Atlanta puts OpenSim in every classroom

Press release: Forsyth County Schools has selected Dreamland Metaverse

ATLANTA, GA – Forsyth County Schools announced today that it has selected Dreamland Metaverse to host the NOBLE Virtual World on the OpenSim platform. The metro Atlanta district, with 35 schools and 38,000 students, is the first major school system in the nation to offer a 3-D virtual world environment to every classroom teacher.

The selection of Dreamland Metaverse was based upon its ability to provide hosted OpenSim virtual world services with extended functionality such as the enterprise-level management of accounts with various levels of user rights, the creation of school groups, and other tools and procedures that ensure a safe and secure online experience for students.

A virtual world is a digital place where people using characters called avatars meet and interact with each other—a chat-room with graphics. Unlike a digital game, a virtual world is not pre-scripted. Because users may create anything they can imagine, a virtual world is an excellence tool for creativity, construction, role playing, experimentation and learning to work with others.

Jill Hobson

“NOBLE stands for New Opportunities for Better Learning Experiences. With NOBLE we can deliver immersive learning adventures that engage students in more authentic and engaging ways,” said Jill Hobson, Director of Instructional Technology at Forsyth County Schools.

“For example,” added Steve Mashburn, the grid-master for NOBLE, “we built a scale model of a section of the Berlin Wall. After visiting the 3-D model, with its guard towers, dog runs, booby-traps and barricades, the students internalized the Soviet repression of East Germany in a real and meaningful way. They developed higher-order thinking skills such as creativity, data analysis and problem-solving by working in teams to devise an escape plan over the wall. They then placed their own graffiti art to the west side of the wall to express their understanding of the Cold War. NOBLE is both a time-machine and an Aladdin’s Lamp.”

Simulation of Berlin Wall built in OpenSim. (Image courtesy Forsyth County Schools.)

Bailey Mitchell

“For the first time, we are no longer constrained by the limitations of time, space and physical resources,” said Bailey Mitchell, Chief Technology and Information Officer for Forsyth County Schools. “Students can build any world they can imagine — from a space station to a medieval castle. They can reenact the moon landing or the signing of the Magna Carta within the NOBLE World. Anything is possible!”

“This program is educational on so many different levels,” added fifth grade teacher Tracey Abercrombie, an early adopter. “I’m excited to bring in the economic lessons of supply and demand as well as profit-loss when they begin buying and selling in their virtual stores. The sense of community that is building through this experience is awesome and I can see talents in my students that I wouldn’t normally get to see. This is the most fun I’ve had in my career!”

Virtual world engages fifth grade students. (Image courtesy Forsyth County Schools.)

Although Forsyth County Schools had attempted to use virtual world technology in the past, concerns about student safety and a lack of management tools prevented the district from fully implementing a virtual world. However, the partnership with Dreamland Metaverse now gives the district a 3-D virtual space that meets their high instructional standards and addresses their concerns for student safety.

About Forsyth County Schools

Forsyth County Schools, the ninth largest school system in Georgia, is recognized throughout the nation as a lighthouse district for utilizing technology to improve student achievement. Through strong collaboration between academics and technology, Forsyth County Schools continues to seek innovative ways to improve the teaching and learning experience while maintaining high expectations for performance. Recent initiatives include a “Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT)” program, the systemic use of a Learning Management System in face-to-face classrooms, and a strategic transition to digital content. Learn more about Forsyth County Schools at http:/www.forsyth.k12.ga.us.

About Dreamland Metaverse

Privately owned and operated by one of the core developers of the OpenSim virtual world technology, Dreamland Metaverse is a Swiss-based company that focuses on high-quality OpenSim hosting for the international market. As the world’s oldest and most experienced OpenSim host, Dreamland Metaverse provides solid reliability and a strong commitment to customer service. Dreamland Metaverse features easy management through a web-based control panel and offers IP voice, a group management system, exchangeable or non-exchangeable money systems and hypergrid options. Dreamland Metaverse deploys the latest stable version of the OpenSim software and top performance is ensured by using dedicated servers only. Under a philosophy of “software-as-a-service,” Dreamland Metaverse performs all management and monitoring so that their educational and corporate clients can concentrate on using their virtual world to accomplished their goals. For more information, please visit http://www.dreamlandmetaverse.com.

Press Release

This is a press release, contributed by an outside company or organization and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of anybody at this publication. Read about how to write a press release here. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/HypergridBiz.

  • That’s awesome 🙂

  • d

    Trying to create similar interest in Colorado…… Wait and see

  • Congratulations to Snoopy – well deserved!

    • Snoopy has already done so much work for us — I cannot praise Dreamland Metaverse enough

  • This is good news for Dreamland Metaverse, Opensim and the open Metaverse in general. Opensim is coming into it’s own now and showing its power.

    • I cannot think of any technology that can deliver as much dollar-for-dollar.

  • We will never see that in SC, sadly :(. I would love to do something like this in my classroom, though!

    • You can! At the least, use your personal notebook and Sim-on-a-Stick and let two students work together as a pair. 

  • Rick Stevens

    I teach in college

    • I think SL pushing out the educators, in retrospect, is the BEST thing that could have happened for the long term.

