Saturday, December 23, 2006

Your own educational Second Life?

Active worlds is an online environment where you can walk around like in Second Life. The company is positioning themselves as an educational solution as well.

They say:

"The 3D classroom -
Students no longer have to be physically sitting in front of you to learn. Instead, you can create a 3D classroom in which students are present in the form of an avatar (virtual body). Once everyone’s online, you can teach them using chat (typed or VOIP), audio and visual aids including pictures and streaming video. Just like in a real classroom, your students can see and hear what everyone else is saying. But unlike a real classroom, our 3D Web Worlds can be instantly entered by students living all over the world. Once your students have downloaded the browser, they can open it in just one click from the icon on their desktop. Virtual classrooms are the learning tool of the future. What could you achieve in yours?"

You can have a private or public world. Just tried a demo. You can use an integrated webbrowser and links from within the world can be viewed in one half of the spilt screen. Works OK. The performance was not that good. Walking around means that I had to download the whole time and my graphic card of my laptop hold me from enlarging the window.

The costs are OK if you start, a piece of land is 80 euro a year, if you want to upload your own items (like video) it cost an extra 120 euro per year. For 5 extra users you pay 50 euro a year. Don't know if these are named users otherwise it is quite an expensive class if you have to pay for every learner.

I'm having serious doubts if this kind of virtual worlds are as useful as the classical 2-d virtual classrooms like LearnLinc or open source ones. And why would you like to use this Active Worlds environment instead Second Life?

More info at their website.

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