One of the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on education was the unprecedented expansion of online teaching and learning. While increased remote education has many benefits, we need to carefully consider the Tools and Applications that enable them. With widely used video conferencing tools we have seen concerns such as the lack of personal interaction and social engagement, “Zoom fatigue”, etc. Therefore, setting up alternative learning spaces for your students that are different from your extensively used tools can be a way to address that. Virtual Environments (VEs) play a key role here. There are many tools and applications (e.g., Mozilla Hubs, heyhubbub.com, spatial.io, spatial.chat, sococo.com, gather.town and wonder.me) that can be used to develop VEs that emulate real-world interactions.
In this session, we aim to give you a brief overview of these widely available VEs in the market and to go through one of them; gather.town. We will discuss how this tool can be used as a learning space, through the use and optimisation of some of its in-built features and by sharing how some learning activities can be adapted to such a space.