Track: Theoretical & Research Papers

Title Collaborative Learning, Cognitive Processes, Telerobotic Communication and Japan Recovery in Virtual Spaces
Author(s): Michael Vallance; Stewart Martin
Moderator(s):Phelan Corrimal
Date Friday, March 16 06:00
Location: Central Auditorium
Abstract Virtual Collaborative Spaces is a joint research project by Future University Hakodate, Japan and Teesside University, UK. The research involves students located in Japan and UK collaborating in a virtual space in order to program LEGO robots to follow pre-determined circuits in the physical world. Since 2008 the communication has taken place in a virtual space and the programming has been implemented in the real world using LEGO robot 8527 and MIndstorms software. We employ a learner-centred design to our virtual space and the tools therein are developed based upon students' suggestions as they attempt to complete set tasks.  Tasks of increasing complexity, measured by Interaction Effect and Task Effectiveness, are undertaken. Data is captured in the form of screen captures, video-taping, transcribing and coding communication, and post-task interviews. Our research analysis employs a motion chart to display the dynamic data associated with the cognitive processes observed from the data. Our current research is now attempting to program the physical LEGO robot to directly respond to movements of our virtual world LEGO robot. We are using an OpenSim environment supported by ReactionGrid Inc. For our connection with industry we are going to situate our virtual LEGO robot into a virtual model of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. As well as capturing data for analysis of cognitive processes, we also aim to familiarize students and the public with the complexities of nuclear power; given that there is much confusion about the situation at present here in Japan.  
Bio(s): Michael Vallance: Dr. Michael Vallance is a Professor in the Department of Media Architecture at Future University Hakodate (FUN), Japan. He has a Doctorate in Education from Durham University and a Masters Degree in Computer Assisted Learning from Stirling University, UK. He has been involved in educational technology design, implementation, research and consultancy for over fifteen years, working closely with Higher Education Institutes, schools and media companies in UK, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. The virtual worlds research is funded by the UK Prime Minister’s Initiative (PMI2) and the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST).  He is the co-founder of the International Virtual Environments Research Group ( His website is at
Stewart Martin: Stewart Martin is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Education Studies at the University of Hull, UK. Research interests are in Education, digital technology, citizenship, identity, leadership and educational achievement. Current work is focussed on exploring emergent citizenship identity in young people using an immersive virtual world. Also the co-founder of the International Virtual Environments Research Group. Website is

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