Sunday, July 13, 2008

The title of the course I'll be teaching in the fall, like the title of the blog here, is focused on the exploration of virtual worlds...what they can do, what they can be used for, what their purpose is. While I have Second Life in mind for the bulk of the course since it is, by far, the most user-controlled world I've found, I do want the students to understand it isn't the ONLY virtual world in cyberspace.

So I've checked out There and Alice. I recently made myself a room at Lively. All attempts, although poor ones based on the learning curves needed for each one.

Then I found the Association of Virtual Worlds ...and their Blue Book. Oh, my glory. I knew there were many worlds I wasn't exploring (Club Penquin and Neopets leap to mind), but I had no idea there were so many run by so many different organizations. The sheer number of them certainly brings the Open Sim project into focus for me.

Open Sim is, if I understand it correctly, a project designed to make cross-platform jumping a possibility. I can create an avatar in Second Life and then, without logging out, jump to Open Sim and from there, to my room on Lively. While this is barely out of the lab yet, it's incredible to see the work being done (most of which, admittedly, is over my head). I look at this list of virtual worlds and realize that, someday, we will jump from world to world with the same ease we now move from website to website. And there are some who don't believe this is important?

Moving teachers into virtual worlds won't happen until there's a major shift in educational philosphy. Until then, only those who are willing to bleed a little are going to be out here, and believe me, there are far more adventurers ahead of me. I thank them for leading the charge. I'm just a footsoldier. And if I may stretch this analogy a little further...the majority of teachers are the folks back home who don't come out of their safe places until the rest of us have secure the area. to create a lesson plan with that Blue Book as a guide...


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