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Building an ecological knowledge of virtual worlds  [PDF]
Pierre-Olivier Montiglio,Julien Céré
PeerJ , 2015, DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.473v1
Abstract: Virtual worlds supporting massively multiplayer games have become so complex that they exhibit temporal and spatial dynamics mostly driven by interactions between players. In this respect, virtual worlds resemble closely natural ecosystems. Studying the ecology of virtual worlds is an outstanding opportunity for ecologists as well as the game industry to collaborate in order to test several aspects of ecological theory difficult to study in nature, and build manageable, resilient virtual worlds.
3D Interactions between Virtual Worlds and Real Life in an E-Learning Community  [PDF]
Ulrike Lucke,Raphael Zender
Advances in Human-Computer Interaction , 2011, DOI: 10.1155/2011/684202
Abstract: Virtual worlds became an appealing and fascinating component of today's internet. In particular, the number of educational providers that see a potential for E-Learning in such new platforms increases. Unfortunately, most of the environments and processes implemented up to now do not exceed a virtual modelling of real-world scenarios. In particular, this paper shows that Second Life can be more than just another learning platform. A flexible and bidirectional link between the reality and the virtual world enables synchronous and seamless interaction between users and devices across both worlds. The primary advantages of this interconnection are a spatial extension of face-to-face and online learning scenarios and a closer relationship between virtual learners and the real world. 1. Introduction Interactivity is closely related to aspects of networking and interdisciplinary development, bringing together researchers from engineering, computer science, media art and design, and social sciences. Here, the importance of computer science needs to be emphasized along with the growing immersion of digital systems in our daily life: dealing with computers can be seen as a new cultural technique besides reading, writing, and calculating [1, 2]. There is a strong mutual penetration of the digital and physical world, leading to phenomena like virtual reality (computers mirroring the real world) or augmented reality (real-world objects enriched with digital information). For several years, virtual 3D worlds gained significant public attention. The most recent and most famous of these worlds is Second Life, but several text- or graphic-based environments in the web existed before. As first euphoria and commercial initiatives calm down [3], the scientific interest in media and information theory is raising (e.g., for educational applications [4, 5] and for the problem of multiple identities [6]). From a cultural or psychological perspective, virtual 3D worlds allow to study human behaviour in a decoupled, reversible way—like mirroring the reality, including other people’s intimate thoughts, by interacting through a the 3D interface [7]. In this way, there is a significant change in that virtual items with an artificial, digital environment become more and more reality [8]. This opens a new perspective to the pervasiveness of human-computer interfaces: It does not matter where, how, and what type of interface the user is interacting with; his intuitive movement (input like turning around, entering an area, or touching the screen) is immediately followed by a reaction
Virtual Laboratories and Virtual Worlds  [PDF]
Piet Hut
Physics , 2007, DOI: 10.1017/S1743921308016153
Abstract: Since we cannot put stars in a laboratory, astrophysicists had to wait till the invention of computers before becoming laboratory scientists. For half a century now, we have been conducting experiments in our virtual laboratories. However, we ourselves have remained behind the keyboard, with the screen of the monitor separating us from the world we are simulating. Recently, 3D on-line technology, developed first for games but now deployed in virtual worlds like Second Life, is beginning to make it possible for astrophysicists to enter their virtual labs themselves, in virtual form as avatars. This has several advantages, from new possibilities to explore the results of the simulations to a shared presence in a virtual lab with remote collaborators on different continents. I will report my experiences with the use of Qwaq Forums, a virtual world developed by a new company (see http://www.qwaq.com)
Corporate Training in Virtual Worlds
Charles Nebolsky,Nicholas K. Yee,Valery A. Petrushin,Anatole V. Gershman
Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics , 2004,
Abstract: This paper presents virtual training worlds that are relatively low-cost distributed collaborative learning environments suitable for corporate training. A virtual training world allows a facilitator, experts and trainees communicating and acting in the virtual environment for practicing skills during collaborative problem solving. Using these environments is beneficial to both trainees and corporations. Two system prototypes – the sales training and the leadership training virtual worlds – are described. The leadership training course design is discussed in details.
Virtual Worlds for Student Engagement  [PDF]
Atul Sajjanhar
Creative Education (CE) , 2012, DOI: 10.4236/ce.2012.326118
Abstract: In this paper, we study the scope of virtual worlds for student engagement in higher education. The motivation for the study is the gap in opportunities for interactivity that exist for off-campus students compared with on-campus students. A student taking a course at a university, while located in a different geographic location, has limited opportunity for student-student and student-teacher interaction; this effects student engagement significantly. We conduct a feasibility analysis for engaging students in a virtual world; Second Life is used as the test-bed to create the virtual world environment. We present preliminary findings, the promises and the limitations of Second Life as an immersive environment for engaging students.
