About me

Throughout my varied careers and experiences is a thread of commonality, the desire to see others achieve their goals. This desire has manifested itself in my pursuit of leadership and teaching opportunities in my careers, personal pursuits, and in volunteer work. Removing barriers such as the limits poverty and distance is a focus of mine as these are personal barriers I have faced. Technology and distance learning as well as virtual employment have been beneficial in this. I myself have achieved my education only do to the availability of distance education. In addition, my virtual employment has overcome the barrier of limited local resources in employment.

Through self-reflection and analysis of my experiences key words that express my personal goals, how I wish to impact others are: to uplift and inspire, broaden horizons, deepen understanding, enlighten, strengthen and support, inform, increase awareness, protect human dignity, share beauty and joy, challenge people to think – to examine their beliefs and the effect these have on themselves and others, and to minister on a spiritual level of truth. This is likely why my future goals fall into a desire to teach and to express myself in creative fields through technology.

SalieDavis
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Digital Ethics in virtual worlds

 

Sharma, S., Lomash, H., & Bawa, S. (2015). Who Regulates Ethics in the Virtual World? Science and Engineering Ethics, (1), 19. https://doi-org.library.esc.edu/10.1007/s11948-014-9516-1

Kitely.com. (2013, August 27). Privacy policy. Retrieved at

https://www.kitely.com/privacy (secure server).

Kitely.com. (2015, June 1). Terms of service. Retrieved at https://www.kitely.com/terms (secure server).

 

 

 

Ethics Statement

Wopoli.com is a public website. For the sake of transparency please be aware that all comments, once accepted are also made public. This site may be viewed by children. All posts will be monitored and content that is not family-friendly will be blocked. No personal information is collected by myself or shared with others unless you or a child of yours is a student I am working with. Please be aware if you choose to sign into WordPress as a registered member, they have their own policies and it is your responsibility to research these policies. Viewing the site does not require a WordPress subscription.

Wopoli.com has been designed as a learning resource environment. When I make available research-based methodology, proper citations will be included. It is my goal to adhere to copyright and attribute material to the original authors. Please respect copyright and attribute any resources you post to the author as well.

I have been teaching for over twenty years as a parent and for private institutions. I am not currently certified in any state as a teacher. I have an associate degree in Creative Marketing and a bachelor’s degree in Media Communications. Many posts were created to fulfill educational requirements for my master’s degree in Learning in Emerging Technologies, and my certificate for Teaching in Emerging Technologies through Empire State College, part of the SUNY network. Much of my work is also based on personal experience and exploration and serves as examples to guide others.

Wopoli.com is an access point for my student(s) and is made public to specifically provide examples and resources for other parents and educators. Wopoli.com has curriculum examples that have self-guided as well as guided activities. The lessons are intended to be adaptable or serve as examples and may not be appropriate for all ages or students. This environment maps out expectations in the formulation of achievable goals and motivational rewards through participation in virtual environments.

It is my goal when using technology as a teaching and learning tool to help students and educators understand how emerging technologies can enrich the learning experience for younger students and help achieve future student success in the real world of higher education, employment, or life goals. It is also essential to educate on the risks and best practices for online safety by exploring and sharing resources. It is also important to educate other adults within my network to the process involved as well as the reasoning behind the methodologies that I am incorporating on this site and companion sites. Please use the resources provided as well as your own inquiries to educate yourself concerning the benefits and risks involved with new technologies, especially when working with children.

Examples of companion sites and resources are included in the site such as YouTube, virtual world viewers, other blog sites and other educational websites. My use and recommendations of these sites are based upon my own research, experience and opinion. Please independently research these sites, their privacy policies and security practices before using them with your students.

My mission statement

SalieDavis

Throughout my varied careers and experiences is a thread of commonality, the desire to see others achieve their goals. This desire has manifested itself in my pursuit of leadership and teaching opportunities in my careers, personal pursuits, and in volunteer work. Removing barriers such as the limits poverty and distance is a focus of mine as these are personal barriers I have faced. Technology and distance learning as well as virtual employment have been beneficial in this. I myself have achieved my education only do to the availability of distance education. In addition, my virtual employment has overcome the barrier of limited local resources in employment.

Through self-reflection and analysis of my experiences key words that express my personal goals, how I wish to impact others are: to uplift and inspire, broaden horizons, deepen understanding, enlighten, strengthen and support, inform, increase awareness, protect human dignity, share beauty and joy, challenge people to think – to examine their beliefs and the effect these have on themselves and others, and to minister on a spiritual level of truth. This is likely why my future goals fall into a desire to teach and to express myself in creative fields through technology.

