Utopia and a Garden Party

This volume was first published by Inter-Disciplinary Press in 2012.

A collection of papers presented at the 2nd Global Conference on Experiential Learning in Virtual Worlds, held in Prague, Czech Republic. Presenters discussed their research on the impact of utilizing virtual worlds for educational purposes. Presenters also discussed the influence virtual worlds have on concepts such as identity, learning and interaction.

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Paul Jerry is Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology, Athabasca University, Canada. This is Canada’s first on-line/blended delivery graduate degree in counselling psychology and Paul has been with the program since before it opened its virtual doors some 12 years ago. His research interests include clinical training from a psychoanalytic perspective, regulation of professional psychology, and the use of counselling skills to manage virtual education experiences. Some of his writing includes some of the first descriptions of the use of streaming video in training counselling skills using the Web, identity representation in on-line education and neuropsychological correlates of virtual learning. His clinical writing covers neurodevelopment and the counselling relationship, art in therapy and various psychoanalytic case studies. He is a Past President of the College of Alberta Psychologists and is a Registered Psychologist maintaining a clinical practice in rural Canada. He has been a resident of Second Life since 2010.

Yvonne Masters has worked at the University of New England (UNE), Australia for the past five years as a lecturer in teacher education, occupying the role of Director of Professional Experience. Prior to taking up her position at UNE Yvonne had 30 years’ experience in secondary schools including in the roles of Curriculum Coordinator, Deputy Principal and Principal. Yvonne’s research interests centre around professional experience and virtual worlds, with a particular focus on distance education students. She has been a co-recipient of several grants for research into the use of a virtual classroom as a teaching and learning space and has developed this research through presentations at a range of national and international conferences. Yvonne has written papers on distance education and co-written regarding virtual worlds. Her most recent research grant is, as a member of a five university consortium, to explore the use of virtual worlds for teaching practice and assessment. Yvonne is currently examining a range of virtual worlds to gather data about the efficiency of transferring teaching and learning practices from one world to another.

Nancy Tavares-Jones is in her final year of her Masters of Counselling Psychology degree program at Athabasca University. Her research interests include psychometric assessments and their applications, psychoanalytic theory, personality theory and understanding the concept of “identity” in actual and virtual worlds. Her thesis work involves an exploration of personality type and virtual world participation. She runs a private counselling practice in Ontario, Canada. She has been a resident of Second Life since 2011.
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