Back from leave I’ve been reflecting on Multi User Virtual Environments (MUVE) and their adoption as ‘mainstream’ educational technology, this was prompted in a large part by the book chapter for “Living Virtually” I have just completed with US academic Sarah Robbins , feedback on my personal activities and preparation for the forthcoming CETIS/Eduserve event at the IOE (link to the event)
I’m quite a fan of the Gartner Hype curve in considering the application of new technology..
(Link to Gartner Hype curve)
As far as MUVE are concerned (educational)interest seems to be primarily focussed around the use of Second Life arguably this is because Second Life does provide a fairly low entry point into examining the educational potential of MUVE it has a very established and active community of practice as in the Second Life Educators community (Sled) with support both accessible and available. It is my belief that despite some interesting projects that we (As in the broad educational community)are firmly entrenched in “The Trough of Disillusionment” having travelled through the “hype of over inflated expectation “the cynics arguing, with some justification ,that Second Life is a solution searching for a problem. This journey is not unique it is journey typical of most new technology. We have yet to reach the “plateau of productivity”
Sarah Robbins concedes that what platform technology emerges at the end of the journey may indeed not be Second Life , there are a number of alternatives emerging most of which require more developed technical skills than Second Life, in addition to Multiverse, Croquet et al I’ve just looked at Opensim, an open source project.
We are just at the beginning of this journey and whilst criticism and discussion are essential I’m concerned that the use of MUVE may be deposited in the “dustbin of good ideas that didn’t work in education” without fully exploring the potential.
As far as JISC CETIS is concerned we are agnostic and we will continue to provide a platform where “educational technology” can be openly discussed, criticised and the event on the 20th September will allow us to do that whilst exposed to the four Eduserve projects