First Summer 2012 Learning in 3D Class

It’s that time of year again, time to venture into the world of 3D learning and discover all the wonderful attributes of 3D Virtual Immersive Environments. I added a link the the “green” house on the MIST Second Life Wiki. This will allow any student who wants to return to the “green” house and who forgot to landmark the location.

Instructor Abbott Bundy AKA Karl Kapp Welcomes Students to the Discussion Pit by the Fire

In class we discussed why 3D was important for the future of learning and took a little tour in Second Life, we didn’t get to build but hope to do so next week for a little. We discussed assignments and got Note Cards to guide us through various locations in Second Life.

So, three questions for students about the first class:

What was the strangest part of participating within a 3D virtual world? What was unsettling or uneasy about 3D virtual immersive environment?

Having been in a virtual 3D world for a visit and seeing one example of a 3D educational environment, what do you think are the possibilities of 3D virtual worlds for learning?

What do you think would be the biggest obstacle in implementing a 3D learning environment in a school or organization?

Posted in: 3D worlds

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  1. Adam Snook July 9, 2012

    What was the strangest part of participating within a 3D virtual world? What was unsettling or uneasy about 3D virtual immersive environment?

    The strangest part of participating in a virtual world was the interactions between each other. It really created an environment that captured your imagination. It was very interesting that the interactions (facial expressions, physical movements) are made between each other truly make it like you’re really there. I enjoyed the experience and look forward to creating my own virtual learning environment.

    Having been in a virtual 3D world for a visit and seeing one example of a 3D educational environment, what do you think are the possibilities of 3D virtual worlds for learning?

    I think there are many possibilities for learning in a 3D world. I am a firm believer in one on one classroom instruction, but with the unique environment, and the many opportunities for problem-solving scenarios, I think virtual learning could achieve the same learning goals. If everything is created in a manner that keeps students interested and engaged in learning, I see no reason why all learning goals could not be accomplished.

    What do you think would be the biggest obstacle in implementing a 3D learning environment in a school or organization?

    I think the biggest obstacle would be providing time for students to interact with the 3D environment. I think with such emphasis on testing and making sure all students are on track with achieving high test scores would make it difficult to provide too much time for students to work within a virtual world. I am sure with time; curriculum and activities could be modified to incorporate virtual learning. I think it is important for students to learn through traditional instruction, but I also do not doubt the potential of virtual learning. I just think it’s a matter of incorporating it correctly.

  2. Holly Czwakiel July 9, 2012

    1. The strangest part for me was moving around. I had a difficult time navigating into smaller spaces such as a door way. Perhaps this is something that can be easily achieved with time and practice. There are various forms of moving such as running, walking, and flying. It was an interesting experience to see the class in a virtual setting.

    2. I think learning in a virtual environment depends on the topic. This is a place that can be easily distracting to a person, but if the professor can limit the students “freedom/ gestures/movements” it can be used in many different ways. One in particular I see a virtual world is a good way to learn about a building or equipment that would be impossible for everyone go and see. Perhaps training for a job that requires clearances first or something that is very expensive, the learner can learn the fundamentals in a virtual world.

    3. One of the biggest challenges would be to educate the teacher how to work the system and work out the bugs before the students begin working with it. Along with having the teachers to become comfortable with the new software would be funding. Finally, keeping the students engaged at all times and limiting their mobility.

  3. James Carr July 9, 2012

    1) The strangest thing to me about working in a virtual world was the navigation. I have no exposure in virtual worlds what so ever and the entire experience was unique. It took me a long time to figure out how to walk through doorways and sit let alone fly. Being my 1st time in a 3D world, I found it frustrating to figure out all the navigation tools and the dozens of custom options from my appearance to how to speak to others. I think it would be easier with a joystick of some kind used via the usb port of the computer. The other thing that struck me as strange was the ability to communicate with everybody almost as if you are in real life. I can see how after a while of being in 2nd Life time would fly by.
    2) I think that 3D world will be more and more common in say 10 years in education. For example when I was in high school in the late 90s the internet was just becoming big. We didn’t even get our 1st computer at home till I was in 10th grade in 1997. There was no YouTube, Face Book, Twitter and just a basic school website. Fast forward to 2012 and the entire school has wi-fi, those website are now used in education as well as for fun, and computer labs are all over the place. My point is technology evolves with education and for education to stay current with its youth it has to incorporate new ways of teaching. I thing Virtual Worlds will play a bigger part especially in eLearning as teachers and professors might move away from sites like Saba Centra and Bolt / Moodle to 2nd Life or Virtual U.
    3) The biggest obstacle would be overcoming biases or negative stereotypes that may exist about Virtual Worlds. I don’t think that using Virtual World for educational purposes is well known yet or is a common practice. I suspect that most educators view sites like 2nd Life and Sim City as games only. The biggest obstacle to me would be to educate the public. Explaining the benefits to a client only goes so far if they already have preconceived notions about it. Having a demo class set up and logging in to show them I think is the only way to sell Virtual Worlds to a client or educator about its value for learning.

