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My specific research discipline is the use of information and communication technologies in education. I discuss the reasons why in the section on change; but the valuable role that technology plays in education is, for me, how it facilitates new forms of interaction between people. Most of my research therefore has not been focused on content design, for example accessing materials from content repositories, but on technologies that enable people to communicate at a distance with each other, and how this transforms the experience of learning, and the learners themselves.

The two technologies that have enabled this to a greater extent than any others, from my observations, are videoconferencing and virtual worlds. Most of my research has involved one or other of these technologies. I’ve therefore described them here in two parallel accounts over my career.


Virtual worlds




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