Nov. 11 2010: A View from the UK. Special Guest John Kirriemuir (SL: Silversprite Helsinki) of Virtual World Watch

November 11th, 2010 | Posted by iggy in Transcripts

VVWER 11/14/10

Transcript of the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable Nov. 11 2010

Topic: A View from the UK with Special Guest John Kirriemuir (SL: Silversprite Helsinki) of Virtual World Watch

photos by Sheila, Olivia, & Iggy; please Join our VWER group at Flickr and add your own pictures!

Kali Pizzaro: Hi everyone, and welcome to a Special Meeting of the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable. Our meetings are made possible by the Office of Information Technology at Montclair State University.

Kali Pizzaro: The Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable is a forum to educate and inform the community about issues that are important and relevant to education.

Kali Pizzaro: The views and opinions of any of our special guests or visitors do not necessarily represent those who volunteer or organize these meetings, or of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Office of Information Technology , or Montclair State University

Kali Pizzaro: This is a public meeting, so we do keep and publish a transcript of what is said in local chat.

Kali Pizzaro: If you’ve not seen the transcripts, you should check them out – they are a great information asset. The transcripts can be found at our NEW web presence – – and select the TRANSCRIPTS tab at the top.

Kali Pizzaro: We are very excited about our new site so please do go check it out at

Kali Pizzaro: We will have regular columns, with Iggy and Kali (me) as well as a special column called The Super Set. Please join the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable group here in SL. You can also find us on Facebook and Flickr by our full name and Twitter @VWER.

Kali Pizzaro: This weeks meetings is a Special one-on-one voice interview with John Kirriemuir SL:Silversprite Helsinki of Virtual World Watch. Only John and I will be using voice so please turn off your mic.

Kali Pizzaro: There will be a transcriber, our own Iggy so you may see a paraphrase of what we are discussing typed into the local chat. Please use Google Moderator to

Kali Pizzaro: to post and vote for any questions you would like me to ask John towards the end of the Meeting. So lets get started.

Kali Pizzaro:

Kali Pizzaro:

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: could you tell us about your work in the past 3-4 years?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: With a few colleagues were noticing

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: that folks in the UK were using VWs but we could not decide if

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: it was random work, or something different

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: We found that after taking the initial report

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: we could use it as leverage with institutions

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: every 6 months, I badger UK academics

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: and we run the results on the Web site

Kali Pizzaro: So John you say you started to collate this data in 2007, what kind of projects where on the go at that time?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: thanks Kali!

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: at that time we reckoned that about 7 schools had used VWs

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: later, we found 42.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Not always at a university level, but it might be a lone academic, even working from home b/c of access problems

Kali Pizzaro: How do you think the reported projects have changed?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: We’ve noticed a big change over the years

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: at first, they build replicas of university buildings in SL

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: a minority was for teaching, others for PR purposes such as showing new students

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: some were merely to test building in SL

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: academics began to use them for meetings and to hold conference with distance or PhD students

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: it’s been gradual but steady, though not spectacular, growth

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: I don’t care for lonely SL buildings

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: It’s interesting that the “lonely building” meme is mentioned at meetings from anti-VW folks

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: outside his real life window now, it’s 1041pm and the grounds are empty

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: so use is more than constant occupancy

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: good point especially with so many time zones represented

Kali Pizzaro: Do you have an idea how these projects were funded?

Institutional, research funding or did they have funding from another source?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: the most frequent Q over past 3 years from academics is

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: “where do I get funding for this?”

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: lots of academics put in tons of voluntary labor

Ignatius Onomatopoeia nods

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: funding tends to be central…departmental level.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: a few funding bodies exist however. This is changing now.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Some projects get European funding…mostly research projects.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Local council funding to a small degree, but that is getting harder w/ the economy

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Business investment is not a factor

Zotarah Shepherd: I have grant envy. hehe

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Coventry got 600,000 pounds for a three-year project

VWER audience 11 November

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: such funding is unusual in the UK

Kali Pizzaro: Have you seen a particular type of projects? What are folk doing?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: the most significant subject area is health, medicine, bio-sciences, even areas like midwifery are getting support

Claudia13 Rossini: laughs

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: including very realistic training in virtual environments

Profdan Netizen: lol, I like gruesome.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: that’s a humanities faculty response for you, Dan 🙂

Profdan Netizen: lol

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: surprised that some of the languages are using SL too

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: other main science

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: some aspects of physics

G2 Proto: we have a system that listens to vivox voice, rates how well you spoke chinese then causes inworld events to happen like a door to open etc

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: also environmental sciences with projects such as virtual wind turbines to test efficiency of the design

G2 Proto: if you spoke it properly

Kali Pizzaro: who is here

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: information literacy, such as Sheila of VWER at Sheffield

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: at Liverpool, they are building molecular structures

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: models of viruses & bacteria

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: these projects get mentioned regularly. New ones coming on line?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: Core of 30-40 using mostly SL for two or more years

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: this is significant b/c they got through the first year

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: several unis have been doing this

Profdan Netizen: FYI, 32 on sim.

