Sunday, June 7, 2009

Introducing Team Tut: Rezzable's Pedagogy in OpenSim and Second Life

Meeting RightAsRain
Location: Valley of the Kings

I was honored to get a ping from Hamlet Au at New World Notes, asking if I might meet Rezzable's CEO, RightAsRain Rimbaud, as he gathers a team of higher-ed faculty and technologists to look at the pedagogical opportunities of the company's Heritage Key site. The star of this project, as he has been on the other side of the screen, is the boy-king Tutankhamun.

Heritage Key, a Web portal for wonders of the ancient world, includes a virtual experience using OpenSim technology. The Second Life region serves as an showcase of one region, while a much larger virtual OpenSim world is hosted on Rezzable's servers..

After briefly sending Iggy to SL to meet Rimbaud, we moved to OpenSim, where my avatar, "IggyO Heritage," looked a lot like Ron Glass from the old Barney Miller sitcom.
IggyO Heritage and Da King
IggyO did his best noob duckwalk following Rimbaud's tour of the regions housing the treasures of Tut's tomb. We began our tour at a facsimile of Howard Carter's camp in the Valley of the Kings. Some goals for Team Tut emerged:
  • Provide feedback from a variety of academic fields.
  • Note areas where lesson-plans and other materials might work with the Tut exhibits.
  • Suggest interactive parts such as quests and games for students.
That's only the beginning. I'll be sharing my impressions of Rezzable's efforts here soon. For now, I'll just say that my first impression was awe. I took in the Tut show two years back, and even that scattering of artifacts opened a window into a world as unlike our own as anything I've seen in SL. Now the trick, for Rezzable and Team Tut, will be to find ways to engage easily bored Millennial students with the content.
Carters Camp
Rezzable has made some incredible content in Second Life, such as the madly creative Greenies regions. I look forward to taking my class to that, and of course the Tut builds, this fall.

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