Monday, May 21, 2007

Virtual Worlds: Students Explore and Relate

The Horizon Project pages for the trend of Virtual Worlds are fascinating! I am looking longingly at the images from Second Life (not enough bandwidth in Bangladesh for this yet!) and reading avidly the research done by the students about the impact of virtual worlds on education, politics and government, and health, science and the environment and arts and entertainment.

The term 'avatar' is becoming second nature to me as I explore this topic. According to the main Virtual Worlds wiki:

"Avatars your 'in-world' representations. Every virtual world uses avatars. Typically, when you begin a virtual world, you create your avatar, and, from then on, your avatar is you. You are your avatar. It's what people see of you in-world, and it's what represents you. Avatars have reached a point where you can edit everything from the skin-tone to the jaw-line to the shoe-size, giving users the chance to truly recreate themselves, or become something completely new."

Some must-watch student videos from the Virtual Worlds wikis.

Virtual Worlds: Impact on Education
Created by Andrew S (Westwood, USA)
This video takes a look at the life of a college student in a virtual world of classes. You will find there is some sophisticated Flash animation supporting Andrew's ideas.

Created by Shakila S (ISD, Bangladesh)
Major features of this video are the special effects and great images. Also, the interview with a local Bangladesh doctor and hearing about the integration of virtual world technology into medicine.

The Role of Virtual Worlds in Politics and Government
Created by Albert (VIS, Austria)
Albert talks about the impact of Second Life on government and politics and relates how in the recent French elections all four of the main candidates had offices with up to 20,000 visitors per day. He makes some excellent points about the use of virtual worlds in the political process.

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