The SLENZ Update – No 71, April 27, 2009

EDUCATION IN SL

A lesson from Mexico

palaceofmining_0011The UNAM Palace of Mining in SL .. and in RL.

Despite the “tabloid” critics of  Second Life and Virtual Worlds educational use of  Second Life and other virtual worlds is becoming more and more  mainstream, especially in the Open University environment.

This growth  has been strikingly demonstrated in world  in world by creation of the virtual campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), a school with more than 300,000 students and the largest university in Latin America.

George Linden in the  Second Life blog details UNAM’s current work on building its campus in Second Life for its Engineering School (11,000 students) Distance Education Programs and also its establishment of connections  with companies in the real world to help take engineering design and training to the next level.

“Developments began in November 2008 but a lot has happened in that short span of time,” Linden said, and that’s somewhat of an understatement.

And as SLENZ joint project leader Dr Clare Atkins noted, “A good example of how education in MUVEs is (possibly) poised to become mainstream in the fairly near future.”

The UNAM’s main center in Second Life (slurl here but access limited) is built to look like the Palace of Mining, considered to be where science first set foot in the Americas. Here there are a wide range of projects including 3d demonstrations involving mathematics, robotics, and engineering, many with adjustable vectors (x, y, and z coordinates) giving hand’s one experience for students.

In  another area UNAM is using Second Life models to act  as a visualization of and an interface for a  real power world plant as in the machinima  below.

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