  4. Andy Bradfield July 9, 2012

    I wasn’t too sure what to think of having class the first night in Second Life. I used to play World of Warcraft and was sorta involved in the 40 man raids and I just thought it was going to be very chaotic and unorganized and would take a lot of time to get everyone on the same page. I have to say that I was very surprised and impressed with how fast it all seemed to come together. I was even more blown away that Second Life has voice options. So I have to say I was a little uneasy for usually feeling very comfortable in virtual environments.
    I was pretty blown away with the exploration of the house in class and when visiting the star trek museum in second life. I feel this has huge potential and is only going to get better with time. Considering the age of Second Life its very impressive. I think if more things were created like Second Life it would be even better because it would be up to date and wouldn’t be clunky ( its probably because im not used to the controls yet but I still find it rather difficult to get around..but I have to say the teleporting is very nice!).
    I think the biggest obstacle would be making sure everyone has the same hardware and would be able to run everything without any problems. I know a decent amount of people wouldn’t of been able to run centra and second life at the same time and it could make it difficult for people not to use centra if they got lost in Second Life. So if there was a better way to make sure everyone had the same hardware it would be one less thing that could go wrong and would make the 3D learning environment that much easier.

  5. Caleb Petrin July 9, 2012

    1. The strangest part of participating in a 3D virtual world was being ‘dropped’ into a common area with other avatars much like an old Star Trek episode. “Beam me up (err, down), Scottie!” Then once, were in this environment, many avatars just stood there & stared or were hunched over because their users were offline. Besides that, there was little or no environmental sounds. This was especially strange & a little eerie. Once the avatars started moving & became more acclimated to this new environment, it became a little less strange.

    2. We had discussed several examples of virtual learning environments (online field trips, virtual conferences) in class. These options have yet to scratch the surface of what’s available to us with such incredible technological advancements in online communities, graphic renderings (avatar, environments). As a high school P.E. teacher, I have used virtual characters in Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect games with much success. Students love technology & this seems like an ideal tool.

    3. I believe many school administrators and staff would be opposed to virtual learning environments with the argument that these environments cannot replace traditional classroom experiences and are removing the ‘human element’ of face-to-face interaction, good communication (versus chatting or texting), and making us too reliant on technology. There is a whole technology concern as well. Many school computers I’ve used do not seem capable of supporting not only the graphics, but the online/network speed required without the lag or glitches that make it more frustrating than rewarding.

  6. Sarah Kelly July 9, 2012

    1) Being immersed in a virtual world, at first, was a little daunting. I am used to learning either in a traditional classroom setting or Centra, and both require some interaction. However, in a 3D world, you are not only required to pay attention but you need to understand how it works, i.e., the controls, how to talk or ask questions – so there is a bit of a learning curve at first. After some time, though, I realized how fun it can be, and ideas starting pouring into my head on how to create a learning environment using this software.
    2) Not only are the possibilities endless for creating a learning environment in a virtiual world, but the use of one’s creativity can really be utilized. As a math teacher, you are limited to the classroom setting, materials, and time. In a 3D world, a student can be learning without these limitations, as long as the instructional designer creates the world appropriately.
    3) While a myriad of topics can be created by a designer and explored by the learner, as a math teacher, I cannot foresee a 3D world being useful for most topics. Its true that some topics can be experienced, for example, the path a ball takes when kicked (a parabola) but teaching a student how to factor in a 3D world has its problems. I teach a subject that is very dry and most people don’t realize that one of the biggest obstacles in teaching high school mathematics is keeping the student engaged. I’m not sure if a virtual world can change that, but I’m up for a debate on the topic!

