unstructured spaces, but once virtual worlds are natural to students, education will leverage their use.

The opportunities for early adopters are excellent.

My research features the design of 3D objects and establishing 1) methods for their use, and 2) archives for sharing these open innovation libraries to support the rapid development of virtual educational settings. Why have everyone bear the burden of content creation when we can create shared repositories with reuse instructions?

Why do virtual worlds offer compelling learning experiences? Interactive learning environments support a wide range of learning styles and simulate real-world experiences, and online virtual worlds are on the rise. In 2008, there were over 200 teen friendly virtual worlds in use or in design.

But are these worlds popular? In March 2009, Second Life reported over 17 million users worldwide. Free educational conferences, such as the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) and the Second Life Education Support Faire reported over 5,000 attendees from 60-90 countries.

VWBPE is held in March each year and televised over Treet.tv.

In April 2007, Gartner stated that 80% of the active Internet users will have a "Second Life" in the virtual world by the end of 2011.

In a 2009 update, Gartner depicted the advances in emerging technology, information that helps us to develop the strategies and tactics needed to support the future of online education. Their slides suggest that it is 2-5 years before we'll see widespread adoption of virtual world use."

-- [from Cynthia Calongne]

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