Multiverse Simulation Masters: Ability Awareness
Advanced Design Seminar: Portfolio Project (2018FA1-EDET-6030-01)
Dr. Nicola Marae Allain
Empire State College
October 7, 2018
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.
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.
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:
- Virtual World platform
- In-world note cards
- Scripted NPC interaction
- Directional signs in-world
- Interactive objects
- Participants will experience a role play scenario and 3-d simulation.
- Participants will observe and discuss/share reactions to mobile ability.
- Participants will observe and discuss/share reactions and challenges faced, concerning the completion of tasks (quests).
- Participants will observe and discuss/share emotional reactions to the role play scenario/back story.
- Participants will learn technology tools to interact in the virtual world environment.
- Participants will learn avatar controls.
- 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.
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).
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