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The Virtual University and Avatar Technology: \ud E-learning Through Future Technology

By Klaus Oestreicher, Joanne Kuzma and Dorothy Yen


E-learning gains increasingly importance in academic education. Beyond present distance learning technologies a new opportunity emerges by the use of advanced avatar technology. Virtual robots acting in an environment of a virtual campus offer opportunities of advanced learning experiences. Human Machine Interaction (HMI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can bridge time zones and ease professional constraints of mature students. Undergraduate students may use such technology to build up topics of their studies beyond taught lectures.\ud \ud Objectives of the paper are to research the options, extent and limitations of avatar technology for academic studies in under- and postgraduate courses and to discuss students' potential acceptance or rejection of interaction with AI.\ud \ud The research method is a case study based on Sir Tony Dyson's avatar technology iBot2000. Sir Tony is a worldwide acknowledged robot specialist, creator of Star Wars' R2D2, who developed in recent years the iBot2000 technology, intelligent avatars adaptable to different environments with the availability to speak up to eight different languages and capable to provide logic answers to questions asked. This technology underwent many prototypes with the latest specific goal to offer blended E-learning entering the field of the virtual 3-D university extending Web2.0 to Web3.0 (Dyson. 2009). Sir Tony included his vast experiences gained in his personal (teaching) work with children for which he received his knighthood. The data was mainly collected through interviews with Sir Tony Dyson, which helps discover the inventor’s view on why such technology is of advantage for academic studies. \ud \ud Based on interviews with Sir Tony, this research critically analyses the options, richness and restrictions, which avatar (iBot2000) technology may add to academic studies. The conclusion will discuss the opportunities, which avatar technology may be able to bring to learning and teaching activities, and the foreseeable limitations – the amount of resources required and the complexity to build a fully integrated virtual 3-D campus.\ud \ud Key Words: virtual learning, avatar technology, iBot2000, virtual universit

Topics: T1, LB2300
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:

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