Virtual Reality

[page last updated 2009.2.7.a]

Virtual reality is “a technology which allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment, be it a real or imagined one.”

VR can be used for education as well as entertainment.

There are a number of virtual realities available online.

Second Life

Second Life

Second Life

Second Life is being used in a number of educational ways.  Both private and public educational efforts are utilizing the simulated environment for training sessions and providing online “stores” and classes at a low cost with a lot of creative freedom.

Basic use of Second Life is free, and users can create an “avatar” which can be clothed, or decorated, in the manner they prefer (and can purchase assistance in doing that from other users).  The avatars can be accurate or not, realistic or not (you could find yourself dancing with someone’s avatar that looks like a giant cartoon character inside Second Life!), and gravity is not necessarily a limitation (your avatar can fly like a superhero!).

Second Life Grid for Business, Education, Government Departments and Nonprofits covers the uses and methods for businesses, educators, etc., to use Second Life in practical ways.

Second Life Insider is the site for learning about Second Life, including how to articles, news, discussions, live events such as lectures and concerts, and other features.

The Alliance Virtual Library (a.k.a. Info Island) is a site for the Second Life Library Project, which intends “to extend the programs currently offered online to librarians and library users to the Second Life virtual environment. Many libraries of all kinds offer events, lectures, exhibit, collections and training in Second Life.”

Second Life Education Wiki (a.k.a. Simteach) covers the use of Second Life for educators, with a blog, a wiki, a forum, and other aids.

Second Life in Education wiki is another wiki for educators, which explores the possibilities for education and some of the sites created.

News in Second Life varies from the official Linden Lab site to the Second Life News Network (SLNN) to the more critical Second Life Herald.

There are also a a number of specialized mailing lists, including one for Educators.

Just Leap In

Just Leap In is a beta site which is intended for a minimum commitment — from you and from your computer.  No software needed other than your browser.

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