Virtual worlds are places where humans interact, and as such they can be environments for research and learning. However, they are complex and mutable in ways that more controlled and traditional environments are not. Although computer-mediated, virtual worlds are multifaceted social systems like the offline world, and choosing to study virtual world phenomena demands as much consideration for the participants, the environment and the researcher as offline.
By exploring virtual worlds as places of research and learning, the international practitioners in this book demonstrate the power of these worlds to replicate and extend our arenas of research and learning. They focus on process and outcomes and consider questions that arise from engaging in teaching and research in these spaces, including new approaches to research ethics, internationalization, localization, and collaboration in virtual worlds.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Learning, Media & Technology.
1. Learning and researching in virtual worlds Jeremy Hunsinger and Aleks Krotoski 2. Immersed in Learning: supporting creative practice in virtual worlds Denise Doyle 3. Design of learning spaces in 3D virtual worlds: an empirical investigation of 'Second Life' Shailey Minocha and Ahmad John Reeves 4. Social virtual worlds for technology-enhanced learning on an augmented learning platform Li Jin, Zhigang Wen and Norman Gough 5. How to enable knowledge exchange in Second Life in design education? Aukje Thomassen and Pete Rive 6. ‘Elven Elder LVL59 LFP/RB. Please PM me’: immersion, collaborative tasks and problem-solving in massively multiplayer online games Iro Voulgari and Vassilis Komis 7. Serious playground: using Second Life to engage high school students in urban planning Kerry Mallan, Marcus Foth, Ruth Greenaway and Greg T. Young 8. The city at play: Second Life and the virtual urban planning studio David Thomas and Justin B. Hollander 9. The potential for scientific collaboration in virtual ecosystems Brian Magerko 10. On being bored and lost (in virtuality) Kristen Moore and Ehren Helmut Pflugfelder