Sheila Yoshikawa: lol

Sheila Yoshikawa: flower children, us

Graham Mills: 🙂

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: these are our “old timers” who have been in since the days before the economy got rotten

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: They tend to stay

Kali Pizzaro: Are all the projects from Higher education?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: Good news b/c is shows sustainability

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: big help too–I have one of those viruses IRL@

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: we have undergrads, doing degrees, grad students, and further education

Zotarah Shepherd: Wow

Kali Pizzaro: interesting

Profdan Netizen: remarkable

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: every single uni in the UK has used a VW in some manner

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John refers to the Further Ed colleges here

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: some faculty don’t want to put their head above the parapet 🙂

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: they cannot be mentioned in the report b/c of local situations on campus

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: about 30 regions in the west midlands…all of the FE schools do something

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: but the usage varies widely

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: still problems of access at some schools.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: At Lest, for instance, access can depend on location w/in the uni

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: at FE colleges the situation for access is worse

Grizzla Pixelmaid: sorry what is FE?

Kali Pizzaro: further education

Kali Pizzaro: we can stop school

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: at FE schools, you can begin at 17–were they using Teen SL?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: most using main grid

Profdan Netizen: We have students as young as 14 attending CC classes.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: it’s common to begin vocational ed at 16 or so

Kali Pizzaro: What are the common challenges people reports in their use of VWs?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: #1 time to do things, #2 funding, #3 technical issues

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: technical issues used to be #1

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: #4 is choosing the grid and making it work as you herd cats (students) to use it

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Many academics unsure if they want to put lots of effort into one VW…there’s an uncertainty

Kali Pizzaro: Compared to 2007, have you seen a drop or an increase in reported projects?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: increase in reporting since 07

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: definitely an increase in activities related to teaching & learning

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Also there seems to be less of a stigma associated with using VWs

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: in 07 idea was that VWs were sex, etc.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: that argument diminished now. Now it’s more about funding.

Claudia13 Rossini: sex sells…at least in the news

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: the meme about sex continues in lists, media.

Kali Pizzaro: 😉

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: Media in UK is ferocious

Silversprite Helsinki interviewed at VWER

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: now the tabloids are writing a lot about tech., but it’s Facebook, not VWs

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: the media have moved on

Claudia13 Rossini: lol

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Facebook perceived as “the big danger” corrupting society

Josain Zsun: mySpace probably worse.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: (only if my high school buddies find me)

Kali Pizzaro: Have you seen any use of VWs in assessment

Claudia13 Rossini: in my day it was the Beatles corrupting the youth

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: there’s a three-year PhD cycle

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: and quite a few places w/ researchers of VWs

Pathfinder Lester: Claudia13, don’t forget comic books. tools of the devil.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: hah…was Black Sabbath for me 🙂

Grizzla Pixelmaid: and pool tables

Zotarah Shepherd: And rock and roll too.

Claudia13 Rossini: grins at Pathfinder…rock & roll…terrible

Kali Pizzaro: Presence

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: We’ll see more rigorous data in a year or two, as these researchers publish

Birdie Newcomb: sci fi

Claudia13 Rossini: lol

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: at start of project, nearly 100% SL

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: now its still about 90%

Kali Pizzaro: Is SL still the main VWs

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: but OpenSim is growing and there are evangelists for these grids

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: word “challenger” is not the best one

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: “alternative” better

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: on list today, there was a discussion of a UK grid in OpenSim

Kali Pizzaro: In england but it’s coming to Scotland

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: with Cameron government, now higher edu is privatized

Kali Pizzaro: we don’t pay any fess for those that don’t know

Kali Pizzaro: in Scotland

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: and funding pulled from humanities (as usual, I add)

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: the other factor is the LL price-hike

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: this is spurring more discussion of OpenSim, which have been more a few loners

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: other VWs come and go. Someone does try them and test the concept.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Blue Mars, John?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: looks good but won’t run on uni PC labs.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: some machines are from 2003-2004

Birdie Newcomb: or Macs

G2 Proto: we have a unity3d based virtual world kit, it runs in browser, on adroid, iphone, desktop and game consoles-you can get the free editor and make things fairly easily

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: @Birdie…cloud client coming for Blue Mars soon, Macs, iPads, iPhones

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: Hypergrdding will be a useful tool for us in the future, to connect our work

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: what do you do to get good data collected?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: I’ve made many mistakes at first

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: in 2007, there was research fatigue…many academics defensive b/c there were folks ready to jump on anyone using SL

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: since so much is voluntary labor, participants hope now to gain something in return

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: the lesson is to be nice to folks

Kali Pizzaro: How much of the usage of VWs in the UK is with distant ed students?

VVWER 11/14/10

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: Q from Profdan

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: a good question!

