Virtual World Watch (VWW) was a project and service which operated from 2007 to 2012, by myself with support from the Eduserv Foundation. The main purpose of VWW was to find academics in the UK who were using virtual worlds, and to find out if, how and why their use of such technology worked or failed. Many UK academics provided data (informal and formal) over the five year arc of the project.
For the first few years VWW was funded – either as a growing compilation of reports, or as a more holistic information service – by the Eduserv Foundation. After formal funding concluded, the service produced a few more reports (making 13 in total) plus a few other publications. I also presented at academic events and various online events (example), and contributed to media articles (example).
These were ten survey-based reports, to gain some kind of ‘snapshot’ of virtual world use in UK Higher and Further Education for that time.
The project also produced three non-snapshot reports.
|1||2008||“Measuring” the Impact of Second Life for Educational Purposes.|
|2||2009||Choosing virtual worlds for use in teaching and learning in UK higher education.|
|3||2010||Zen and the Art of Avatar Maintenance.|
Data, observations and trends were presented at various academic events around the UK and online. There is some duplication of content across the slidedecks.
|#||Date||Presentation title and event|
|1||2008||From snapshots to Virtual World Watch. An early summary of the move from stand-alone snapshot reports to a more integrated Virtual World Watch service.|
|2||2008||Virtual World Watch – summary of Second Life Snapshots. A summary of findings so far, for the Eduserv Foundation (the funders of Virtual World Watch).|
|3||2009||CETIS/Eduserv Foundation workshop. A Virtual World Watch presentation to the JISC CETIS/Eduserv Foundation workshop in Glasgow.|
|4||2009||Surveying Virtual World use in UK Higher and Further Education. A presentation for the Jisc RSC West Midlands “Virtual Worlds in Education Forum”, in Wolverhampton.|
|5||2009||Virtual Worlds: their use in UK learning and teaching. A presentation at the JISC RSC Eastern Regional Conference “The Reality of Virtual Worlds”, held in Cambridge.|
|6||2009||Virtual World Watch: past, present and future. A summary of Virtual World Watch activities, midway through the first year of funded service activity.|
|7||2009||Learning through falling: Second Life in UK academia. The keynote presentation of the JISC RSC Northern conference on virtual worlds in education.|
|8||2009||Choosing the best virtual world for your teaching needs. A Virtual World Watch presentation for the JISC Innovating e-Learning 2009 Online Conference.|
|9||2009||Surveying Virtual World use in UK universities and colleges. A presentation at the National Workshop on Teaching in Immersive Worlds in the University of Ulster.|
|10||2010||Learning using Virtual Worlds. A presentation at the “Where next for virtual worlds in UK higher and further education?” event, London Knowledge Lab, London.|
|11||2010||Virtual Worlds in Education … why? A presentation to the Information Studies department in the University of Sheffield.|
|12||2010||Virtual Worlds and the (real) West Midlands. A presentation to the JISC West Midlands Virtual Worlds in Education Forum, City College Birmingham, Tyseley.|
|13||2010||Virtual Worlds. What is the point? A presentation to the Learning Innovation Research Group at Coventry University.|
|14||2010||Don’t look back in anger… A presentation at the “Big Issues in Immersive Virtual Worlds” conference at Coventry University.|
Several publications were written during, or as part of, the project. These included:
|1||2007||The Second Life of UK Academics, in Ariadne.|
|2||2008||Second Life in higher education, medicine and health, in He@lth Information on the Internet.|
|3||2010||UK university and college technical support for Second Life developers and users, in Educational Research, Volume 52, 2010 – Issue 2: Virtual Worlds and Education.|
During 2009, I ran a weekly podcast which featured a UK academic busy with virtual world development, use or research. Seven of these podcasts are back online, all hosted in a Soundcloud channel; the sound quality is variable.
|1||March 9th||Simon Bignell describes his Second Life activities at the University of Derby.|
|2||March 16th||Sheila Webber describes some of the information science-oriented work she has been doing in Second Life.|
|3||March 30th||Mark Childs tells us about the Theatron project, and some of the issues hes had with teaching using Second Life.|
|4||April 20th||Anna Peachey talks about some of the Second Life activities she has been involved with at the Open University.|
|5||May 10th||Andy Powell was the Head of Development of the Eduserv Research Programme, formerly the Eduserv Foundation. The Foundation funded a number of Second Life and Virtual World research and development projects, as well as Virtual World Watch, an island and several events.|
|6||May 18th||Annabeth Robinson describes how she got into Second Life, her art developments within, and her experimentation and educational work with other virtual worlds.|
|7||May 25th||Anne Cunningham talks about how she got Second Life, and some of the work she is doing with this particular virtual world.|
Photographs and screenshots
On Flickr there are four albums of screenshots from attending events in Second Life and exploring academic “islands”, an album of informal photos from academic conferences I’ve spoken at, and an album of random virtual world screenshots.
|1||2007||Eduserv Foundation Symposium 2007. Some pictures from the Eduserv Foundation Symposium, held in London and in several virtual arenas in Second Life.|
|2||2008||Screenshots of UK Higher and Further Education institutions (universities and colleges), and the academics within, who have developed a presence or resource in Second Life.|
|3||2008||Zooming in and out of locations in Second Life to take a wider look at the environment.|
|4||2008||What not to Rez. A few screenshots from an event held by the Jisc Emerge project, in Second Life, in April 2008.|
|5||2009-2010||Travelling to, eating and speaking at several academic conferences across the UK, on aspects of virtual worlds.|
|6||2007-2009||A few random screenshots from exploration of different virtual worlds.|