A Virtual Worlds Miscellany

Clearing out my unread mail and inbox, found lots of posts saved for later. Below a selection of tit-bits and links relating to education in virtual worlds.

MOSES is the US military OpenSim virtual world. Apparently this was started after Linden Lab removed support for the Second Life Enterprise software for behind the firewall solutions. There seems to be a sizeable grid there already.

Aurora Sim is a recent fork of OpenSim, from the people behind the Imprudence line of Second Life/Open Sim viewers. Aurora claims better LSL support and better physics than regular OpenSim, amongst a wide range of other modifications large and small. More details here. Add-ons such as the Web-UI front-end are also available.

Going back a fair while (showing just how much my inbox was in need of a good clear out!), I found a link to a paper on Experiential Learning in Multi-User Virtual Environments by Baba Weusijana and colleagues, published in the now-defunct Innovate Online:

Multiuser virtual environments (MUVEs) like Second Life present unparalleled opportunities to help students connect knowledge by description to knowledge by experience; in a MUVE, students can experience phenomena rather than only reading about them. Baba Kofi Weusijana, Vanessa Svihla, Drue Gawel, and John Bransford describe their use of a maze constructed in Second Life to help students experience firsthand the phenomena described in their educational psychology course. Their use of Second Life is particularly notable in its use of MUVE-based movies and other strategies to leverage Second
Life’s interactive powers for exploration despite restricted access to technology. The examples they present can hopefully lead to new designs and uses of virtual environments that allow students to experience relevant phenomena and enable researchers to conduct additional experiments of virtual, experience-rich additions to traditional ways to teach and learn.

Stephanie Cobb and colleagues report on “The Learning Gains and Student Perceptions of a Second Life Virtual Lab” in Bioscience Education, published by the Higher Education Academy (UK):

The SL practical was well received by students, with 92% of participants reporting that they would like to use the system again and many requesting other experiments to be made available in this manner in the future.

More miscellany to follow, as I continue the great email clear-out (down from 800+ un-read emails in my inbox, plus hundreds of read mail, to under 100 emails in my inbox, total. Of course, this is just one of my email accounts I’m dealing with…)

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