Objects, Worlds, and Students: Virtual Interaction in Education  [PDF]
Athanasios Christopoulos,Marc Conrad,Mitul Shukla
Education Research International , 2014, DOI: 10.1155/2014/318317
Abstract: The main aim of this study is to form a complete taxonomy of the types of interactions that relate to the use of a virtual world for engaging learning experiences, when blended and hybrid learning methods are to be used. In order to investigate this topic more accurately and effectively, we distinguish four dimensions of interactions based on the context in which these occur, and the involved parts: in-world and in-class, user-to-user and user-to-world interactions. In order to conduct investigation into this topic and form a view of the interactions as clear as possible, we observed a cohort of 15 undergraduate Computer Science students while using an OpenSim-based institutionally hosted virtual world. Moreover, we ran a survey where 50 students were asked to indicate their opinion and feelings about their in-world experience. The results of our study highlight that educators and instructors need to plan their in-world learning activities very carefully and with a focus on interactions if engaging activities are what they want to offer their students. Additionally, it seems that student interactions with the content of the virtual world and the in-class student-to-student interactions, have stronger impact on students’ engagement when hybrid methods are used. 1. Introduction Over the past few decades, technology has proven to be a useful tool in educators’ hands and, thus, has attracted researchers’ interest. Technology relates to education in four different ways, that is, technology as a topic (“learning about technology”), technology as a delivery mechanism (“learning from technology”), technology as a tool (“learning with technology”), and technology as the context in which learning takes place (“learning in technology”) [1]. Virtual reality and virtual worlds, which were first introduced to the public in 1980s and have continued to emerge ever since [2], are the cornerstones of “learning in technology” [1]. In the literature [2, 3], virtual worlds are defined as 2D or 3D computer generated environments that either depict parts of the physical world or imaginary sceneries. In these worlds, users are able to perform a wide range of interactions with the content of the world and other users [4], such as object creation [5, 6] and manipulation [6, 7], terrain editing [5], and navigating around the world [2, 5, 6, 8, 9], as well as chatting synchronously or asynchronously, either verbally via voice or written chat or nonverbally using avatar gestures and other forms of in-world visual interactions [6–10]. These kinds of interactions are performed
Policy and Legal Challenges of Virtual Worlds and Social Network Sites  [PDF]
Holger M. Kienle,Andreas Lober,Hausi A. Müller
Computer Science , 2008,
Abstract: This paper addresses policy challenges of complex virtual environments such as virtual worlds, social network sites, and massive multiplayer online games. The complexity of these environments--apparent by the rich user interactions and sophisticated user-generated content that they offer--poses unique challenges for policy management and compliance. These challenges are also impacting the life cycle of the software system that implements the virtual environment. The goal of this paper is to identify and sketch important legal and policy challenges of virtual environments and how they affect stakeholders (i.e., operators, users, and lawmakers). Given the increasing significance of virtual environments, we expect that tackling these challenges will become increasingly important in the future.
Virtual worlds, fiction, and reality
Niiniluoto,Ilkka Maunu;
Discusiones Filosóficas , 2011,
Abstract: my aim in this paper is to raise and discuss some philosophical questions about virtual reality (vr). the most fundamental problem concerns the ontological nature of vr: is it real or fictional? is vr comparable to illusions, hallucinations, dreams, or worlds of fiction? are traditional philosophical categories at all sufficient to give us understanding of the phenomenon of vr? in approaching these questions, i shall employ possible world semantics and logical theories of perception and imagination as my philosophical tools. my main conclusion is that vr is comparable to a 3-d picture which can be seen from the inside.
Learning and teaching in Immersive Virtual Worlds  [cached]
Frances Bell,Maggi Savin-Baden,Robert Ward
Research in Learning Technology , 2008, DOI: 10.3402/rlt.v16i3.10892
Abstract: This special issue comprises a number of exciting initiatives and developments that begin to put issues of learning in immersive virtual worlds centre stage. Although learning through specific types of serious games has been popular for some years, the pedagogical value of immersive worlds is currently not only inchoate but also under-researched. Whilst several of the articles here are not based on empirical research, what they do offer is new ways of considering the pedagogical purposes of using these kinds of digital spaces. The difficulty with the perception of immersive virtual worlds is that there is often a sense that they are seen as being dislocated from physical spaces, and yet they are not. Web spaces are largely viewed as necessarily freer locations where there is a sense that it is both possible and desirable to ‘do things differently'.
Relativistic virtual worlds: an emerging framework  [PDF]
Bradly Alicea
Computer Science , 2011,
Abstract: In this paper, I will attempt to establish a framework for representation in virtual worlds that may allow for input data from many different scales and virtual physics to be merged. For example, a typical virtual environment must effectively handle user input, sensor data, and virtual world physics all in real- time. Merging all of these data into a single interactive system requires that we adapt approaches from topological methods such as n-dimensional relativistic representation. A number of hypothetical examples will be provided throughout the paper to clarify technical challenges that need to be overcome to realize this vision. The long-term goal of this work is that truly invariant representations will ultimately result from establishing formal, inclusive relationships between these different domains. Using this framework, incomplete information in one or more domains can be compensated for by parallelism and mappings within the virtual world representation. To introduce this approach, I will review recent developments in embodiment, virtual world technology, and neuroscience relevant to the control of virtual worlds. The next step will be to borrow ideas from fields such as brain science, applied mathematics, and cosmology to give proper perspective to this approach. A simple demonstration will then be given using an intuitive example of physical relativism. Finally, future directions for the application of this method will be considered.
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