Participants will walk away with: An overall understanding of virtual worlds, and their uses particularly in education. Participants will understand the options in order to make the right choice for their own educational endeavors. Finally, participants will leave with the understanding of the virtual world creation components necessary for success. Appeal: Virtual world in education have exploded over the last two years but, for the most part, Second Life has been the only game in town. Now there is an alternative, and it is the same thing (but better and growing rapidly). Before abandoning virtual worlds or committing to Linden Labs and Second Life, the alternatives need to be known. In fact, the alternatives must be known as Linden Labs discontinued its discount to educators and non-profit organizations). This workshop serves to provide the information necessary to make an informed choice. In addition, the learning curve to get started can be steep. How the learning curve can be minimized will be presented.
I. Introductions - Presenter / Attendees Learning Objective: Ice Breaker / Get to Know Everyone
II. Virtual Worlds in Perspective (Presentation / Demonstrations / Discussion Learning Objective: Participants will obtain a perspective of virtual worlds, and most of all, will walk away with an understanding of the future of virtual worlds and their relevance to education at all levels. In addition, participants will understand OpenSim and how it will either replace Second Life or co-exist with it. Format: Slides, Immersive demonstrations in virtual worlds, Interactive Questions / Answers, and Discussion relative to participant's personal interest in virtual worlds. Topics: * The History of Virtual Worlds - What are They? * What is Second Life (and significance) * What is OpenSimulator (OpenSim) - Others? * The Big Players - Education / Business * Virtual Worlds a future for Education and Business (and the Internet) * Learning Theory, Pedagogy, and Virtual Worlds * Demonstrations throughout this segment - Immersive Experience * Discussion / Questions
III. Using Virtual Worlds - Getting Started Learning Objective: Participants will be exposed to the choices of virtual world technology, and where they can be applied to specific situations. The learning curve necessary will be presented with the intention of making participants feel comfortable with getting started with minimal resources and expenditure. A variety of options will be provided. Format: Few slides, Demonstrations of the alternatives, Interactive Questions / Answers, brainstorming to provide individual solutions. Topics: * Should I Use Second Life or OpenSim? * Other Options * The Learning Curve * Brainstorming of Ideas and Implementation * The Costs and Commitments * Interactive and Immersive Demonstrations * Discussion / Questions
IV. Interactive Session - Exploring Virtual Worlds Learning Objective: In a simple, and very limited technical way, participants will be exposed to the virtual world user interfaces, the server environment, and the individual components used to create immersive virtual environments. Virtual worlds are, in essence, a Serious Game, therefore, the relevance to game theory will be understood. This is important in the creation of successful virtual world learning environments. Format: If in a computer lab, this will be a hands-on session. A computer lab is not necessary (hands-on can be alternately presented). If not in a computer lab, participants will be exposed to the basic building components through an interactive demonstration. Understanding how these components fit together will be highlighted. Topics: * The Virtual World Interfaces * Solid Game Architecture Foundation * Avatars, identity, textures, building, animating, scripting, particle systems, etc. * Developing an interactive and immersive experience - what makes success?