This paper gives an overview of the educational potential of virtual worlds and draws on the results of the AVATAR ‘Added value of teaching in a virtual world’, the ST.ART ‘Street Artists in a virtual space’ and the Euroversity projects, all funded with support by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme. These action-research projects deal with the technological, pedagogical, cultural and motivational benefits of using virtual worlds in educational settings and provide a framework for the implementation of virtual worlds in education.
The best way to learn is by having a good teacher and the best language learning takes place when the learner is immersed in an environment where the language is natively spoken. 3D multi-user virtual worlds have been claimed to be useful for learning, and the field of exploiting them for education is becoming more and more active thanks to the availability of open source 3D multi-user virtual world development tools. The research question we wanted to respond to was whether we could deploy an engaging learning experience to foster communication skills within a 3D multi-user virtual world with minimum teacher´s help. We base our instructional design on the combination of two constructivist learning strategies: situated learning and cooperative/collaborative learning. We extend the capabilities of the Open Wonderland development toolkit to provide natural text chatting with non-player characters, textual tagging of virtual objects, automatic reading of texts in learning sequences and the orchestration of learning activities to foster collaboration. Our preliminary evaluation of the experience deems it to be very promising.
Article first published in “Educational Technology & Society”, V. 14 (2011), n. 4, pp. 2-10. Reprinted with permission.
A general view of various ways in which virtual dance can be understood is presented in the first part of this article. It then appraises the uses of the term ‘virtual’ in previous studies of digital dance. A more in-depth view of virtual dance as it relates to motion-capture is offered, and key issues are discussed regarding computer animation, digital imaging, motion signature, virtual reality and interactivity. The paper proposes that some forms of virtual dance be defined in relation to both digital technologies and contemporary theories of virtuality.
Article first published in ‘Contemporary Aestherics’, V. 9 (2011) as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License