Choosing a platform for a 3D simulation/ tour of the ability sim.

I have chosen to design a 3D environment using open simulator. The delivery I am using for this is through Kitely.com due to the low cost and easy access. This is a beneficial platform because it allows you to save your work in OAR files, use the OAR on a personal computer through Dreamworld, move it to other platforms, use on pivate servers and even convert to a Unity file. For more information on the Untiy converter you can visit, http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2015/08/30/opensim-oar-convert-to-unity-scene/

3D environments are immersive and interactive. It allows for synchronous or asynchronous learning depending upon the needs of the instructor and ability level of the student. Due to the wide variety of design features, video, audio, text, quiz, and question abilities with scripts, non-player characters and easy adaptability, it is the perfect environment to design an educational simulation that can be quickly changed and modified by other educators. I have Dreamworld on my home computer and can design OARs offline if I choose to or use them in a secure environment offline with students. This is why I have chosen to use this versatile option for 3D curriculum development.

If you have never visited a virtual world, to prepare for multiverse masters, I recommend , http://inspiration-island.com/educational-projects/virtual-world-survival-guide/getting-started-in-virtual-worlds/ and http://inspiration-island.com/educational-projects/virtual-world-survival-guide/ It is a course designed by another virtual world group but useful for beginners. Additional support will be in blogposts and videos onhttps://WoPoLi.com, and https://multiversmasters.blogspot.com Instructions for how to access Multiverse Masters can also be found here, https://sites.google.com/site/virtualresourcesfordevelopers/operation-design/firestorm-quickstart

Below you will find a visual tour of the work in progress.

 

Beckhusen, F. (2018). Dreamworld. Outworldz. Retrieved on Oct 18, 2018, from http://www.outworldz.com/outworldz_installer/

 

simulation 2 001

The entry point to the Island is separate from the simulation, and offers a multiple use area for several educational activities.

simulation 2 002

The Simulation entry point uses information booths and signage to help the student navigate.

simulation 2 003

Note cards deliver important information. Options are offered to the participant(s) to encourage engagement. simulation 2 004

A story line is created to engage the learner.simulation 2 005

Choices are given to allow for immediate feedback on the potential consequences of a participants actions and decisions.

simulation 2 006

Required answers can test the participants understanding.

simulation 2 007simulation 2 008simulation 2 009

Different roles can be assigned for working both individually or as a group.simulation 2 010simulation 2 011

Random statements can be programmed into non-player characters to vary the experience

simulation 2 012

Realistic environments can easily be created at low cost.

simulation 2 013

Each area can interact with the participant through the use of scripting.

simulation 2 014simulation 2 015

These areas will eventually have the question marks to guide tasks and discussions.

simulation 2 016simulation 2 017

By adding non-player Characters, even the individual can get a sense of a full story line in the simulation.

simulation 2 018simulation 2 019simulation 2 020

This is a work in progress.

Multiverse Simulation Masters: Ability Awareness

Multiverse Simulation Masters: Ability Awareness

Salie Davis

Advanced Design Seminar: Portfolio Project (2018FA1-EDET-6030-01)

Dr. Nicola Marae Allain

Empire State College

October 7, 2018

 

Abstract:

Multiverse Simulation Masters: Ability Awareness is a 3D proof of concept curriculum, based in a virtual immersive learning environment. In this interactive simulation, visitors will experience what it is like to have limited mobility, which isn’t usually possible in real world situations. The goal of this simulation is to foster ability awareness and empathy, and contribute to our understanding of how students can be supported in their learning using virtual world technologies (Bakker, 2018). Educators may expand upon the simulation experience by having students record a reaction using screen capture, blog about what they experienced, and react to other participants experiences. A video-based proof of concept introduction for educators will be provided along with the openly accessible simulation.

Introduction:

Multiverse Simulation Masters will consist of 3d simulation and proof of concept curriculum, based in a virtually immersive learning environment. Simulations are intended to help the user experience through immersive technology an event, a place, or a role that they are not able to in a real-world scenario. (Nelson, 2013). It will be designed for secondary and tertiary grades, based on student level and ability. The goal will be to produce a proof of concept simulation using 3d technology that can be shared with the educational community.

In virtual worlds, as an avatar, people can explore different environments and roles. This is used in the virtual worlds to play games, where it is common for characters to become fantasy figures and creatures (Nelson, 2013). This simulation example’s goal is to raise the awareness of mobile ability. “The contemporary notion of learning environments recognizes that meaningful, active learning takes place in complex, multi-model environments in which the learner plays an active role in constructing knowledge” (Dickey, 2010, p.2). This virtual world scenario of an avatar limited in mobility is experienced in an immersive way that many people would not willingly seek out and may be unable to experience in the real world.

