Virtual worlds in Australian and New Zealand higher education: Remembering the past, understanding the present and imagining the future

Sue Gregory, Brent Gregory, Torsten Reiners, Ali Fardinpour, Mathew Hillier, Mark Lee, Lisa Jacka

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


3D virtual reality, including the current generation of multi-user virtual worlds, has had a long history of use in education and training, and it experienced a surge of renewed interest with the advent of Second Life in 2003. What followed shortly after were several years marked by considerable hype around the use of virtual worlds for teaching, learning and research in higher education. For the moment, uptake of the technology seems to have plateaued, with academics either maintaining the status quo and continuing to use virtual worlds as they have previously done or choosing to opt out altogether. This paper presents a brief review of the use of virtual worlds in the Australian and New Zealand higher education sector in the past and reports on its use in the sector at the present time, based on input from members of the Australian and New Zealand Virtual Worlds Working Group. It then adopts a forward-looking perspective amid the current climate of uncertainty, musing on future directions and offering suggestions for potential new applications in light of recent technological developments and innovations in the area.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE 2013)
EditorsMaree Gosper Helen Carter, John Hedberg
Place of PublicationSydney, NSW, Australia
PublisherMacquarie University
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781741384031
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventASCILITE 2013: 30th International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education - Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 25 Nov 201328 Nov 2013
Conference number: 30th


ConferenceASCILITE 2013
Abbreviated titleElectric dreams
OtherFor Ascilite’s 30th anniversary in 2013, conference hosts Macquarie University hope to cast our minds towards the future through the conference theme, ‘Electric Dreams’. A dream can be a vision, a prediction, an aspiration - but it can also be a reflection, a pastiche of thoughts, or a different form of consciousness. Our aim is to inspire new and creative ways of thinking about the use of computers in education - to dream while we’re awake. The occasion of our 30th anniversary also offers delegates the opportunity to reflect on where we’ve come from, and how that might inform where we’re going.
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