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AbstractThis work in progress paper describes collaborative research, taking place on three continents, towards creating a ‘mixed reality teaching & learning environment’ (MiRTLE) that enables teachers and students participating in realtime mixed and online classes to interact with avatar representations of each other. The longer term hypothesis that will be investigated is that avatar representations of teachers and students will help create a sense of shared presence, engendering a sense of community and improving student engagement in online lessons. This paper explores the technology that will underpin such systems by presenting work on the use of a massively multi-user game server, based on Sun’s Project Darkstar and Project Wonderland tools, to create a shared teaching environment, illustrating the process by describing the creation of a virtual classroom. We describe the Shanghai NEC eLearning system that will form the platform for the deployment of this work. As these systems will take on an increasingly global reach, we discuss how cross cultural issues will effect such systems. We conclude by outlining our future plans to test our hypothesis by deploying this technology on a live system with some 15,000 online users.
Callaghan, Victor and Gardner, Michael and Horan, Bernard and Scott, John and Shen, Liping and Wang, Minjuan (2008) 'A Mixed Reality Teaching and Learning Environment.' In: Fong, Joseph and Kwan, Reggie and Wang, Fu Lee, (eds.) Hybrid Learning and Education. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (5169). Springer, pp. 54-65. ISBN 9783540851691