Because we’re so passionate and committed to the arena of E-Learning in its many forms – virtual worlds development, 3D training scenarios, serious games, learning management systems and more – we wanted to revisit a subject we blogged about back in June of this year – The Gamification of LearningRead More →

“WOW!”  Seems to be an almost universal reaction to a first experience trying on the new Oculus Rift VR headset.  Watching a player’s first experience with Rift is always interesting to see, as the player gradually becomes immersed, suspending their disbelief, and eventually becomes part of the virtual environment.  With enthusiasticRead More →

There has been some discussion about the practicality of accepting Bitcoin, but many fewer voices have been explaining the reasons Bitcoin may be a useful tool for your grid. There are at least five reasons that Bitcoin may be right for your grid. 1. Fraud mitigation BitPay, the number oneRead More →

On-line education is using a flawed Creative Commons license Prominent universities are using a nonfree license for their digital educational works. That is bad already, but even worse, the license they are using has a serious inherent problem. When a work is made for doing a practical job, the usersRead More →

Event manager = 1/3 mad scientist, 1/3 psychologist, 1/3 logistics expert Since virtual events share many of the attributes of physical events, it makes sense to start by discussing some of the attributes of event managers in general. In many ways, events are like chemistry experiments – place a fewRead More →

OpenSim is still in the early stages of development, so it’s rare to see advertising billboards cluttering up the virtual landscape – or ads for OpenSim hosting providers during the Super Bowl broadcast. Maybe “rare” is the wrong term. Make that, “unheard of.” And a lot of people would seeRead More →

Achievements, like badges and leaderboards, are one of the cornerstones of gamification, ways to increase user engagement and loyalty. The are also known as goals or quests. The achievement can be a reward in and of itself, can be used to give recognition to players, or can be combined withRead More →

A few friends, colleagues, and fellow creators have a need to band together. Our intention is to gather creators and artists from all “virtual reality” platforms in order to collect, and organize factual information about rights and responsibilities of content creators. By working together, we believe that many of us will be ableRead More →

A new version of OpenSim was recently released, OpenSim 0.7.4. There’s an upgrade function built into the Diva Distro version of OpenSim and its derivatives, including Sim-on-a-Stick and New World Studio. The updated version of the Diva Distro came out this past Wednesday, and the new Sim-on-a-Stick was released yesterday.Read More →

“Gamification” is the process of adding game-like elements to something without actually turning the whole thing into a game. Social grids can be gamified, for example, but even grids dedicated to education, non-profits, or business meetings can add gamification elements. The goal of gamification is to increase engagement. For commercialRead More →

At thr Immersive Education conference in Boston last month, eight Open Wonderland community members from six different countries joined me remotely to show off their work. Here’s a brief summary of the worlds and features presented during the showcase. In all cases, the presenters have agreed to leave their spacesRead More →

I had fun recently playing with using the Xbox Kinect sensor paired with OpenSim. The project I work on is called PLANE, Pathways for Learning Anywhere, anytime — a Network for Educators. One of our core missions is connecting educators from all sectors such as state run, independent and CatholicRead More →

Experiential learning — learning by doing — is a hot topic these days and getting hotter. I’ve been evangelizing the benefits of experiential learning for over a decade. But, as much as I believe in the power of experiential learning, it’s important to recognize its limitations. There are two waysRead More →

A great number of pixels have been used to praise or critique Cloud Party over at Hamlet Au’s New World Notes. True, one needs a Facebook account, and sacrifices anonymity, to use the service fully. Anonymous logins are possible at the link I gave above, but they only permit limited interactions and theRead More →

As Forsyth County Schools’ NOBLE Virtual World begins to generate more teacher interest, one question that repeatedly comes up is “How can math best be taught in a virtual world?” One suggestion is to use the virtual world to provide practical application of the math concepts in an authentic wayRead More →

For the past two and half years at my real job as the head of learning and collaboration, we’ve been early adopters of a virtual world product called AvayaLive Engage, developed by a company named Avaya. It was formerly known as Web.Alive, and although I’m not a fan of theRead More →

Last week, I attended the Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds annual conference. I realize the theme for the conference was “Inspire the Future,” but an underlying theme I sensed was “Keeping up with the Future.” Our society and the technological changes are hitting us at an exponential rate. Like oneRead More →

“Inspire the Future” was the 2012 theme of The Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds conference that convened this past week in Washington, D.C. at the National Defense University’s iCollege, and it drew about about 300 physical world and an estimated 3,000 virtual world attendees. Several virtual worlds were demonstrated at the conference,Read More →