Definitions and Mode of Delivery:

The definition of an online virtual world is a 3-D multi-user environment hosted on a company owned or private server. Kitely.com is the development grid for this proof of concept simulation project since Kitely.com allows users under the age of 18. Kitely.com requires anyone ages 13 years of age to 18 years of age be limited to “moderate” rated worlds. The goal for this project will be to keep the island build at a general rating to be accessible by all age groups.

Cost and Time Analysis:

A cost analysis is beneficial when deciding upon the mode of delivery. Time considerations, are also a part of this. Building the simulation environment, creating the simulation guides and the execution plan for the simulation are part of the time investment. This is especially true when creating a simulation that can be executed either synchronously or asynchronously. With current access to the internet being widespread and virtual world platforms competitive in pricing the cost is minimal. Since this simulation is a proof of concept the cost will not include creating an exportable and shareable product. To do so would increase the costs to purchase, find or otherwise create mesh designs that are open source or exportable with copyright permissions.

A virtual Island can be purchased for approx. fifteen to twenty dollars a month, and new options are being offered for island developers to rent out designed islands with increased security, variable pricing and user defined time frames. Even grids you can host on your own server or home computer at no cost are available.

Non-monetary cost such as time investment have been determined to be valued at ten dollars an hour. Since the builds are done voluntarily it is beneficial to place a monetary value to better determine the feasibility of the plan. The development of a virtual world requires an average of two hours a day for one month to design the actual 3d simulation, learn and implement the technologies needed and create the simulation guides and supports which include scripting objects and learning OSSL (Open Source Scripting Language). Calculating the value of a volunteer’s time, one could summarize a complete island build to be valued between four hundred to six hundred dollars. The benefits of being able to design a personalized virtual world is well worth the initial and ongoing time and monetary investment.

Access to the virtual world is free for the participants themselves and only require the ability to download a viewer onto a computer or laptop. With technological improvements, web-based walk in worlds (3-D) are being developed so that these viewers may no longer be needed to experience 3-D simulations.

Overview:

This proof of concept simulation example assumes the participant already has access to and knowledge of virtual worlds. For those with limited exposure to the virtual environment, pdf guides and training can be set up. This preparation shouldn’t take more than 30 to 60 min depending upon the individual. To ease this transition, an opensource virtual world designed with avatar aids was chosen. The OAR was acquired from Outworldz, https://www.outworldz.com/cgi/freesculpts.plx?q=OAR- and was originally provided from http://militarymetaverse.org/content/

“The Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds (FCVW) lobby was used to introduce new users on how to maneuver within the virtual environment during the 2015 FCVW conference. This region was set up using predefined sections to help guide users through the process of walking, flying, getting dressed, and finally customizing their avatar’s appearance. Upon completion of the basic introduction training, conference attendees would travel to other virtual locations to participate in the various workshops of the conference.

All OAR file are provided under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. More information on the license can be found here: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en_US  “

An additional support platform will be in blogposts and videos at https://WoPoLi.com and https://multiversemasters.blogspot.com/. An in-world link to these sites and other support sites will also be in the Multiverse Simulations Masters welcome area, the entry point to the virtual world. This will include video and PDF versions of some of the educational content that is found in the virtual world. Empty spaces have been developed within the build for the simulation proof of concept.

The specific simulations for this course will be “Ability Awareness”. The aim of this simulation is to help the participant experience what it might like to move about with assistive devices in confined spaces. An avatar with assistive devices like a wheel chair and crutches will be provided. Build spaces will be created that a normal avatar could easily navigate however, with the added devices, navigation and mobility when following the role play scenario may be an issue. This is unlike the traditional goal of virtual world design with areas that are over-sized and easily circumnavigated, with open room designs and smooth uncluttered landscapes. In the real-world obstacles are multiplied for those individuals who rely on assistive devices. Due to viewer programming that is designed to ease movement of the avatar through the environment, some environmental factors may be exaggerated.

In addition to the environment the simulation can also touch on emotional topics such as ignorance, and resentment as common responses individuals may encounter from society. This can be experienced through interacting with scripted NPCs (non-player characters). This scripted reaction may be exaggerated to symbolize common statements of prejudice or ignorance commonly experienced over a longer period. The exaggeration is required to evoke emotional responses and conversation since the simulation experience is presented in a shortened time frame.

