Education in virtual worlds

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The ISTE help desk.

Welcome to the Wikiversity learning project for exploring how virtual worlds can be used in education.

Introduction[edit]

This learning project provides tutorials and guided tours about educational resources located in virtual worlds.

Second Life[edit]

Before you try to visit the Second Life virtual world, note the System Recommendations.

Figure 1. Chat between two people using Second Life: location, EduIsland II, coordinates (22, 222, 33).

Activity: visit Second Life.

  • Download the Second Life client software (Windows, Mac OSX, Linux).
  • Launch the Second Life client software on your computer. Click the "new account" button. This should connect your browser to the Second Life registration page.
    • registration requirements: You must provide an email address and select a username and password. Basic user accounts are free. After you create an account, they send you an email that allows you to activate the account. Reminder: you may have to look in your junk mail folder to find their email.
  • Enter your username and password into the Second Life client software on your computer. You should connect to Second Life and find yourself in a location where there is help for learning how to move within the Second Life virtual world.
    • Tip. Before you start getting useful information from typed chat with other Second Life participants, you might want to activate logging of your chat. In the "Edit" menu of the Second Life window, click on "Preferences" and then the "Communications" tab in order to find the logging prefs.
  • Teleport. EduIsland (info: this place does not exist anymore) was created within the Second Life virtual world as a place for educators to explore Second Life. Visit the EduIsland II location shown in Figure 1.
    • SLurl. SLurl provides a way to reach locations in the Second Life virtual world by clicking on hypertext links.
    • If you click on this link you should reach a webpage at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Eduisland+II/22/222/33 which shows a map and provides links that say "Visit this location" and "teleport now".
    • If you click on either the "Visit this location" or "teleport now" link you should get to a window in the Second Life client software that looks like Figure 2. Click on the "teleport" button in that "World map" window. You should then find yourself in the location shown in Figure 1 (SLolar Central).
Figure 2. Teleporting to a map location in Second Life. Click the image to enlarge.

Moving to locations by name[edit]

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has a location within Second Life. While using Second Life, click the "map" button and enter "ISTE" into the space to the left of the "search" button. Click search. It should change the text to "ISTE Island". Click on the "teleport" button. You should be teleported to the ISTE Island as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. International Society for Technology in Education at Second Life (ISTE Island).

Landmarks. Sometimes a help desk/kiosk will give you a Second Life "landmark". Landmarks are like bookmarks and you can keep them in your Second Life Inventory and use them to return to places you have been. You can create a new landmark at anytime: select "create landmark here" from the "World" menu. Click the "inventory" button to view and use your landmarks. Double click on a landmark in your inventory and then click the "teleport" button in the window that opens.

Building[edit]

Figure 4. A newly built Second Life primitive.

Figure 4 shows a sandbox area at Genome (110, 99, 26) and a new primitive object. You can create new primitives using the "build" button.

You may also create by right-clicking in an area that allows building (a sandbox, your own land, or land that your group owns) and selecting Create from the pie menu.

Building is accomplished by creating and modifying primitive shapes (referred to as prims). A textual explanation of various editing features is located here USE AND ABUSE OF PRIMS. The number of prims a simulator may contain is limited. Right clicking on the land will reveal the "About Land" option. This provides information about land ownership and number of prims on that land (as well as many other details).

For video based tutorials, search YouTube for tutorials created by Torley Linden.

Jargon.
Rez <-- read the definition at the Second Life History wiki. As soon as you start reading about how to add content to the Second Life virtual world, you will discover the term "rez" (an object can be in the process of rezzing, once it exists, then it is rezzed).
Sandbox - If you own land in the Second Life virtual world, then you can build on that land. If you do not own land, you can still build in some locations, such as designated sandbox areas.

Reading:
The Building Series: Part 1 - Example of a blog about Second Life.
Activities. Go to Kuula. There is an information board (see Figure 5) with useful resources. Click on "Building Stuff" for some useful information that will help you build things in the Second Life virtual reality. If you do not want to read instructions, try this hands on tutorial for working with Second Life primitives.

Light sources: Light - some older tutorials tell you that you can make a primitive, a light source, by using the "materials" drop-down menu while editing. However, this option is now in the "features" tab.

Mac delete key.png

Deletion. Macintosh trick: while building and deleting unwanted primitives, use the "delete" key that is next to the "end" key.

Resources and Reading[edit]

Linden Scripting Language[edit]

The Linden Scripting Language is what controls the behavior of objects inside the Second Life virtual world. You should get a "Linden Scripting Language Guide" in HTML format when you download the Second Life client software. Linden Scripting Language Wiki

A simple script:

default
{
    state_entry()
    {
        llSetText("",<1,1,1>,1.0);   
    }
    on_rez(integer start_param)
    {
        llSetText("",<1,1,1>,1.0);   
    }  
}

Inside Second Life, right click on a primitive you made. Click on the "content" tab. Click the "new script..." button, then double clice "new script..." button then dk on the resulting "new script" in the content list. Remove the default text and past in the text shown above. Type a short description of your primitive between the first "" in the script. Save the script. The description you typed should now appear above the primitive.

Learning resources[edit]

File:Second Nature.png
Figure 6. Biology learning resources at Second Nature.

Places to visit in Second Life with educational resources

Support for nonprofit organizations[edit]

Whyville[edit]

Another option is Whyville. This virtual world can be navigated using only a browser. It has been around since 1999 and is enriched each year with new game, activities and simulations, all geared at explaining concepts through experimentation.

Whyville is a virtual world whose main focus is to provide a safe community for kids and teenager to explore and learn together.

Creating an avatar[edit]

Once in Whyville, creating an avatar is the first way to express creativity. Contrary to most other virtual worlds, in Whyville each part you use to create your avatar can be placed freely anywhere. Moreover tools exist for user to create face parts and sell them for the virtual currency (called clams) to other users, thus experimenting entrepreneurship.

Navigating in Whyville[edit]

From anywhere you can go to either the "Home" page, the "Map" or a selection of "Chat" rooms and games to "Play". From the homepage a drop down menu on a bus on the bottom left allow you to pick the location you are looking for. Finally, once in a chat room, some spot will bring you to the next room if your avatar moves on them , and links below the room itself lead to the closest locations.

Teacher and Students[edit]

As a teacher, you can create an account, this will give you once verified a way to have your student register under you and be added to your class roster. From there you will have a number of tools available to see stats of how the students are using Whyville and what progression they are making. The most support currently available to teachers is for: - Genetics (through a pool of activities around breeding dragons) - Power (learning how it's created , how to manage a grid, what difference exist between different types of power plants, some computation and all of it related to standards) - Mathematics (many puzzles available with tools to create plans and group your kids to help use them in classroom and manage heterogeneity)

Topics covered[edit]

Many different topic can be explored in Whyville some examples are Mathematics (PlayMath TM is currently in beta and only accessible by teachers and their classrooms) (the Dance studio teaches about vectors) Physics (the spin lab - the balloon race - the no gravity room are examples of activity teaching about physics) Nutrition (The Whyeat programm teaches how to balance a diet) Power (whypower teaches a lot about how electricity is produced and conveyed from power plants to homes) Driver Education (a simulation teaches a few of the important rules to observe when driving) Ecology (Green build and recycling games) Game development (the game zone allow you to play games created by others or to create your own) ...

Cost to use[edit]

All you need is a computer with an internet access, otherwise, exploring Whyville is completely free.

See also[edit]