The Avatar Project is a Vichealth funded Victoria University administered program researching the mental health of teens in virtual environments, specifically issues such as community engagement, self esteem, and self determination.
Over the past three years the Avatar Project has been working with a range of schools and organisations in Melbourne. Many students we work with lack basic literacy skills, are not engaged by traditional classroom teaching and are at risk of not reaching their full potential once they leave school.
Taking these students into a virtual 3d environment allows them the freedom to not only express themselves and gain a sense of control over their lives, but also to learn educational skills in a fun way including a wide range of subject matter including maths, science, english, history, art, design and of course multimedia. Many students are already regular computer users and take to Second Life like ducks to water, and we work actively with the school’s teachers to incorporate Second Life-based activities into students’ existing educational curricula.
The Avatar Project is proud to have recently been awarded Community Technology Innovator of the Year by Connecting Up, which showcases the best in community-focused web, telecommunications and core technology strategies in nonprofit, business and government settings.
The project is currently in the research phase, with several publications due later this year (2009).
We have established a sustainable working relationship with the schools and young people involved, thanks to the continued support of Vichealth and SFYS.
This project is supported by;
and administered by;