To make sure this simulation stays within the bounds of the course and time frame, the simulation build itself includes directional guides and introductions in the welcome area and train station that will lead the participant to a single structure, two-story home and the inhabitants thereof. The back story will be setting up a scenario of a foster/group home situation in which the participant is limited in mobility. Options will be provided to choose an alternate avatar if the female character is not sufficient. For group participation other simulation scenarios may use the caregiver character with a different set of goals and note cards.

The participants also interact through the receiving of note-cards in-world to understand the role play “back story”, become a specific character, and act out assigned tasks. Educators can expand upon the simulation experience by having students record a reaction using screen capture, blog about what they experienced and react to other participants experiences. Resources can be provided, and grading can be based on participation, discussions, or response papers and presentations.

Technology and tools used:

  1. Virtual World platform
  2. In-world note cards
  3. Scripted NPC interaction
  4. Directional signs in-world
  5. Interactive objects

Established Goals:

  1. Participants will experience a role play scenario and 3-d simulation.
  2. Participants will observe and discuss/share reactions to mobile ability.
  3. Participants will observe and discuss/share reactions and challenges faced, concerning the completion of tasks (quests).
  4. Participants will observe and discuss/share emotional reactions to the role play scenario/back story.
  5. Participants will learn technology tools to interact in the virtual world environment.
  6. Participants will learn avatar controls.
  7. Participants will learn screen capture controls, video tools, and other technological communication options for assignment and evaluation purposes.

Evaluating learning outcomes:

Since this is a proof of concept the simulation will include examples of ways that the participants can give feedback, participate in discussions and show proof of knowledge without building the back end supports for this proof of concept. As an example, supportive learning platforms for evaluation may be live or virtual meetings and discussions, blog posts, collecting and responding to note cards and note card drop off points, creating video responses or various other complimentary assignments that the instructor chooses.

The introduction to educators of this proof of concept will be presented in an informational video and walk through video of the simulation as well as the online and publicly accessible simulation itself. A back up OAR file will be kept long term if the simulation is ever taken offline.

Conclusion:

Within the aspect of educational design research, the goal of this simulation example is to add to the knowledge base of how students can be supported to learn using virtual world technology. This simulation example will give theoretical insight into how virtual worlds can be used for teaching and learning (Bakker, 2018).

 

 

Resources

Bakker, A. (2018). Design research in education: A practical guide for early career researchers. London: Routledge.

Beckhusen, F. (2018). The Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds (FCVW) lobby, Retrieved on Sept, 2018, from , https://www.outworldz.com/cgi/freesculpts.plx?q=OAR-

Briggs, D. C., Diaz-Bilello, E., Peck, F., Alzen, J., Chattergoon, R., Johnson, R., & …

University of Colorado at Boulder, C. (. (2015). Using a Learning Progression Framework to Assess and Evaluate Student Growth. National Center For The Improvement Of Educational Assessment

Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. (2010). Use of three-dimensional (3-D) immersive virtual worlds in K-12 and higher education settings: A review of the research. British Journal Of Educational Technology, (1), 33. Retrieved on Oct 2, 2018, from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=32&sid=817138c4-5817-4070-bc0c-c98ffbb32835%40sessionmgr104&hid=108

Kitely.com. (2015, June 1). Terms of service. Retrieved on Oct 7, 2018, at https://www.kitely.com/terms (secure server).

Merchant, Z., Goetz, E. T., Cifuentes, L., Keeney-Kennicutt, W., & Davis, T. J. (2014). Effectiveness of virtual reality-based instruction on students’ learning outcomes in K-12 and higher education: A meta-analysis. Computers & Education70, 29–40. https://doi-org.library.esc.edu/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.07.033

McLeod, P. L., Liu, Y.-C., & Axline, J. E. (Volume 39). (2014) When your Second Life comes knocking: Effects of personality on changes to real life from virtual world experiences. Computers in Human BehaviorVolume 39(Department of Communication, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, United States), 59–70. Retrieved from https://www-sciencedirect-com.library.esc.edu/science/article/pii/S0747563214003665

Michele D. Dickey. (2011). The pragmatics of virtual worlds for K-12 educators: investigating the affordances and constraints of “Active Worlds” and “Second Life” with K-12 in-service teachers. Educational Technology Research and Development.59(1):120. Retrieved from https://www-jstor-org.library.esc.edu/stable/41414922

Mon, L. (2010). Communication and Education in a Virtual World: Avatar-Mediated Teaching and Learning in Second Life. International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environmentsv1 n2 Article 1 p115, 15. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org.library.esc.edu/10.4018/jvple.2010040101

