Coventry Uni creates mobile and virtual serious gaming environment

Coventry University has joined with Cisco and Giunti Labs to create a unique mobile and virtual learning environment in its Serious Games Institute.

Coventry University has joined with Cisco and Giunti Labs to create a unique mobile and virtual learning environment in its Serious Games Institute.

The Serious Games Institute (SGI) is the first of three new institutes being opened at the Coventry University Technology Park. The SGI aims to support regional development through game-based learning and interactive digital media resources for a range of uses.

The university wanted to give its SGI a technology platform to build a digital model of the campus building, so that students' movements in both the real building and its virtual reconstruction could trigger location based access to learning content and experiences.

This means that content can be pushed to students by the most suitable method for their location and the device they are using.

The solution uses Cisco wireless location services to track real-world positions and movements integrated within the Giunti Labs learn eXact learning content management system.

The Giunti Labs software also allows any form of digital learning content to be repurposed "on the fly" for use either in the virtual SGI environment or via any device connected to the Coventry University Cisco wired and wireless networks.

Giunti Labs, SGI and Cisco are also planning to start work on what they call "extended positioning" - that is, the standard inter-working and interoperability of position detection systems within real and virtual copies of the same facility.

These systems will help enable students visiting a place, either in the real world or online, to meet - despite being physically separated by thousands of miles. The capability is being brought about by real-world and avatar-based positioning.

"Blending mobile and virtual world technologies has unmatched potential for producing effective technology-based learning," said Giunti Labs' CEO, Fabrizio Cardinali.

The SGI deployment is part of a much wider transformational project by Coventry University. It wants to create a smart campus by 2010 that will help it take on more UK and overseas undergraduate and doctoral students, improve student and staff satisfaction, achieve a 50% annual growth in applied research income, and create a series of leading applied research centres and groups.

John Latham, pro vice-chancellor for business development at the university, said, "Our SGI has a number of advanced virtual learning capabilities, such as drag-and-drop positioning of digital learning contents, three-dimensional hotspot positioning, and triggering and tracking of learning content by an avatar."

He sdaid, "We also have the tools and functionality for the creation, packaging and management of Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)-compliant content, which can be contextualised and delivered to Windows Mobile 5 personal digital assistants within the SGI Cisco Wi-Fi network."

Location based content can also be reused on other virtual worlds platforms, such as Forterra and Second Life, he said.

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