Friday, November 30, 2007

Virtual Worlds - some valuable findings to take home

Yesterday I visited a session on Virtual Worlds. It did not seem really exciting at the time, but after having had some time to digest, there were some points I would like to jot down for my own memory.
- Sun Microsystems is developing a virtual world which will be called Wonderland.
- Surprisingly Second Life has been used for language learning. I guess that the exchange of language was mainly in text and not the spoken word, but it was not discussed further.
- People are expecting Web2.0 to be followed by Web3D, I am not sure I agree at this point in time...
- They gave the sensible advise: Only use 3D when it really adds value to learning and teaching, otherwise it is a pain. A mix (hybrid model) is much more likely using 3D tools in certain tasks and other tools in others. For example combining the use of and Second life.
- An important step will be adding content and integrating other media in the virtual environment.
It will become truly personal if your avatar's expressions are fed by input from your webcam. This will make avatars a lot more lively and make the virtual world much more real. This feature will surely be available in the future. (With special thanks to inspiration from a business proposal in the Dragon's Den programme on the Beeb.)
- 'Just building a stadium (ed: in a virtual world) is not enough. You have to organise it's use'.
- Perhaps a smaller and more straightforward meeting place than Second Life can be offered by Qwaq.

As a clear example of the use of Second Life they suggested training oil-rig staff on escape routes during emergencies. It certainly seems to extremely suited to this use. Running around on an oil rig with virtual fires all around is a lot safer than in real life.

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