Aview - Video Conferencing Tool

3D Virtual Worlds in Higher Education 17 April, 2013

Dr. R. C. Sharma

Dr. R. C. Sharma, Regional Director, IGNOU led the weekly discussion on 17th April 2013 with his talk on “3D Virtual Worlds in Higher Education”.

Evolution of Teaching

Teaching in the early human years used to be completely verbal in nature. It went on to become written down and with printed press, massive scale propagation of information was made possible. Man started seeing more possibilities of teaching with the invention of voice recording and it was revolutionized by the invention of radio. Television took radio technology to the next level and internet made the world into a global village. The present day has seen the evolution of internet technologies into mobile technology. 3D objects are the next wave of educational technology, as 2D is more linear in nature and 3D objects serve to be contextual in its makeup.

NMC Report

New Media Consortium comes out with regular reports on state of higher education in the world. Experts in Educational Technology at NMC take consensus on what is influential in technology in the world and club innovations into three main categories

  • In one year or less
  • In Two to Three Years
  • In Four to Five Years

In less than a year, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) like edX, Coursera, Udacity etc. and Tablet Computing will have a major effect on Educational Technology.

In two to three years, Big Data and Learning Analytics where one look at the data on education such as admissions, administration, examinations, students’ outcomes, learning objectives etc. will have a great influence . Also, Game Based Learning will be huge in this time period. In Game Based Learning, goal oriented or social components in learning will have a great impact.

In four to five years, 3D Printing and Wearable Technology (like Google Glasses) would have a considerable impact on Educational Technology.

Virtual Worlds

Dr. Sharma gave an extensive demo of Second Life, a Virtual World developed in 2003. Second Life has real places and destinations such as in real life. Avtars can enroll in universities or involve in financial transactions with game currency. Such Virtual Worlds have a great influence in Teaching and Education, if used effectively.

Such Virtual Worlds can be of great use in imparting skill based learning at Vocational Education centers. Currently, a lot of universities worldwide are on second life or similar virtual worlds.