Virtual trenches immerse students in First World War poetry

The First World War Poetry Digital Archive and the Learning Technologies Group at Oxford University have collaborated on a JISC-funded project in Second Life to simulate areas of the Western Front in the 1914-18 World War

This project, uses  a range of digitised archival materials like poetry manuscripts, letters and diaries from the major poets of the First World War including Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg and Vera Brittain, along with contextual primary source materials. These materials have been supplemented with new interpretative content,  interactive tools and tutorials, streaming video and audio effects.

Kate Lindsay, project manager, said: “Virtual worlds create opportunities to do things that are impossible in real museums. By simulating parts of the Western Front, we can embed an entire exhibition’s worth of content within in the space. This can be further enhanced by placing digital versions of real archival materials and narratives along the paths that visitors take. The result is an immersive and personal experience. It’s not ‘real’ but it does offer possibilities for understanding a part of history that is now beyond human memory.”

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