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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



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ReCALL 30(2): 153–160. 2018 © European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning 153 doi:10.1017/S0958344018000022


“… the new forms of interaction made possible by virtual worlds remain, to a significant degree, unexplored.” (Peterson, 2011: 78) “… immersion and interaction are necessary conditions of worldhood. Without them, virtual worlds would not be worlds at all.” (Zabel, 2014: 417) Since the mid-1990s, the pedagogical opportunities offered by three-dimensional (3D) virtual worlds (VWs) have generated a considerable amount of interest and dialogue among educators and educational researchers across a variety of disciplines. The potential of VWs for language learning and teaching did not go unnoticed by the CALL community: language educators and researchers began to explore and to study these environments and their unique set of features for foreign language learning (Henderson, Huang, Grant & Henderson, 2009; Jauregi & Canto, 2012; Milton, Jonsen, Hirst & Lindenburn, 2012; Peterson, 2006; Schwienhorst, 2004; Sykes, 2005; Zheng & Newgarden, 2012; Zheng, Young, Wagner & Brewer, 2009). In parallel, several European Union (EU) transnational funded projects also emerged for the exploration of the affordances of VWs for language learning and acquisition, such as the NIFLAR, TILA, and ARCHI21 projects, and for the creation of teaching and learning materials (e.g. the AVALON, TALETE, and CAMELOT projects). In 2010, the Euroversity Network was established with EU funding to bring together international scholars and researchers working with VWs in education for the sharing of best practice and with a clear focus on VWs for language learning. The joint EUROCALL/ CALICO Virtual Worlds Special Interest Group was also founded around this time.