Nelson, B. C. & Erlandson, B. E. (2012). Design for learning in virtual worlds: Interdisciplinary approaches to educational technology). New York, NY: Routledge

O’Connor, Eileen. (2012). Next Generation Online: Advancing Learning Through Dynamic Design, Virtual and Web 2.0 Technologies, and Instructor Attitude. Journal Of Educational Technology Systems Vol. 41(1) 3-24, 2012-2013 Retreived on 11/24/2016 from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=8d09219c-4a71-44ac-87cb-072527f5880b%40sessionmgr102&vid=1&hid=104

O’Connor, E. (2011). Migrating Towards K12 in Virtual Spaces: Second Life Lessons Learned as Higher Education Meets Middle School Students. In M. Koehler & P. Mishra (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2011 (pp. 2192-2198). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 21, 2017 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/36630.

Roussou, M. (2002). Immersive interactive virtual reality and informal education. Foundation of the Hellenic World. Retrieved on Oct 3, 2018, from http://ui4all.ics.forth.gr/i3SD2000/Roussou.PDF

Smith, M. J. (2016, January 1). Adding Debriefing to Objective Structured Clinical Examinations to Enhance Disability Cultural Sensitivity in Pharmacy StudentsProQuest LLC. ProQuest LLC. Retrieved from http://library.esc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=ED582853&site=eds-live

Tiffany, J., & Hoglund, B. (2016). Featured Article: Using Virtual Simulation to Teach Inclusivity: A Case Study. International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning Published by Elsevier Inc. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecns.2015.11.003

Triberti, S., Durosini, I., Aschieri, F., Villani, D., & Riva, G. (2017). Changing Avatars, Changing Selves? The Influence of Social and Contextual Expectations on Digital Rendition of Identity. CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking20(8), 501–507. https://doi-org.library.esc.edu/10.1089/cyber.2016.0424

Tzemopoulos, A. (2014). The online community of second life and the residents of Virtual Ability Island. In V. Venkatesh, J. J. Wallin, J. C. Castro, & J. E. Lewis (Eds.), Educational, psychological, and behavioral considerations in niche online communities. (pp. 275–296). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference/IGI Global. https://doi-org.library.esc.edu/10.4018/978-1-4666-5206-4.ch017

Zielke, M., Roome, T., & Krueger, A. (2009). A Pedagogical Model for Virtual World Residents: A Case Study of the Virtual Ability Second Life Island. Journal For Virtual Worlds Research, 2(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.4101/jvwr.v2i1.417

The effectiveness of using simulations in virtual worlds to impact social change.

The effectiveness of using simulations in virtual worlds to impact social change.

A Review of the Literature

Salie Davis

Advanced Design Seminar

2018FA1-EDET-6100-10

Dr. Nicola Marea Allain

October 28, 2019

Introduction:

Articles in academic journals are explored to determine the effectiveness of simulations and role play in virtual world settings in their ability to impact changes in awareness and empathy towards differences in ability. A current study where the author was able to identify the impact a virtual world simulation had in changing attitudes and perceptions using virtual world role play whereas the participants took on the role of an avatar to empathize with the personal and emotional experiences of that avatar was conducted by Tiffany, and Hoglund in 2016. Other than this specific study, the search parameters of social change, simulation, and virtual world, in academic journals in the field of education did not yield results specifically related to increasing awareness and empathy in the participant to encourage real-world social change

Research has been conducted on similar subjects, such as the general effectiveness and impact on learning using virtual world simulations. Searching those terms in the One Search ESC library database resulted in 2,287 hits in the educational category for academic journals. Research also supports that personality is impacted by the virtual world and that the virtual world experiences impact real-life changes ( McLeod, P. L., Liu, Y.-C., & Axline, J. E, 2014). This literature review seeks to evaluate whether available research supports the goal of determining if the outcomes of learning in virtual environments through simulations have a lasting impact on personality changes, specific to an increase in empathy toward individuals with different abilities.

