Academic endeavours

This page is regularly updated with published works and projects to which I have contributed and/or played pivotal roles.

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de Mattos, L.S., Marunchak, A., Ragoonath, R., Bernard, J., Malik, K., Manzoor, S., Lau, I. and Catur, D., THE’GLOBAL CLASSROOM’: SUPPORTED DISTANCE LEARNING LESSONS FOR INTERCULTURAL LEARNING.

The project aims were to highlight the benefits of a global classroom as an accessible way to internationalize teaching and learning experiences, by combining cross-cultural collaboration with technology in Supported Distance Learning (SDL) modes of delivery.

Christensen, I.M.F., Marunchak, A. and Stefanelli, C., 2013. Added value of teaching in a virtual world. In The immersive Internet (pp. 125-137). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

This chapter discusses the educational potential of virtual worlds and the challenges faced when using them to facilitate communication and learning. Virtual worlds can be a valid means of engaging with and motivating younger audiences in today’s digital culture. They provide an authentic context in which students can participate in meaningful learning activities. The conclusion states that innovation is needed to successfully implement virtual world learning and technology into the classroom. Variables to be considered when embarking on educational design using virtual worlds involve the use of avatars and associated implications, the need for policies to govern the virtual locale, the competences required to design virtual content and activities, and not least attention to hardware and network requirements.

Porter, P.R. and Marunchak, A., 2011. Three-Dimensional Animation Technology: a New Interactive Model Designed for the Teaching of Cryospheric Science. AGUFM, 2011, pp.ED24B-07.

One of the key challenges facing educators in the cryospheric sciences is to explain to students the processes that operate and the landforms that exist in relatively unfamiliar glacial environments. In many cases these environments are also largely inaccessible which can hinder field-based teaching. This is particularly the case for en-glacial and sub-glacial hydrology and the closely related topic of sub-glacial glacier dynamics, yet a full understanding of these subject areas is pivotal to overall student understanding of glaciology. An ability to visualise these unfamiliar and inaccessible environments offers a potentially powerful tool to assist student conceptualisation and comprehension. To address this we have developed a three-dimensional interactive ‘virtual glacier’ simulation model. Based on standards and technology established by the rapidly evolving video gaming industry, the user is presented with an interactive real-time three-dimensional environment designed to accurately portray multiple aspects of glacial environments.

AVATAR International Workshop on the Added value ofTeaching in virtual worldsBurgas, Tuesday, 13 September 2011
EU Programme: LLP 2007-2013, Comenius
Project Number: 502882-LLP-1-2009-1-IT-COMENIUS-CMP

AVATAR was an action-research project aimed at teaching secondary school teachers how to use virtual worlds in education and to pilot pedagogically-rich learning scenarios with pupils. The project took place over three years and lay the foundation for a second running based on the findings of the founding principles. Multiple partners from across Europe contributed to the project.

Click here for the executive summary

REDNET EU The First International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) – Book of Abstracts p. 70, 12-13 March 2012 Hotel Benzcur Budpaest, Hungary

During the last decade there has been a sharp change in the social, cultural and political context of drug addiction, which has led to unprecedented new challenges. It has been documented that increasing numbers of unregulated websites are dedicated to the dissemination of novel recreational drugs, which may well have long-term effects on users’ health. Unfortunately, young and problematic individuals are amongst the most at risk of taking advantage of online available information. My role in the project involved disseminating information through various virtual worlds, including Second Life.

Power, P., 2011. Enhancing the student learning experience through interactive virtual reality simulation. Journal of Paramedic Practice, 3(8), pp.447-449.

Context: I was approached by the author of the article with the task of creating an interactive multi-user 3D environment with a view to using it as a means of formative assessment. I authored the environment and trained staff in its use whilst ensuring that data was able to be recorded reliably and supervised the assessment. Credit is given at the end of the article.