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Second Life: The next virtual laboratory?

Stephen, Wilson, Frey, Jeremy G. and Coles, Simon J. (2009) Second Life: The next virtual laboratory? At UK e-Science All Hands Meeting (AHM 2009), United Kingdom. 07 - 09 Dec 2009. 3 pp.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)


A virtual world is a computer based environment, typically in three dimensions, where a person can interact and manipulate objects and communicate with others. Users are represented in the virtual world as avatars, although these are typically 'humans', they can have any shape and size. Virtual worlds have been used for a number of applications including research, commerce and education. In this paper we will focus on research-led education. There have been a number of virtual worlds developed specifically for education, such as Active Worlds Educational Universe (AWEDU)[1], Media Grid[8] and EduSim[5]. Each of these virtual worlds are aimed at different age groups and attempt to simulate different aspects of real world teaching within their environment, such as lectures, demonstrations and group tasks. Virtual worlds can benefit the learning environment as they offer visualisation not available through traditional simulation techniques and can promote discussion among students who are located across the globe. Second Life[9] has become the most popular of these virtual worlds with over 1.3 million users. Its success has come from its easy to use interface, global media coverage and its free-to-use policy. Second Life also allows, assuming you have the correct permissions, to build objects within its environment and develop scripts to run within them. It is this functionality that is used to develop its educational areas, such as virtual lecture theatres (with streamed media), interactive (and dynamic) models and virtual presentations. Second Life is closely linked to other online information stores, for example links to websites can be given to the user by exhibits as note cards, allowing users to expand the learning experience as they wish.
The Virtual Chemistry Experience (ViCE) project[11], funded by Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit (LATEU)[10], have generated a number of Second Life exhibits designed to promote teaching of chemistry to a wide range of ages. These exhibits focused mainly on drug docking in protein structures. The Second Life exhibit parallels the e-Malaria[3] web site, developed at the University of Southampton. A potential anti-malaria drug is generated and submitted to docking simulation software through a web interface. A docking score is generate which represents how well the candidate molecule would bind with the dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and therefore how good a possible drug candidate it is.

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Published date: 7 December 2009
Venue - Dates: UK e-Science All Hands Meeting (AHM 2009), United Kingdom, 2009-12-07 - 2009-12-09


Local EPrints ID: 148087
PURE UUID: e131cf8f-c039-4e2e-8402-5a58ce33af1c
ORCID for Jeremy G. Frey: ORCID iD
ORCID for Simon J. Coles: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 27 Apr 2010 14:13
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 19:32

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Author: Wilson Stephen
Author: Jeremy G. Frey ORCID iD
Author: Simon J. Coles ORCID iD

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