Research selection and definitions:

Academic articles were researched that address the social interactions, associated benefits and risks, and the community and personality development as it relates to virtual worlds. Research has shown that learning is a social process (Veletsianos and Navarrete, 2012). This research is essential in understanding the underpinnings of the educational uses and effectiveness of virtual worlds in learning outcomes (Dunleavy, M., Dede, C., & Mitchell, R.2009, Kramer, S. 2010, Lerner, J. E. 2016, Merchant, Z., Goetz, E. T., Cifuentes, L., Keeney-Kennicutt, W., & Davis, T. J. 2014, Mon, L. 2010). Research specifically studying online virtual worlds and the theory that positive social change and an increase in empathy and awareness can be accomplished using simulations and role play in immersive virtual world environments has been conducted (Tiffany, and Hoglund, 2016). Simulations are intended to help the user experience through immersive technology an event, a place, or a role that they are not able to in a real-world scenario. (Nelson, 2013, Dunleavy, M., Dede, C., & Mitchell, R., 2009). Historical understanding is also essential therefor research was included to give a basis of understanding concerning the overall effectiveness of teaching and learning in virtual worlds. For the use of this literature review “virtual world” can be defined as the definition of an online virtual world is a 3D multi-user environment with user-generated content. It is also defined as an online, computer based, and browser based virtual reality platform (Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. 2010).

Historical research:

According to Merchant, Goetz, Cifuentes, Keeney-Kennicutt, & Davis, immersive virtual reality has been in existence for almost sixty years beginning in the1960’s. (2014). The use of online virtual worlds increased in the beginning of the 21st century with private and educational institutions contributing to and creating virtual interactions for science-based simulations, such as virtual dissection and virtual museum simulations (Merchant, Goetz, Cifuentes, Keeney-Kennicutt, & Davis, 2014). Social change through the use of virtual worlds to impact personality through avatar identity has only recently been studied (Barton-Arwood, S., Lunsford, L., & Suddeth, S. W. 2016, Kuznetcova, I., Teeple, J., & Glassman, M. 2018, Tiffany, J., & Hoglund, B. 2016, Triberti, S., Durosini, I., Aschieri, F., Villani, D., & Riva, G. 2017).

Historical studies have shown that the use of simulations in real-world applications is very effective in changing attitudes and increasing awareness and empathy toward people with disabilities. (Goddard, Jordan, 1998). These studies however were not based on virtual world environments.

Online virtual worlds have historically based their foundations on “…interactive entertainment products and services” (Linden Research, Inc., 2017, para 2). This has influenced the overall public perception of virtual worlds as an adult themed virtual playground (Carver, L. B. 2016).  Educational virtual worlds are usually privatized by educational institutions. Historically they have been limited to concrete concepts and facts rather than challenging social perceptions and attitudes. (Dunleavy, M., Dede, C., & Mitchell, R. 2009, Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. 2010, Lerner, J. E. 2016, Michele D. Dickey. 2011, Roussou, M. 2002). In the history of virtual worlds however, they have long been used for simulations and role playing in educational and learning goals (Dunleavy, M., Dede, C., & Mitchell, R. 2009, Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. 2010, Lerner, J. E. 2016).

Research:

Research articles explore the design of virtual worlds for various uses of educational applications and techniques. (Carver, L. B. 2016, Dunleavy, M., Dede, C., & Mitchell, R. 2009, Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. 2010, Kramer, S. 2010) Narrowing the research specifically to simulations in virtual worlds and social change in One Search ESC library database using the key word of simulation, virtual world, and social change resulted in 536 hits. Narrowed down to the field of education brought the search results down to 87. Limiting this further to academic journals revealed 41 potential articles on these topics, of these only 2 were directly relevant to this research topic, addressing social change in perceptions, personality, or empathy through the use of simulations in virtual worlds. (Tzemopoulos, A. 2014, Zielke, M., Roome, T., & Krueger, A. 2009). These studies were done on the impact of personality and real-world changes in these online communities whereas the participant has direct influence over their avatar choice and interactions. In the role play and simulation study for social education Tiffany and Hogland discuss the impact that can be accomplished by preset avatar identities and activities not directly controlled by the participant.

In virtual worlds, as an avatar, people can explore different environments and roles. (Kuznetcova, I., Teeple, J., & Glassman, M. 2018, Tiffany, J., & Hoglund, B. 2016, Kuznetcova, I., Teeple, J., & Glassman, M. 2018, Lerner, J. E. 2016, Merchant, Z., Goetz, E. T., Cifuentes, L., Keeney-Kennicutt, W., & Davis, T. J. 2014, Michele D. Dickey. 2011, Mon, L. 2010, Roussou, M. 2002, Tiffany, J., & Hoglund, B.2016). Avatar identity studies, have also been conducted, however research has not been focused on the potential influence on real world changes in understanding through simulations. Instead these studies have focused on avatar development and the development of a virtual community online (Triberti, S., Durosini, I., Aschieri, F., Villani, D., & Riva, G. 2017, Tzemopoulos, A. 2014).  Groups of professionals and individuals network within these online virtual worlds creating virtual communities that offer social support and resources.

