We were very excited in Term 3 2017 when we were able to work with Gene Geoffrey and our Year 7 students to trial a new program at Timbarra and move into ‘The Virtual Worlds’. It was so popular that Virtual Worlds is a program on offer to all our Year 8 students in 2018 and is timetabled for one full hour each week. This year Jason Holmes is a new member of the Timbarra team, providing the Virtual Worlds program in conjunction with Soundgarage and Year 8 Humanities teachers and Eldin, Timbarra’ s IT technician.
We also offer a recess and a lunchtime and Friday 2:30—3:30pm extra curricula sessions.
A virtual world is a computer-based online community environment that is designed and shared by individuals so that they can interact in a custom-built, simulated world. Users interact with each other in this simulated world using text-based, two-dimensional or three-dimensional graphical models called avatars. Avatars are graphically rendered using computer graphics imaging (CGI) or any other rendering technology. Individuals control their avatars using input devices like the keyboard, mouse and other specially designed command and simulation gadgets. Today’s virtual worlds are purpose-built for entertainment, social, educational, training and various other purposes.
All virtual worlds possess the qualities of persistence and interactivity. This enables the users to explore the inherent benefits of socialization and allows them to study human nature and users’ abilities.
A virtual world may also be called a digital world.
A little bit about Gene Geoffrey
I come from a film making background and have worked for TV Networks, written and produced a TV series for the ABC, feature films and documentaries and still do. My latest documentary titled Caveman Calling was released in January 2018. Through my journey in life I also had the opportunity to work with young people, working in film and multimedia at number of government schools across Victoria. I love working with students and mentoring as their ideas come to life. One of the multi media projects I developed a number of years ago was The Virtual World which is an ICT tool. Students have generally found this deeply engaging as The Virtual World gives young people a place in which they create and design a world of their choice and build a society with rules and laws of their own making. It is a place to test out how the real world works with all its wonders and flaws.
A little bit about Jason Holmes
Jason has a prominent background in music, Jason has toured extensively nationwide and internationally with ARIA award winning artist Seth Sentry, most notably performing on the Jimmy Kimmel show.
Jason gained teaching experience as a workshop facilitator in a number of community organisations, including The Arts Centre, Barkly Arts Centre, Footscray Community Arts Centre, and Yarra Youth Services. Jason is also part of the Musical Futures team at Doveton College, where he assists with the brand new Multimedia course. About his new role at Timbarra, Jason states:
“I’m excited to see the imagination of the students come to life, with the help of the Virtual Worlds software! It’s incredible to watch the students wrap their heads around complex designs, and work together to achieve their goals”.
Virtual Worlds is a program that we introduced in Term 4, 2017 with our Year 7 Humanities classes. At first we didn’t know what to expect from the concept and introducing it in our classrooms was completely foreign to us. However, working closely with Gene, Jason, and Eldin, we’ve had a great amount of success implementing it in our Humanities course for Year 8. We’re conducting a semester long mission in which the students will build a space craft capable of travelling to Mars and supporting the development of colonies on Mars. We have integrated the study of Civics, Economics, and Geography and are teaching some of the practical aspects of these subjects through the virtual world. We’re hoping to continue the development of the program this year so we can continue to provide this unique opportunity in the years to come.
The images are of the introduction to the Virtual World unit from 2017