English learning grid launched

An English teacher based in southern China has launched an OpenSim grid for English students.

Currently, over 100 of his college-age students are using the grid, as well as students from Italy, Russia, and Japan. They practice English, and interact with English speakers who teleport in from other grids — the hypergrid address is englishgrid.com:8002. The students also take field trips to other grids to practice their English, most recently to OSGrid’s LBSA Plaza.

Keating is a graduate student at the University of Illinois in human resource development, researching virtual language training and the use of English in the workplace.

“My strategy is to provide a platform for cross-cultural communication,” said Keating, who is also known as “Zhanmusi Laoshi” on the grid.

Chatting with James on EnglishGrid.

He hopes to have outside teachers using the platform to hold classes for both university students and corporate employees.

The grid is currently in the experimental, pilot phase and most offerings are free, though private, one-on-one instruction is US $10 per hour.

Teachers interested in participating in the project can contact Keating at [email protected]. There is currently no charge to reserve a classroom.

There is also no charge to set up language exchange programs with English-speaking students interested in learning Chinese.

One obstacle, however, is time zones.

According to Keating, many Chinese dormitories shut off Internet access at night in order to ensure that students don’t stay up all night.

Tech specs

The grid is currently five regions hosted outside of China, running on a virtual private server from 64uVDS. Keating set it up manually from a standard OpenSim distribution.

The grid uses the free voice service from Vivox.

Keating is currently working on enabling groups and finding more hypergrid events and gathering places for his students to visit.

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

2 Responses

  1. Gaga says:

    Oh, that was what I kept hearing about all day yesterday while I was busy working in OSgrid. Seams the news got around pretty quick. But anyway, I think it’s a great use for Opensim.


  2. jkwacky@yahoo.com' Jkwacky says:

    great news for those teaching english as a second language!