Dual Reality: blended learning at Coventry University

A press release today details how Coventry University’s Serious Games Institute is going to create a mash-up of the real and virtual worlds to enhance student learning. Apparently, it involves being able to track when and where students are using wireless devices at the University, and pushing appropriate content to them while at the same time allowing students who are there only virtually to meet up with their physical peers:

“These systems will enable students who are visiting a place – either in the real world or online – to meet, despite being physically separated by thousands of miles. The capability is being brought about by real-world and avatar-based positioning.

“Blending mobile and virtual worlds technologies has unmatched potential for producing effective technology-based learning,” commented Giunti Labs’ CEO, Fabrizio Cardinali.”

A blog called ‘Future-Making Serious Games‘ provides more information

    “[…] The Serious Games Institute has partnered with Cisco and Giunti Labs to turn all of Coventry University into a meshed real-world/virtual-world learning environment.

To help the Institute build a platform for modeling the real campus, students at Coventry can activate educational content based on their physical movement across the real campus or the digital movement across the virtual campus.

The system is based on Cisco wireless location services and Giunti’s learn eXact content management system. Any existing digital content can be applied to either mobile or virtual learning devices based on location….”

There must be something in the air then. This ‘dual reality’ as a subsequent post in the same blog calls it is something I’ve been pondering for archaeology and history teaching and learning. My approach was much less tech heavy – and maybe ought not to be considered in the same breath as what is being discussed at Coventry. Still – if it works for a university campus, it ought to work at a major archaeological site like Pompeii or a historic town centre like York…