Track: Explorations of Virtual Worlds

Title Western Institute Virtual Tourism - from Moodle to Opensim!
Author(s): jokay Wollongong; Rob Merchi
Date Friday, March 18 21:00
Location: West Departure 2
Abstract Join the project team for a live guided tour of ‘Wards Resort’ and the other learning spaces that have been created as part of the Western Institute Virtual Tourism Project. During the tour, participants will be invited to take part in some simple activities designed to support students in developing a range of skills and knowledge including customer service skills occupational health and safety. Following the tour we will meet at the Resort Restaurant for a Q&A session and an opportunity to discuss how these types of immersive environments can be used to assist students in developing skills for the workplace, and the outcomes of a 5 week pilot undertaken with 15-18yo students in 2010. The Western Institute Virtual Tourism Project commenced in 2010 and was funded by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework’s eLearning Innovations Project. It is focused on developing virtual worlds learning experiences for vocational education and training (TVET) students studying Tourism and Hospitality subjects at TAFE NSW - Western Institute in NSW Australia and is currently located at jokaydiaGRID - an opensim grid which supports a community of educators and artists. 
Bio(s): jokay Wollongong: Jokay Wollongong (aka Jo Kay) is the owner/facilitator of jokaydiaGRID and the Islands of jokaydia in Second Life. She has been working with educators and students in virtual worlds since 2005 and has experience in creating and facilitating both learning spaces and communities in virtual worlds.  She has developed technology solutions and educational content for a range of organisations from K-20, and her current focus is on the educational uses of opensimulator. Jokay believes that learning should be playful, collaborative, inclusive, engaging, joyful, social and fun! 
Rob Merchi: Rob Merchi is the Project Lead on the Western Institute Virtual Tourism Project. In real life Robyn Alderton is the Head Teacher of Tourism & Hospitality for the eastern region of TAFENSW- Western Institute.  Western Institute has students from the Blue Mountains west of Sydney to Broken Hill near the South Australian border undertaking training.   After completing a Masters of Education using a range of online technologies, Robyn took the plunge of using some of these online learning tools with students.  Robyn now games at work using teaching and learning in virtual worlds resulting in her work being lots of fun.

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