Kali Pizzaro: IM me questions

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: we have the Open University and tens of thousands are distance students

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: they never meet except for summer school–2 weeks

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: no accident that Open Uni is doing more than others with VWs

Pathfinder Lester is an interesting one, yes I am.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: some schools doing more than others

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: one factor growing this is lower costs than face-to-face contact

Silversprite Helsinki: Yes.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: folks are using BlackBoard and other tools to accomplish tasks

Kali Pizzaro: any questions for John folks fell free

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: Edinburgh has had graduations in SL in kilts!

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: we do not all walk about in Kilts

Silversprite Helsinki: Anyone still awake? 🙂

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: and Southerners do not all drive pickups (but we wish we did)

Claudia13 Rossini: yes. very!

Seraphina Writer: yep 🙂

Graham Mills: 🙂

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: at the risk of making more typing for me

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: I have a Q

Zotarah Shepherd: It is hard to find degree programs that feature VWs when they are hidden.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John, what do you see as the newest challenge over the next few years?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: we are still trying to sort out the changes politically with the edu system and funding

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: I’m more optimistic than many colleagues.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: I’ve attended meetings at the junior ministry level

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: they are keen on technology, though often for cost-cutting reasons

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: often for video conf. applications

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: and Skype

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: folks might consider VWs a “step too far” so one must be cautious

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: More proof could be a new challenge

Zotarah Shepherd: Until people experience a VW it is hard to imagine how it is effective in education.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: but it’s de facto impossible to “prove” effectiveness

Claudia13 Rossini: funny, since we don’t require ‘proof’ that Word, Excel, the internet and PC’s are valuable these days

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: new research will help convince others of utility of VWs

arabella Ella: legitimacy more than utility i guess

Profdan Netizen: Any proof f2f classrooms are effective in education?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: good points…no one had to prove anything for these apps

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: we get asked more Qs about VWs

Zotarah Shepherd: hehe Profdan good point

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: yet we have pressure on educators to use IT more

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: what is the biggest reason that educators cannot recruit peers?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: Mark Childs has done good research on this.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: students often actively resist SL

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: many reasons apparently

Kali Pizzaro:

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: LOL

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: sounds like an emerging challenge to me, John

Claudia13 Rossini: I see resistance in teachers….’it’s too complex’…but these same teachers are learning Blackboard without complaining

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: right now, academics overloaded, worried about job security

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: hard to blame them. Not a good time to be working in a UK school.

Silversprite Helsinki: if anything comes to mind afterwards

Betz Darwinian: there was some talk of UK higher ed not funding the humanities. is this being considered

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: end of semester burn out 🙂

Profdan Netizen: Claudia, you don’t have to be immersed in BB to use it, you can use bits without much trouble.

Profdan Netizen: SL is much more all or nothing.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: to clarify about humanities

Grinn Pidgeon: are there good things being done in assessment fo VW projects? sorry if I missed you already saying that.

Betz Darwinian: ouch!

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: funding for teachers in the humanities to be cut, so tuition will treble from 3K to 9K pounds annually

Zotarah Shepherd: I heard about the protest students staged about the higher tuitiuon.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: funding in sci, engineering, etc, intact

Profdan Netizen: Ooh, that’s really ugly.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: leads to market-based system with humanities funded by tuition

Claudia13 Rossini: i don’t agree. Profdan….one can pick up simple basics of SL without having to conquer things like scripting, building, animations, et al

Ignatius Onomatopoeia laughs…anything smart is “Socialist” in the US now, John

arabella Ella: only humanities funded by tuition fees?

Profdan Netizen: Not as a teacher leading students, Claudia.

Kali Pizzaro: good point Claudia

Kali Pizzaro: and Dan

Kali Pizzaro: got to learn the tech to use it

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: system has changed over two decades….so much has been lost for students

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: Kali: will be interesting to see if students want more face to face

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: will be interesting to see if more online emerges at lower fees for students

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: thank you both! Worth hearing even with my fever!

Grinn Pidgeon: yes, thank you

Profdan Netizen: Very interesting, thanks.

Pathfinder Lester: thank you very much. great information.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: I’ll tip in links to Mark Childs’ sites

Graham Mills: thx v much — thx to Iggy for the transcript too (voice expired midway)

G2 Proto: great info ty

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: John: Read Pirsig’s Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: and he sees direct parallels to author’s argument and using a VW

Hattie Haystack: thanks Kali!!

Silversprite Helsinki: Thank you for listening to a Englishman rambling on late at night.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: yes…BIG news at

Hattie Haystack: thanks John

Zotarah Shepherd: Thank you for this

Pathfinder Lester: :D:D

Josain Zsun: Thanks for staying up late for us

Pathfinder Lester: take care, folks

Grizzla Pixelmaid: Thanks so much!

Zotarah Shepherd: Yay for Reaction Grid.

Kali Pizzaro: cheers all thanks again John

Ignatius Onomatopoeia: goodnight all–I’m gonna go collapose

Hattie Haystack: oh…and thanks for transcribing Iggy

Seraphina Writer applauds

JeanClaude Vollmar: Thank you!

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can leave a response, or trackback.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *