Virtual Worlds: A New Frontier for Integrated Self Expression

This was moblogged… and I arrived late, so it’s a bit rough even though I’ve re-written much of it after the fact. I didn’t capture a meaningful picture, so I’m leaving this post text only.

I walked in during a video of students playing a game. I wasn’t able to sus out all of the context. Then the presenter began Stage 2 of her presentation, but I didn’t catch the title in time. However, another participant shared some of the related links that had already been presented. Three were new to me:

She then proceeded to give us a tour of one of the virtual worlds she was working in with students. I noted that there were tons of “worlds” on her server. She showed us one with piers (over a sort of virtual shoreline) and a variety of content areas represented. Sadly, we could hardly hear her… I’m sure it was great stuff but we could hardly hear her at all, especially over the water sound effect of the world, which was blaring on her computer speakers. Amazingly she was also answering IMs! (I’ve been guilty of this from time to time in a workshop, but never in the middle of a presentation segment.)

At any rate, back to the tour… the storyline is embedded into the game world. She showed us a “gene machine” which allows students to create genetically accurate DNA. Very cool. Unfortunately much of what she showed was just not connecting with me, perhaps because the images on the screen held very little meaning for me.

In any case, it was interesting to hear that they have 3D modelers working with the kids to offload the burden of designing and programming 3D objects. They also look for free (or donated) models. I was hoping I could more about what platform they’re using at their website.

Everything she showed was kid created. For instance, “Liz put that piece of mars down.” The students got really excited when they realized they could put their own recordings in.

During the Q&A I couldn’t hear… and she didn’t repeat the questions. But I did hear that these worlds may be available for others with paid registration. Someday they may be free. For an example, see the Vangough World at activeworlds (above)… Or The Bar from Cassablanca (at the same link).

My ending comment: I’ll have to look into this stuff, but for now it’s back to the bloggers cafe for juice – for the macbook and me.

Sweet! I just noticed this session will be available as a video from ISTE. I’ll link to it as soon as it’s available.

Session Link: Virtual Worlds: A New Frontier for Integrated Self Expression

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