“Virtual Worlds – Best Practices
in Education” Conference
March 27-29, 2009 in Second Life. Following considerable SLED list debate on the “future” of the SL education conference – especially, apparently, from those MUVE “believers” who who want a “real life” gabfest experiences that one travels to – Pathfinder Linden has posted an interesting interview with Kevin Feenan (pictured, SL: Phelan Corrimal ), the general chair of the conference, which will be held entirely in Second Life, rather than having a real life base. Taking its lead from a number of previous successful conferences – the Second Life Best Practices in Education Conference in May 2007, the SLCC07 in Chicago, and the SLEDcc in Tampa in 2008 – the SLEBPE has been revived under the banner of Virtual Worlds because of the increase in virtual worlds which successfully cater for education, such as OpenSim, IMVU, Club Penguin, WoW, Wonderland, Entropia etc . For all those who complain about the “closed world, commercial” nature of Second Life – and there are a number – Feenan has a message. He sees the future of the conference being “dictated by the way the educational community uses virtual collaborative environments”. “In the short term, definitely a heavy focus on Second Life,” he said. ” However, as avatars are increasingly able to teleport between virtual worlds I see the conference following those changes and perhaps expanding to bridge knowledge gaps that may develop as other virtual communities get established. And to bring back to this environment (SL) solutions that may not be so evident here because we don’t have to overcome the same challenges to get something to work.” For free registration: http://www.vwbpe.org.
Another new kid
ready to debut …
Stanford University plans to launch Sirikata, a BSD licensed open source platform for virtual worlds, in alpha release soon. The team behind the project which is being done in conjunction with Intel’s Cable Beach Project aims to provide a set of libraries and protocols which can be used to deploy a virtual world, as well as fully featured sample implementations of services for hosting and deploying these worlds. The video-teaser for the project is fascinating, and shows just where OpenSim technology is going. It appears to show a compelling, easy-to-use virtual world with realistic avatars and movement. For techies the lengthy discussion about Intel’s efforts in the open virtual world space and getting outside the “walled garden” scenario between Intel’s John Hurliman, Stanford’s Ewen Cheslack-Postava, Daniel Horn and Henrik Bennetsen provides an interesting background to the project. . Besides disclosing that Intel is currently working on connectors for all VW worlds, the conversation ranged from the technical approach to the work and ended with more general comments. But at 51 minutes it is long and could have done with considerable editing..
There is another video in which Cheslack-Postava and Horn give a briefing on Sirikata which, for techies, also is worthwhile.
Meanwhile Nick Wilson (pictured), over at Clever Zebra, has predicted that open source rather than interoperability will drive the masses to virtual worlds. He lists the top three technologies researchers/educators/businesses should be investigating right now as OpenSim, Wonderland and Open Croquet, with Solipsis and Sirikata waiting in the wings.