    •  I invite you to a guided tour in WonderSchool,
      Roland

  • Rick Stevens

    PS.  I recently, just to try it out, started a Virtual World cirlce on Google+.  It literally has about 5 people and little action, but if any of you want to join to comment on Virtual World stuff, especially education (I’m new and not sure how, exactly), I’m listed as Rick Stevens and the circle is Virtual Words or VW.

  •  There is also Edusim, http://edusim3d.com/ that you can use. Similar in sorts to Second Life but with Education in mind.

    • Do you know of any deployments out there using this? I haven’t been able to find any user communities (other than Open Cobalt and Open Qwaq development communities) or content collections yet.

  • Collaborative Learning in NOBLE
    This is a clip taken after ten minutes of our first students being in-world. 
    We were surprised by (1) how easy these 5th graders adapted their MindCraft skills from home to OpenSim at school and (2) how naturally they fell into a collaborate learning mode.
    https://fcschoolsga.eduvision.tv/Default.aspx?q=X3Y5NcZVhaAUH07cT3kR5g%253d%253d# 

    • Hi Steve, amazing what kids can do in just a few minutes. Congrats from the Netherlands.

      Nick – 3DLES

  • Bonnie The Nanny

    Isn’t this really about using taxpayer funds meant for education and putting them into the pockets of private, for-profit companies? 

    How are these video game toys going to help our children learn? I think this is yet another example of crony capitalism and how it is attempting to penetrate our public schools and gradually phase them out, replacing them with private, for-profit businesses that CALL themselves “schools”, but will have only one real objective: to get the maximum “ROI” for executives and investors. 

    Like the private health care model, when students have real needs, they’ll be shortchanged so that PROFIT doesn’t suffer. Just as when you’re sick today, you’ll frequently be denied what you need, because PROFIT must come first. 

    I know there are lots of people determined to destroy the concept of the public school and the school as an extension of the community surrounding it. And they’ll only succeed—quite literally—over the dead bodies of millions of citizens, like me, who cherish our public schools and will fight with full intensity to protect them from the vandals who would rape and pillage them.

    You don’t believe it? Just keep up the “Our Schools Are Failing!” BS Propaganda Campaign, and see what happens when you try to Takeover OUR schools as you succeeded in doing in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. 

    • OpenSim is free, Bonnie. There is no private, for-profit company involved with the software end of it. As for the cost of the server hosting, going with a company is one option. And its relatively cheap.

      And don’t confuse OpenSim with a video game. A game is much more structured and limited. OpenSim does have video game aspects, but only as the users add. Users that end up learning how to build, manipulate a 3D environment, to work as teams and more.

      And there are other alternatives to using a hosting service. If a school already has servers, they can host OpenSim on those, and at no extra cost. Then there’s the SoaS option. A teacher at a school in Australia bought a number of USB sticks at a bulk discount rate and loaded SoaS on each one, then gave one to each student.

      So, Bonnie, despite your passion to protect public education, there’s really no profiteering going on with OpenSim.

      Now, if your local schools are using Micro$oft rather than Linux, well, there you’ve got something to scream about.

    • <
      Isn't this really about using taxpayer funds meant for education and putting them into the pockets of private, for-profit companies? 

      I wrote a long response but deleted it. Why even bother. gee

    • Elizabeth Van Horn

       Bonnie The Nanny, are you sure you aren’t really Bonnie the Shill for Teachers Unions?   Because, you wrote the most ridiculous tripe.

  • Araxie

    Cool Fun! Its nice to see a school near my old stomping grounds work with a cool thing like OpenSim.

    • Where is your old stomping grounds?

      •  I grew up in, and keep a hang-out spot in Dahlonega.

        • “Thar’s gold in em thar hills!”
          My ancestor came to this area in 1828 right before the gold rush. Later he was the Methodist preacher in Dahlonega. His friend and neighbor in Forsyth County was George Kellogg, the last superintendent of the US mint.

          • Cool Steve,
            Yes, I think that my ancestry is just
            too tied to the very very old gold hills at times.
            My family tree gurus tell me that even
            the dude that kicked the gold to start the mess is in the tree as
            some multi-Great Grandpa errr something, and that crazy mess goes on
            and on back to pre revolution days.

            Frankly  I find it lovely at
            times, and also something that puts my teeth on edge.

            One thing I wanted to do with my
            OpenSim worlds eventually was to make a place for a kind of
            “Ancestral wisdom” museum , but from a scope that is not tied to
            the rampant regionalism that I often find as a way to glorify
            ignorance worship.

            So Fishing traditions from coastal
            islands of __insert cool place here from our planet__ would be just
            as welcome as the tired old “how to make white oak baskets or an
            Appalachian dulcimer”.

            Anyway, keep your learning mojo going
            dude!

            The NaSayers will only get stronger.

  • Sicily

    Is there an update on open sim use in the Atlanta schools? I’m very interested in learning how it’s going.

  • There have been a couple of updates about this project:

    Georgia school grid to triple land area

    http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2012/04/georgia-school-grid-to-triple-land-area/

    Georgia students discuss first OpenSim project

    http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2012/05/georgia-students-discuss-first-opensim-project/

    Students use virtual world to learn math

    http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2012/06/students-use-virtual-world-to-learn-math/