Growing the use of Virtual Worlds in education: an OpenSim perspective

Colin Allison, Anne Campbell, Christopher John Davies, Lisa Dow, Sarah Kennedy, John Philip McCaffery, Alan Henry David Miller, Iain Angus Oliver, Galhenage Indika Udaya Shantha Perera

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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The growth in the range of disciplines that Virtual Worlds support for educational purposes is evidenced by recent applications in the fields of cultural heritage, humanitarian aid, space exploration, virtual laboratories in the physical sciences, archaeology, computer science and coastal geography. This growth is due in part to the flexibility of OpenSim, the open source virtual world platform which by adopting Second Life protocols and norms has created a de facto standard for open virtual worlds that is supported by a growing number of third party open source viewers. Yet while this diversity of use-cases is impressive and Virtual Worlds for open learning are highly popular with lecturers and learners alike immersive education remains an essentially niche activity. This paper identifies functional challenges in terms of Management, Network Infrastructure, the Immersive 3D Web and Programmability that must be addressed to enable the wider adoption of Open Virtual Worlds as a routine learning technology platform. We refer to specific use-cases based on OpenSim and abstract generic requirements which should be met to enable the growth in use of Open Virtual Worlds as a mainstream educational facility. A case study of a deployment to support a formal education curriculum and associated informal learning is used to illustrate key points.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2nd European Immersive Education Summit
Subtitle of host publicationEiED 2012
EditorsMichael Gardner, Francois Garnier, Carlos Delgado Kloos
Place of PublicationMadrid, Spain
PublisherUniversidad Carlos III de Madrid, Departamento de Ingeniería Telemática
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)84-695-6427-7, 978-84-695-6427-1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2012
Event2nd European Immersive Education Summit - Paris, France
Duration: 26 Nov 201227 Nov 2012

Publication series

ISSN (Print)2325-5048


Conference2nd European Immersive Education Summit


  • Virtual Worlds
  • Education
  • Open Simulator
  • XMRM
  • MUVE


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