At a time when immersive virtual reality seems to be the main focus for startups, one company, Edorble, has built a traditional, screen-based virtual world for educators.
The company also plans to support mobile platforms, and a directory where users will search for and link to other educators willing to collaborate with them, CEO Gabe Baker told Hypergrid Business.
Like OpenSim and Second Life, Edorble requires that users download a standalone viewer, currently available for Windows and Mac.
The platform is free while in beta, and when it goes public, spaces that support fewer than 15 users will continue to be free.
Larger spaces will cost $1.50 per user per month, which is about halfway between Second Life and OpenSim prices. So a typical 40-user space on Edorble would cost $60 a month. By comparison, a 40-user region on Second Life costs educators about $150 a month plus a $300 setup fee. A typical professionally-hosted 40-user region in OpenSim runs around $45 a month, with no setup fee.
“We also do custom plans for groups that only want to meet in-world a few times a month,” said Baker.
Educators can choose from a selection of pre-built environments and customize them. The company will also custom build environments for customers for an additional fee.
The platform supports spacial voice, customized avatars, in-world media, up to 50 simultaneous users per space, point-and-click navigation, sitting and raising hands,
Unlike Second Life, and the public OpenSim grids, Edorble environments are fully constrained. That means that students aren’t able to teleport out to inappropriate locations, as they can on the public grids.
But virtual reality isn’t off the agenda, either.
“There are plans to support mobile devices, and we have an iPad build on our trajectory to be developed in 2016, as well as a build for virtual reality headsets,” said Baker.
One project currently has more than 300 students from around the world, Baker said.
Advancing Global Awareness Possibilities is a project-based learning experience where students from around the world can meet students from other schools to form international teams, debate on issues, teach each other, and give joint presentations.
The company presented its platform at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference earlier this month.
Watch a video tour of the platform below: