Posts Tagged ‘Augmenting Reality’

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Virtual Worlds – SERIOUSLY

October 7, 2010

As previously mentioned here, last week I did a presentation at the Virtual Worlds project’s workshop “Augmenting Reality in the Public Domain”.

It was an interesting day with good discussions on amon other the constructions of the “serious” in serious games and serious virtual worlds. I deliberately turned my title around to “Virtual Worlds – SERIOUSLY” because I wanted to indicate that there exist many ways to engage with virtual worlds seriously. I also wanted to insert that the boundaries between what makes a virtual world and a serious game are not very clear. They might in fact become partially contained in each other.

In my talk, the focus was on assemblages of relationships between education and virtual worlds. As previously mentioned here, CarrieLynn Reinhard and I went to Singapore in June where we met up with representatives from the InfoComm Development Association and people from two schools working with various initiatives to engage with and construct virtual worlds for both educational and gaming purposes.

CarrieLynn’s presentation at the workshop introduced how the government in Singapore is thinking strategically in terms of virtual worlds for tourism, and my presentation was more focused on what seems to mark the Singaporean mergers between education and virtual worlds (with the limited knowledge we have). I supplemented this with a focus on my research following how a particular virtual universe Mingoville.com moves and becomes moved in and out of schools, homes and other contexts dealing with education ‘in the world’ (i.e. in Vietnam, Singapore, Finland, Portugal, Norway, Denmark, Chile, Nigeria, China).

(Too) Briefly put, I suggested (and this is very much to be considered work in progress) that we are dealing with many different constructions of what it means to work seriously with virtual worlds (e.g.):

  • Built/designed/structured around/for serious purposes with learning goals/purposes
  • Used for serious purposes for learning goals / purposes
  • The imaginary that learning transfer happens from the serious game/gaming/virtual world engagements to other situations.

Furthermore, I explicited three variations as examples of approaches to serious engagements in virtual worlds:

  • Virtual worlds used for / engaged in  local/regional/periodic educational situations (e.g. secondlife.com and the Singaporean virtual world constructed for education and youth olympic games engagements. See CarrieLynn’s and my slides for examples and elaborations).
  • Virtual world / learning environment developed locally (e.g. for a school) with more long-term serious aims (e.g. several examples can be found in Singapore’s Future Schools projects that merge serious games, virtual world elements and LMS/VLE elements).
  • Serious games /virtual worlds developed for serious purposes with a broader scope/market (e.g. the world as market) and more broad educational aim – ‘educational oxygens’ (e.g. Mingoville.com and the Serious Games Interactive series). Those may include both shorter periodic activities and more long-term engagements.

These examples represent quite different ways to construct hybridities between serious games and virtual worlds, and how these can in various ways adress and become actors that augment different aspects of educational activities and thereby assist in solving/supporting various educational challenges in the world.

 I would love to get comments on my attempts to describe these matters.

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Augmenting Reality in the Public Domain (Free workshop)

September 6, 2010

I just want to raise awareness of this free workshop arranged by the Virtual Worlds research group at Roskilde University on October 1st.

“For the next Virtual Worlds Workshop, Augmenting Reality in the Public Domain, we have invited Professor Gunnar Liestol from the Department of Media & Communication, University of Oslo. Gunnar Liestol will present his work on Situated Simulations, a new mobile augmented reality genre. The day will also cover governmental efforts to incorporate virtual worlds in tourism and education in Singapore, a discussion on the concept of engagement, and future plans for reconstructing aspects of the Sea Stallion Journey in an interactive experience platform.

Join us Friday, October 1st 2010, 10:00 to 17:30, room 43.3.29, house 43, at Roskilde University. The workshop is open to all interested. Lunch is included so please register no later than September 24th to dixi@ruc.dk or phone +45 4674 3813.”

I will be presenting at the workshop together with CarrieLynn Reinhard, who is a postdoc from Roskilde University and the Virtual Worlds project. We were both in Singapore in June, where we met up with some interesting people from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore to talk about their interest in educational virtual worlds. CarrieLynn has been writing about the meeting and the launch of the Singapore 2010 Odyssey here.

Ideas/constructions of augmenting/augmentation are very interesting to me. Augmenting/augmentation comes in many forms and arguments (e.g. better education, more real experiences, more fun, greater motivation, immersive learning), and these have been known to lie at the heart of much digital (serious) games and virtual worlds research and development. 

One thing is the imagined/envisioned roles of virtual worlds/VLE in education as providers of ‘better alternatives’ . But how are educational augmentations actually enacted with virtual worlds? 

I will be talking about educational virtual worlds and the promises and practices of augmentation.

With an outset in actual (empirical) cases, I want to discuss/open up the diversity of what lies in augmented reality experiences. Taking point of departure in different (e.g. Singaporean) enactments of educational virtual worlds I turn to concrete examples of how one educational game / virtual world (Mingoville.com) is developed, marketed and engaged with the ambition of providing better/augmenting opportunities to learn English for people (children) all over the world. 

Of course, when I refer to augmented here it is not in the same sense as for example Gunnar Liestol (one of the other presenters).