According to research learning based simulations have been used for combined synchronous and asynchronous educational goals. (Gregory, Sue, 2012) A virtual world simulation is beneficial because of the “unique affordances that it offers in enhancing learners’ cognitive skills” (Merchant et al., 2014, para. 6). Participants use avatar identity to connect themselves or who they wish to be, with the virtual world and virtual community(Kuznetcova, I., Teeple, J., & Glassman, M. 2018, McLeod, P. L., Liu, Y.-C., & Axline, J. E. 2014, Triberti, S., Durosini, I., Aschieri, F., Villani, D., & Riva, G. 2017, Tzemopoulos, A. 2014). This emotional connection to avatar identity is useful in allowing participants to experience avatar identities that they would not otherwise experience in the virtual world and to transfer that emotional awareness and knowledge gained by the experience into real world applications and empathy (Tiffany, and Hoglund, 2016). This is also because research supports the effectiveness of learning in immersive virtual world simulations in general “The contemporary notion of learning environments recognizes that meaningful, active learning takes place in complex, multi-model environments in which the learner plays an active role in constructing knowledge” (Dickey, 2011, p.2).

The research explored was based on standard educational pedagogues and transferred to the virtual world concept through generalization. “Established adult learning theories have been transferred to teaching in the VW where normal pedagogical practices have continued. No new theories have emerged and researchers have been adapting current theories to fit into the framework of their teaching scenarios.”(Lerner, 2012, p.3) Generalizing research that is non-specific has disadvantages, however may be necessary given the limited amount of current specific research. This is due to the fact that drawing conclusions from limited sources holds the same disadvantage (Hew and Cheung, 2010).

According to recent studies that were more specific towards the ability of virtual world simulations to change perceptions and attitudes in real world applications, “Students indicated that they increased their own capacity to understand, appreciate, and relate to people different from themselves” (Tiffany, and Hoglund , 2016 p.1) Other research indicated that the success of influence is directly related to the personality of the participant (Triberti, S., Durosini, I., Aschieri, F., Villani, D., & Riva, G. 2017). Students who are open to change and engaged in the learning process responded more positively to virtual world role play of more complex social scenarios. “Research has indicated that technology can increase student motivation, attitude, engagement and self-confidence, while improving organization and study skills” (Carver, 2016, p.110). This open attitude to new experience is essential. According to research, simulations have also been more successful to learning due to the level of safety and anonymity that the virtual world offers. “Simulations are often used for learning in a VW so that students can experience doing things that are impossible to do in a real world.” (Lerner, 2012, p.3).

Studies have also shown that communication is essential in teaching and learning (Hew & Cheung, 2010, Veletsianos, G. & Navarrete, C. C. 2012).  The virtual world is an immersive environment for role play and simulation due to its various platforms for communication. “Communication in virtual world can take both verbal and nonverbal forms” (Hew & Cheung, 2010, p. 36). Auditory input and output, in-world animations and written text chat are the primary forms of real time person to person communication in world, while text on signs, note cards, audio and visual input through video, music, websites and links, and visual display of objects are communications used on an individual basis and not dependent on live person to person communication (Hew & Cheung, 2010).This helps expand the use of role play and simulation design beyond social interaction, community involvement, or networking. This also complicates conclusions based on research that was conducted using virtual community interaction and person to person (or avatar to avatar) relationships since it is based on the individual’s personal reflections ((Hew and Cheung, 2010, Tiffany, J., & Hoglund, B. 2016).

Aside from community and social interaction, research conducted showed that “transformative learning whereby students reflect and then act on this reflection” (Lerner, 2012, p 7) was successful in increasing the potential for learning. This supports the possibility that independent roleplay and simulations may be effective in achieving learning goals. According to Mcleod, arousal of emotion is needed to establish empathy. The visual build and simulation environment increases immersion thus increasing the emotional impact on the participant. In addition, the personal identity created by the relationship between the participant and their avatar brings in an additional emotional factor to the experience (Kuznetcova, I., Teeple, J., & Glassman, M. 2018). Openness to new experiences has also been identified as essential in initiating change in behaviors (McLeod, P. L., Liu, Y.-C., & Axline, J. E., 2014). Studies suggest that the effectiveness of virtual worlds is directly related to the personality traits of participants, and in how engaged they are in the experience, more than the presentation of the environment or information (Barton-Arwood, S., Lunsford, L., & Suddeth, S. W. 2016, Carver, L. B. 2016 Roussou, M. 2002).

