Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What Educators Want in a Virtual World: All

Location: VWER meeting, Aug. 2

Late in July, I published my lists of wants for in-world features and technical features for a educational virtual world that I would build, had I time and money enough. Then I put the issue before 23 members of the Roundtable. Here is their list of wants:
  • Cross-platform & mobile friendly
  • Non-mesh build options
  • Cross-world travel and inventory control
  • Accessibility for users with visual and hearing impairments, such as easily visible icons, as well as text-to-speech and speech-to-text support
  • Media on a Prim (MOAP), including Flash support
  • Integration with Kinect & similar interfaces
  • Ability for students under 18 to access content (with my caveat of "freedom of, and from, adult content)
  • Better system for notecards
  • Working economy where content creators can be paid for their work but as JeanClaude Volmar warned us, "Just don’t make the economy so tightly coupled to the creator to render objects useless like it is in SL."
  • Avatar puppeteering and webcam support
  • Better permissions systems to allow more flexibility with collaborative builds
It seems we do "want it all," and many VWER members want a virtual world as a primary tool for teaching.

As readers know, I tend to agree with VWER participant Alan Sandalwood, who noted "I worry that we would try to do everything in VW; It’s a tool to be used judiciously."

My own students say a version of this: "what's the point? Our parents pay high tuition to be taught by a PhD in a classroom." For them, VWs are worthwhile for limited simulations or a field trip to see content otherwise unavailable. Other educators will use the technology differently and, in many cases, in transformative ways.

To read the Aug. 2 transcript, click here.


iliveisl said...

non-mesh! i'm 100% on board with you on that one (and all the other ones are great too) =)

Iggy O said...

I recall how John Lester showed me a WONDERFUL item for sale at Turbosquid. I was about to buy it for the Usher simulation--it being far beyond my skill level--when I saw it priced at $39US.

For the stray high-profile item, fancy mesh will be fine. But at that rate, furnishing a single room would have cost me hundreds of bucks. So I went back to building with prims and free uploads.

That's the budget for most educators--cheap and free. And unless we have students with advanced skills in 3D modeling, cheap and free is where we'll stay.

iliveisl said...

Sims don't have to be photorealistic to be excellent educational resources - no more than a text book does =)

the words of Plato still hold value, despite being low tech

Josain said...

I can see LL looking at our wish lists, saying "That's a lot of work. Let's ignore them and maybe they will go away."
Oh, wait, that's already policy.

Unknown said...

Poor mesh! The problems of prims are the excesive number of polygons, then the graphic card creates lag where you can optimize with meshes.

The mesh real problem is design a detailed structure full of profiles and forms, never forget the power of a good texture. I'm still learning how to create a enough mesh for a great texture and vice-versa.

Finally, you don't need be a great creator, a lot of free sites are ready for provide mesh!

Kind regards!

eurominuteman said...

Harvard University
Education Grid Requirements Specifications

Second Life was de-listed 2008 by Immersive Education Initiative iED

Major SL drawback Vendor Lock-in

eurominuteman said...

As Second Life is expanding to the gaming world of Steam, you will see Gamification + Metaverse Virtual Worlds merging into an all-in-one "Cinema Class" platform. Cartoon worlds face a heavy threat now.

Second Life CEO Blog

New World Notes writes:

Why SL's Coming to Steam: To Draw Gamers Who Enjoy "Things Like Garry's Mod", Says Linden CEO Rod Humble

It seems to me that SL/Opensim users will be attracted to Steam (as management platform) and Garry's Mod (as metaverse-capable gamification platform), and not vice-versa, as long as SL/Opensim do not enable cinema class gamification & mobile & TV features. Garry's Mod one-time pricing €9.99 is half as much as Minecraft.

Steam is what SL & Opensim need to finally professionalize their Market Delivery (e.g. 25 languages etc.) & Procurement Capabilities (e.g. consumer protection, defeat of consumer detriment etc.). Will Kitely and other OS utility providers take this step as well?

What is Steam?

- Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform. It is used to distribute games and related media online, from small independent developers to larger software houses. Valve has also announced plans to expand the service to include non-gaming software in the near future. Steam provides the user with install and automatic management of software across multiple computers, community features such as friends lists and groups, cloud saving, and in-game voice, and chat functionality.

What is Garry's Mod?'s_Mod

- GMod has Gamification & Metaverse Virtual World capabilities and meets Educational & Training Requirements. You get it on Steam for one-time €9.99!

Video examples on YouTube:

- Learning Physics with GMod - The Cannonball Problem

- GMod Tornado Chasers in Multi-Player Mode

Join the Facebook group:

Garry's Mod for Education & Training

eurominuteman said...

Gamification >