The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Engaging Childrens’ Learning through WalkAbout, a Real-Time Online Multi-User 3D-Environment

Ylva Backman, Luleå University of Technology (Sweden)

Viktor Gardelli, Luleå University of Technology (Sweden)

Peter Parnes, Luleå University of Technology (Sweden)


Online environments for conferencing [1] and 3D-environments have been used for learning for some time [2] to bridge time and space both in- and outside of the classroom. These online environments can be used
to engage pupils and enhance learning through making students more active [3] and a higher level of learning through increased cognitive absorption [4]. Gamification [5] is another related area to enhance
learning and make it more fun. WalkAbout is a multi-user 3D-environment built with computer game technologies [6] where pupils and teachers can express themselves using different avatars, animations, text and voice chat in different graphical environments. Teachers can bring in web screens and 3D-objects to enhance the learning environment as well as control the pupils in the environment, e.g., automatically gather them in one place or show current interesting places using light beacons. Audio is 3D-positional meaning that the closer a user is to a speaker the stronger the audio will be played which implies that pupils and teachers can create group conversations naturally by how they place themselves in the 3D-world. The
WalkAbout environment is also used to cross language barriers through real-time text chat translation and text-to-voice generation in different languages. In this paper we investigate several scenarios for how
teaching can be enhanced by using WalkAbout in the classroom for Swedish year 1-6 pupils for studying subjects such as math, music, arts, language, etc. The pupils interact in a playful and fun way using the
WalkAbout 3D-environment to solve different tasks in an enhanced manner and through their activity they can unlock functionality and receive rewards to further motivate them. 

Keywords: Education, Online, Engagement, 3D environments, Unity, Computer Game Technologies.

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[3] Bernstein, D. A. (2018). Does active learning work? A good question, but not the right one. Scholarship of
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[4] Agarwal, R., & Karahanna, E. (2000). Time Flies When You're Having Fun: Cognitive Absorption and
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[5] Swacha J. State of Research on Gamification in Education: A Bibliometric Survey. Education Sciences.
2021; 11(2):69.
[6] Unity, Unity Real-Time Development Platform | 3D, 2D VR & AR Visualizations.
Retrieved on 20210504.

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