Festive reading: Two virtual world reports

Some festive reading for folks not suffering under the weight of recently released books on education in virtual worlds.

First up, Virtual World Watch released the 7th in the series of reports surveying use of virtual worlds in UK further and higher education – get it here. The other report is the SLOODLE project’s final report to Eduserv. No, SLOODLE isn’t ‘finished’, the project is continuing – although the pace of development may be slower until additional funding is secured.

More on the report here, on the SLOODLE blog.

The VirtualWorldWatch reports are also Eduserv funded – and will happily continue for a while yet. John Kirriemuir has done a good job reading through a large number of responses, seeking out commanalities and identifying current issues. From the summary on the VWW blog of the latest instalment:

Overall, the picture is one of more virtual world activity in UK academia than in previous years.

While cases of virtual world use in academia have steadily risen, evaluations and evidence of their effectiveness has been fragmented and low-key. Though the same observation could be leveled at many other technologies – take a bow, Virtual Learning Environments – used in education.Many academics – possibly a significant majority – are still wary, sceptical or openly hostile to virtual world use in education. More visible proof of where it works may swing the more open-minded of them. With the mass of teaching and research activity currently under way in higher education, it’s only reasonable to hope for more (and better) evaluations, and clarity concerning where virtual worlds can be put to good use and where not. For proof, evidence, data and convincing arguments, 2009 to 2010 feels like the year of virtual world expectation.

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