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Virtual Worlds You Can Touch!

25 Oct

Last month’s LearningFest event saw me introducing a light-weight virtual world to be used with/without an interactive white board. Graphics are not fantastic and not meant for one-to-one but hey, it did excite people ūüėČ

Edusim is a free and open source multi-user 3D Open Cobalt virtual world platform and authoring toolkit intended for classrooms interactive whiteboard (but equally powerful on the students laptop or desktop computers!). This allows for multiple classrooms to connect their interactive whiteboards for collaborative learning session.

Edusim application is a modified edition of the open source Open Cobalt Project and relies heavily on the affordances of direct manipulation of 3D virtual learning models and Constructionist Learning Principles. Edusim as a concept seeks to engage student through “immersive touch” by leveraging 3D virtual environments on the interactive surface or classroom interactive whiteboard.

Here’s how easy to get yourself started in just three easy-peasy steps:

  1. Edusim 3D Virtual World platform: http://tinyurl.com/Edusim
  2. Google SketchUp for 3D Modelling: http://sketchup.google.com/
  3. Google 3D Warehouse to download FREE 3D Models (in KMZ format for use in Edusim) for non-commercial use: http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/
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Sketch Life: Modelling for Second Life made easier!

19 Aug

Love Google Sketch-up but unable to deploy the models in Second Life?

Well, in such a situation, there are other solutions such as using Google Earth as your virtual world platform or a platform that I am very familiar with, OpenWonderland.

If Second Life is a must for you, then Sketch Life might be just the thing for you!

Sketch Life allows you to export your Sketch-up models to be deployed in Second Life (SL). The video below shows you how quick and easy it is to get your models up and running into SL:-

VRshed (developers of Sketch Life) provided a detailed tutorial on how to import a model from Google 3D Warehouse, edit and export for SL using Sketch Life. The tutorial can be viewed here – http://vrshed.com/sketchlife/tutorial.html

For those who have yet to try Google Sketch-up, try their detailed video tutorials and you can never go wrong!

If you are not quite ready for any of the above, let’s take some baby steps, shall we? Give Google Building Maker a shot!¬†Building Maker is a 3D modeling tool for adding buildings to Google Earth. It’s fun to use, and an easy way to get on the 3D map.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Select a city from around the world.
  2. Make a building with photos we provide.
  3. Save your building and it will be reviewed.
  4. See your 3D building in Google Earth… with millions of others!

Get your hands dirty with some 3D and have fun ya’ll!

Virtual Worlds: Yay or Nay?

21 Jun

Virtual worlds are often related to idealistic applications in education. Or rather any application that contains “virtual” in it’s name, are categorized so.

In my previous employment, I got the opportunity to work on multiple virtual world projects. Majority of those were for the education sector. It was very refreshing to see that at least a handful of educational institutes here in Singapore, understand it’s demand and are investing time, money and manpower in building “fantasy worlds” to engage their learners in challenging topics.

Last week I was involved in a serious discussion to roll-out some form of virtual world project in my current workplace. There were lots of areas we spoke about but the following were the key points:-

  • How does the 3rd dimension help in learning?
  • What does the 3rd dimension do that 2-dimensions are not able to do?
  • In what situations do we deploy virtual worlds?
  • Virtual worlds should not be mirror worlds. They should be “fantasy worlds” that allow you to perform tasks that you are not able to do so in the real world.
  • How do we leap from our current level?
  • How do learners construct and demonstrate knowledge in a 3D virtual environment?

Lots of thinking went into this whole conversation. And the conclusion was, we will give it a go but the first impression will either make or break the situation. I totally agree!

Currently, very hard at work. Preparing the best I can. But I am going to share with you some stuff so that if such a need arises for you (or else you can always create the need right?), you know where/how to start…

Virtual worlds were created using OpenWonderland