1 University College Dublin (IRELAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 1565-1572
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1337
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
In recent years, many countries’ governments have attached great significance to the development of its process of ‘internationalisation’ in higher education. Universities around the world are increasingly under pressure to ‘internationalise’ and to support and embrace multicultural student bodies and learning environments.

In Europe, the authoritative NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition was published in 2015. Concerning the crucial trends accelerating the utilisation of technology in Higher Education, the report reveals that rapidly developing cultures of change and innovation, as well as advances in 'cross-institutional collaboration' will be of great importance to the task of driving forward with technology in the next five years (Johnson et al., 2015). From a broader perspective, it is reasonable to consider that the impact of cross-cultural collaborative learning tools developed for the Higher Education sector will have a positive influence on the development of technology for universities across the world, as well as for the well-being of international students globally.
NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education was published in 2014 and this report investigates the potential impact of emerging technologies on teaching and learning, as well as on the domain of 'creative inquiry' within the area of Higher Education. More interestingly, regarding the significant developments in Educational Technology for Higher Education, the NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education predicts that games and gamification will be adopted within two to three years, and that virtual assistants will be utilised in the next four to five years, in higher education. Both predictions are closely related to this paper's research (Johnson et al., 2014).

SMARTlab research team, University College Dublin (UCD) devoted decades to explore the potential adoption and integration of virtual worlds/virtual reality in a wide range of fields, such as Art, Business, Education, Health Systems, et al. These studies have created a set of original virtual worlds focusing on the needs of specific communities of users (women, children, survivors of abuse, people arising from stroke or coma, and People with Physical Disabilities or Neurological Differences such as Autism Spectrum Disorder). Currently, one of the main works of SMARTlab team is focusing on developing novel 3D virtual platforms for the field of education, and especially for the higher education, such as universities' cross-cultural collaborative learning.

This paper firstly gives a brief history review on the field of Virtual Worlds/Virtual Reality, which including the analysis of several typical virtual worlds projects and some excellent virtual worlds researches from SMARTlab graduates and experts. Then this paper introduces SMARTlab’s research team with two novel 3D virtual worlds platforms: Terf (3DICC) and Innovative 3D Virtual World and Cloud Solutions ( - the second generation of Virtual Worlds as comparison with Second Life. Finally, the paper illustrates that why in the next decides, technologies of virtual worlds are significant to the internationalisation of the higher education.

[1] JOHNSON, L., ADAMS BECKER, S., ESTRADA, V. & FREEMAN, A. 2014. NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
[2] JOHNSON, L., ADAMS BECKER, S., ESTRADA, V. & FREEMAN, A. 2015. NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition.
New Trends in Higher Education, Internationalisation, 3D Technology, Virtual Worlds.