  7. Dan White July 7, 2012

    The strangest part of participating within a 3D virtual world was that people from any location were able meet in one location and interact in a common world. Our class met with goal of learning about 3D virtual worlds and to me, the situation felt very focused and personalized. This demonstrated to me that adding an avatar to a user makes a group feel comfortable and familiar though he actual participants may have never met! In some ways this was a very unsettling experience because I began to feel like I “knew” all of my classmates though I may not have ever spoken to them face-to-face. Although many of us were still figuring out how to move our character and sit on a bench, I learned more from this one virtual class than I had from any previous online class where everyone was just a name on a list. One additional unsettling aspect of this specific 3D virtual immersive environment is that anyone can create content and there is absolutely no filtration or administrator to block disruptive content. I think that this lack of filtrations will make it difficult for Second Life to be used for online classes. Although having content approved for appropriateness would cost lots of money, it would surely make a virtual environment like Second Life applicable for student learning.

    The possibilities of 3D virtual worlds for learning are limitless if used correctly. I could imagine many great learning environments that teach students a multitude of information about any topic. One of the greatest features of an interactive 3D virtual would be the ability for learners to view, interact with, and learn about places and technology that they could never see in their current classroom. For example, the learners could learn about renewable energy sources and then take a trip to see famous hydroelectric power stations, wind turbines, and solar arrays. Once the students are at the virtual location, they could view, interact with, and learn about the various parts of each renewable energy station.

    The biggest obstacle in implementing a 3D learning environment is a school or organization would be finding enough developers who would be skilled enough to develop the interactive learning environments. Not only would it be difficult to find talented personnel, it would also be quite pricy to hire all of the necessary programmers and 3D artists. The cost of developing just one interactive 3D learning environment using existing software could be quite expensive. Additionally, it would be quite pricey to run and maintain the 3D learning environment. You would most likely need network and server personnel along with technical assistants along with all of the necessary hardware to run the environment. Overall, the biggest obstacle would be the cost that would be involved in developing and maintaining the learning environment.

  8. Jill Dent July 5, 2012

    I really enjoyed this first class and look forward to learning more! I thought it was sort of “funny” to be in there with everyone. There were a few times that I found myself laughing out loud. I think it may have just been because it is so odd to interact that way with others. Perhaps had I previously had experience in online gaming or something similar, I would feel more comfortable with the avatars. It was just bizarre, but great.

    I see this as being fantastic for my students. I teach 6th grade online and they would LOVE to have this interaction with one anther. It would also be really helpful to them as they would be able to have some visual remediation. Right now a lot of my communication is via email, Skype, or telephone. Engaging 6th graders this way would certainly keep them interested.

    The major challenge that I foresee is managing everyone. Teaching or training in this environment would take a lot of focus and the ability to unify everyone without being “physically” present.

  9. Vanessa Bailey July 5, 2012

    While I have a lot of experience with CG environments and characters, I have never used a virtual world for a classroom environment. I am also completely new to Second Life. It was very strange for me to walk around a virtual world and listen to a lecture for a class. I have interacted in MMORPGs and held classes in synchronous environments such as Centra. Second Life was a strange mixture of the two…but strange in a good way! The only unsettling thing about it was the limitless possibilities. I am familiar with classroom settings that are limiting and rigid in structure. This was a class where I could fly, or be a dragon, or build things out of nothing!

    There seem to be many possibilities for learning in 3D virtual worlds. It opens up a world that is engaging and memorable for learners. Activities can be fast-paced or self-paced, such as exploring the “green” house or learning new skills in the interface. It is highly visual and auditory, as well as allowing for hands-on activities that may not be possible in the “real world.” This allows for the learner to use multiple cognitive processes at once (aka visual, auditory, and tactile) and decreases the chances of overloading one cognitive channel.

    The biggest obstacle I could foresee from implementing 3D learning environments is the inevitable distraction and frustration that will arise from the learning curve. Learners have to first learn to utilize the software and the environment, and only then can they begin to focus on the material. In this way, a relatively simple lesson could be made more complex by attempting to teach it in this sort of environment. However, for complex subjects, it will most likely have the opposite effect.

    Overall, I am very excited to move forward in the class and learn about different virtual worlds!

  10. Zack F July 5, 2012

    1) For me the strangest part of the virtual world was seeing a representation of everyone and getting to interact with them. I am used to Centra where you are looking at a whiteboard and just names in a list. I found the whole experience unsettling because I became so distracted with all of the fun things I could do (fly, walk, jump, etc) that paying attention to class was difficult times.