One article addressed increasing empathy through a virtual game (Sterkenburg, P. S., & Vacaru, V. S. 2018). Several articles address virtual simulations and their benefits (Dunleavy, M., Dede, C., & Mitchell, R. 2009, Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S.,2010 Lerner, J. E. 2016). The challenge is finding research to support the impact on the individual participants social perceptions, awareness and empathy as it transfers from virtual world experiences to real world social change beyond the research done by Tiffany & Hoglund in 2016.

Social and emotional learning can be assessed through retrospective and participant reporting data. The research I reviewed concerning social change and increased empathy was based on participant surveys which can weaken the conclusions derived by the study. “A general problem of studies based on self-reported data is that participants usually have correct notions about socially desirable answers” (Hew and Cheung, 2010, p 44) Other that the study done by Tiffany & Hogland in 2016, research on avatar identity has been conducted only in so much as the participants chosen avatar identity influences real world perceptions (Kuznetcova, I., Teeple, J., & Glassman, M. 2018,  except for the research conducted by Tiffany & Hoglund in 2016, Triberti, S., Durosini, I., Aschieri, F., Villani, D., & Riva, G. 2017, Tzemopoulos, A. 2014, Zielke, M., Roome, T., & Krueger, A. 2009).

Conclusion:

Virtual worlds are often used for simulations and experiential spaces however based on search results, most research is in the media arts and health and environment disciplines. (Barton-Arwood, S., Lunsford, L., & Suddeth, S. W. 2016, Goddard L, & Jordan L. 1998, McLeod, P. L., Liu, Y.-C., & Axline, J. E. 2014, Smith, M. J. 2016, Sterkenburg, P. S., & Vacaru, V. S. 2018). Appling these outcomes to the field of education and social change context weakens the conclusion since specific research using the search parameters of simulation, virtual world, and social change in the field of education were limited.

Research articles that address the topic in part, adds to the overall body of knowledge about learning in virtual world simulations, however only two articles specifically addressed outcomes based on changes in awareness, or empathy needed to impact individual personality or social change (Sterkenburg, P. S., & Vacaru, V. S. 2018, Tiffany, and Hoglund, 2016).

More studies need to be completed on whether the avatar identity used in simulations or role play that has not been developed by the participant can have the same impact on perceptions of the participants in real world applications such as the one done by Tiffany & Hoglund in 2016. In addition, more studies need to be done on the impact of role playing in virtual worlds on the perceptions of participants. Even if studies show that immersive virtual world simulations can change perceptions, studies also need to be done on how changes in perception impacts behavior.

References

Barton-Arwood, S., Lunsford, L., & Suddeth, S. W. (2016). University-Community Partnerships in Teacher Preparation: Changing Attitudes about Students with Disabilities. Journal of Public Scholarship in Higher Education6, 4–20. Retrieved from http://library.esc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1123802&site=eds-live

Carver, L. B. (2016). Teacher Perception of Barriers and Benefits in K-12 Technology Usage. Turkish Online Journal Of Educational Technology – TOJET, 15(1), 110-116. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1086185

Dunleavy, M., Dede, C., & Mitchell, R. (2009). Affordances and Limitations of Immersive Participatory Augmented Reality Simulations for Teaching and Learning. Journal of Science Education and Technology, (1), 7. Retrieved from http://library.esc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.232102170&site=eds-live

Gregory, Sue, (2012) ADULTS LEARNING IN A VIRTUAL WORLD, ACEC2012: ITs Time Conference, retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/234130408_Adults_Learning_in_a_Virtual_World

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Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. (2010). Use of three-dimensional (3-D) immersive virtual worlds in K-12 and higher education settings: A review of the research. British Journal of Educational Technology, (1), 33. Retrieved from http://library.esc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.214874403&site=eds-live

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Mon, L. (2010). Communication and Education in a Virtual World: Avatar-Mediated Teaching and Learning in Second Life. International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environmentsv1 n2 Article 1 p115, 15. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org.library.esc.edu/10.4018/jvple.2010040101

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Sterkenburg, P. S., & Vacaru, V. S. (2018). The effectiveness of a serious game to enhance empathy for care workers for people with disabilities: A parallel randomized controlled trial. Disability and Health Journal. https://doi-org.library.esc.edu/10.1016/j.dhjo.2018.03.003

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Triberti, S., Durosini, I., Aschieri, F., Villani, D., & Riva, G. (2017). Changing Avatars, Changing Selves? The Influence of Social and Contextual Expectations on Digital Rendition of Identity. CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking20(8), 501–507. https://doi-org.library.esc.edu/10.1089/cyber.2016.0424

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