    2) I think the possibilities of 3D virtual learning worlds are almost endless, especially when dealing with visual learners. Learning in a virtual world allows the instructor to create visual representations of the items being taught. Instead of giving students abstract concepts, in a virtual world you can actually show the students what you are talking about and they can have their avatar play with the object to help you understand it better.

    3) I think the biggest challenge would be convincing the school that there is actual learning going on. I think most people who are not necessarily tech savvy might not grasp the concept of using 3D worlds as a learning technique. When I was in class on Monday my fiancee came in and saw me in Second Life and asked if I was playing a game instead of being in class.

  11. Lisa H-Millard July 5, 2012

    1) Strangest part for me what that it felt like a real world experience. Although I did not have sound, I still felt as if I could follow what others were doing. This was the first time I felt like a deaf person picking up on the context clues and body language from those around me. When they flew I tried it too (probably not a great leadership role but the idea was there).
    2) I can see the possibly of learning in 3d a great instructional strategy for children or young adults. I could also see this being used in my current job as a restaurant interior designer as I have nationwide clients that like to see there spaces in 3D but this Learning style can take it to whole new levels where not only can they see their space 3D but could also teach the workers how to operate the equipment. For example, I design a lot of brands that have a standard Menu like Jazzmans (similar to a Starbucks) needs to have certain muffins baked at certain temps. If they could train their employees from a 3D environment, it is definitely more engaging as well as cost effective.
    3) I believe the biggest obstacle is getting people acquainted with the technology. The first impression seems a bit weird. I thought this was great for grade school students but was a little skeptical about adults, however after seeing the possibilities, I have since changed my mind. However, I feel open minded and willing to accept change and not sure that large corporations have such a flexible mindset.

  12. Abdullah Albalawi July 4, 2012

    1) Actually there are many strength parts in 3D world, but the strengest part for me is that the transmission is easy and flexible. First the avatar has three ways to move which are walking, running, and flying. second, it is easy and fast to move from place to another in 3D world. For example, if I want to go to a museum in Australia in real world, I need at least two days to be there, however it takes seconds in second life. On the other hand, I think the unsettling about 3D world is that it depends on the internet connection(how available it is?) because If the users miss the internet connection they will probably miss important information. Also, I think this concern is not only in 3D world, it is in all kind of online learning.

    2) 3D virtual world is kind of online learning. I think instructors can deliver the massage or lesson that they want to their learners by using it. For example, if they want to teach learners how to do something. The instructor can meet the learners in a 3D environment and the instructor will persent the lesson for learners. The instructor can use the tools in the second life, and he/she can show the information on screen-show. Also, they can chat and speak to each other to clarify any thing. Moreover, the learners can go to their 3D environment in any time and they can edit, share, and review the lesson. Finally, instructor can guide the learners to any place in 3D world that related to the lesson and they can discover more useful information.

    3) In my opinion the biggest obstacle to implement a 3D environment in schools or organizations is that how to answer these questions. First, do all leaners have computer devise and internet connection? I think in developed country such as the United States, it would not be a big problem because it is easy to have these things for most people. However, it is different issue in many other countries. Second, do instructors and learners accept the idea of learning in a 3D environment because it seems strength in some communities. I think to solve this we can implement a 3D environment in schools or organizations gradually, then we should find the advantages and disadvantages of implementing a 3D environment. After that we should focus on the disadvantages and try to find solutions. That would allow schools or organizations to implement a 3D environment without difficulties.

  13. Abu Sheriff July 3, 2012

    1.) For me, the strangest part of participating in the 3D virtual world was having to step away from reality but at the same time pretend as if was still there; if that makes any sense. Also being it a first time in such a immersive environment, navigating, and just familiarizing myself was not uneasy but rather exciting.

    2.) I definitely believe that 3D virtual worlds are going to some day change the way people interact through learning. Based on the effectiveness of such an environment, it could be seen or used as a new medium of delivery for learning.

    3.) In my opinion, one of the biggest obstacles in implementing 3D environment for a school or an organization is getting people to buy in on the idea. It not a widely accepted phenomenon as far as standards are concerernd. Often times people wonder about if a tool such as 3D will help leverage any organization to increase perfomance; this makes the implementation of 3D learning very difficult.

  14. Alanna Olive-Smith July 3, 2012

    1. For me the strangest part of the environment was the appearance of the avatars. I was reminded, on viewing them of the characters in old N64 games, except these polygonal people seemed less well animated. For some reason I just found their appearance off-putting. It was also strange to be unable to build things. Whatever glitch occured during the first class that said the empty plain was too full for a cube was definitely odd, though not an unexpected occurence in a virtual environment.
    2. I think there are definite possibilties for learning in a 3D world. It could be used to make learning more engaging. For example, in middle school I played some foreign language related games where I would explore a city, trying to communicate. It seems that this option definitely exists in the 2nd life environment. With a more engaging way to garner learner attention it may be easier for them to process and remember the information they learned, especially if they can associate it with something other than just 2D text.
    3. There are many obstacles to implementing 2nd life in a school or organizational environment, a lot of which have already been discussed above. One technical obstacle that has yet to be addressed is the amount of energy that the 2nd life program takes up on a computer. It becomes difficult to run other programs at the same time and the virtual world has a positively vampiric effect on computer battery levels. Given the current economic state of the world in general, I don’t know that a lot of companies or schools or going to want to, or be able to afford to update their computers to be able to handle this software. There’s also the cost in time as it would take employees/students/teachers, etc a while to become acclimated to this new environment.

  15. Travis Williams July 3, 2012

    The strangest part to me about participating in the virtual world was the “mystery” behind the avatar. By this I mean we can see each other’s avatar on the screen and they can look like however the user created them, but you don’t really get to see or know anything about (unless they share that with you) the person on the other end. It felt a little bit weird, but it also felt like it was a chance to start over.

    The possibilities to use a 3D virtual world in an educational setting are endless. Being a teacher myself, I could foresee teachers creating models and concept ideas for students to manipulate and build off of for themselves. This is a great learning tool.

    To implement this in a school, since I am a computer teacher, I could foresee this as a logistical nightmare. First you would need a network infrastructure that could handle the bandwidth needed to make this work. Then you would need to make sure the computers were capable of processing the information and had all the plugins, etc. ready to go. The last hurdle would be just general teacher and student troubleshooting. Far too often I see teachers in my district have a great idea of how to implement technology, but they run into minor problems that really turn them off from using technology at all.

  16. Phebe S. July 3, 2012

    The strangest part of participating within the 3D world was to get used to what was going on, How to move my person around, how to stop, and even how to dress her up. Secondlife was very slow and it took me a while to even find an avatar. Besides being slow, i was also not sure what to expect in 3D world. For example, we couldnt build anything, and it wouldnt work, i didnt know why, and there was no way i would understand it at the moment.

    the possibilities of 3D virtual worlds for learning are basically limitless. 3D world could be used as a simulation to teach almost anything.

    the biggest obstacle in implementing a 3D learning environment in a school or organization is to eleminate the distractions that would be caused by chatting, playing around or goofing off. and also the getting used to stage takes a long time. It would be a big obstacle to get students used to using this world.

  17. Rachel Kaskie July 3, 2012

    The strangest part of participating within the 3D world was interacting with other people using an avatar. It takes away the personal connection when meeting physically face to face.

    I am a science teacher. I can imagine all the really neat things students can explore using 3D learning environments. If we were learning about biomes, students could visit 3D biomes and discover the different types of plant and animal life in each biome. Students could explore a virtual cell, organ, or organ system when learning about the body.

    The biggest obstacle in implementing a 3D learning environment in my classroom would be time. It could take awhile to develop the 3D world for my students. I only see my students for 42 minutes a day so we would be limited in the time to teach everything that needs to be taught for the 3D learning environment to be successful.

  18. Drew Smith July 3, 2012

    1) The strangest part for me was the ability to build the universe. I could create what ever I would want and it would be there for others to see. The universe is huge! I think what was uneasy about Second Life was that it is so massive. You would never have enough time to see everything.

    2) From attending seminars and conventions, I know that education is including more and more technology. With today’s youth so technological advanced, I see more schooling (maybe in a few years) using the 3D environment. Students will have the opportunity to explore the world and seek out information on their own. Since anyone can build whatever they would like, that would simply mean almost anything is out there in Second Life.

    3) Since anyone could build whatever they would like, one concern I would have is how true is the information on Second Life. Someone could post notes that have false information. I would not want my students to spend their time reading false facts.

Karl Kapp
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