I have been involved with education in virtual worlds for several years now, and at discussions and conferences I often hear the question asked, “Why recreate a classroom with desks and PPT presentations in a world where anything is possible? Why create buildings with roofs and walls in a placeRead More →

Some newcomers to OpenSim have major concerns with hypergrid technology and these concerns should not be taken lightly. Many of these risks, however, are exaggerated, while others are present in all virtual worlds. These concerns may cause some to fear moving to OpenSim worlds. Creators and merchants, in particular, may fearRead More →

In 2008 and 2009 I spoke at conferences and webinars about the use of Second Life for corporate eLearning as an easy-to-use 3D animation application. “Easy” is a relative term to true 3D animation applications such as Blender and 3ds Max (formerly 3D Studio Max). The typical corporate eLearning department often does not have the budget for trueRead More →

At Designing Digitally, Inc., we’ve seen every type of virtual campus tour imaginable and have identified some common problems that can hinder their success. Here are the top four problems we see and how you can avoid them: 1. Navigation Many virtual campus tours today simply lead people through the tour and dictateRead More →

We recently celebrated our third birthday in InWorldz at a user conference in Las Vegas. The conference was fantastic, and was very well received. It also sparked an article “InWorldz at 3: Turning point or more of same?” by Maria Korolov. There were some very valid questions in the article,Read More →

This year’s International Women’s Day theme, “equal access to education, training, and science and technology,” is a powerful affirmation of what I am about and why I am blazing the trail of bringing Open Wonderland to bridge the educational, gender, economic, social, and technological divides in Africa and worldwide. BackgroundRead More →

A couple of years ago, I described how we were using the Open Wonderland virtual environment platform to host polls for users to express their opinions about proposed governmental policies, as part of  the +Spaces project. In the next stage of the project, we have taken a look at another way of engaging citizens: debates. TheRead More →

[Editor: A couple of years ago, Chris Ravensoft was an actual paying customer for Second Life Enteprise, a behind-the-firewall version of Second Life, designed for companies who needed a secure, private space for internal collaboration, training, and rapid prototyping. In the summer of 2010, Linden Lab shut the project down.]Read More →

OpenSim is making headway as a viable alternative to Second Life. About 98 percent of the functionality of Second Life is present in OpenSim. The remaining 2 percent primarily deals with vehicle physics. Although it is still considered “alpha” software, OpenSim hosting is sold, and teachers, students, and businesses are taking advantage.Read More →

There are many reasons why I believe that virtual worlds are not dead, dying or disappearing. In fact, I believe that they are gaining momentum and are becoming more and more impactful as the technology gets better and more real world business cases are indicating the value of these environments,Read More →

Launching, maintaining, and expanding a virtual business — a new grid, design firm, hosting company or consultancy — can be an overwhelming task. While start-up costs are often not too high, it is difficult to run a viable business until consistent revenue streams are achieved. Regardless of financial situation though,Read More →

[Note from Editor: SimHost‘s James Stalling responded to this review with the following: “He was a difficult customer who did not give OpenSim a good evaluation before he got involved, and didn’t give it a fair shake after he got involved.  I have to say that I disagree entirely with hisRead More →

Zoe, a prototype AI bot, lives in her own house on OpenSim. (Image courtesy David Burden.)

[Editor: Recent OpenSim upgrades have substantially expanded support for NPCs — non-player characters — also known as bots or AIs. NPCs are typically used in games, as enemies for players to defeat, or characters who help the players in their quests. However, they are also increasingly being used for business.]Read More →

Over the course of two years, we designed and ran a simulation for the University of Richmond based upon Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” in the virtual world of Second Life. I wanted to enable my classes to change the ending of Poe’s tale, ifRead More →

If you like building — or need to build for your work or school — and you find Second Life cramped and expensive, OpenSim is a great option. But where do you start? There are over a hundred active public grids, dozens of hosting providers… for someone new to OpenSim,Read More →

Kitely — an OpenSim-based grid that runs its regions in the Amazon cloud — has a unique system that gives educators some interesting capabilities and advantages. To appreciate those features that are most beneficial requires just a bit of imagination and I have drawn on my perspective of having been involvedRead More →

Here is a little vignette describing how 3D collaborative environments can impact large organizations. Just as technology has advanced in almost every field, so has the technology surrounding learning and collaboration. Three-dimensional virtual immersive environments are the next logical evolution and extension of existing technologies—a convergence of 2D virtual classrooms,Read More →

In November, I led a well-attended three-hour workshop, Second Life is Dead – Prepare for an OpenSim Future at the 17th International Conference on Online Learning in Orlando, Florida. My basic point was that, right now, Second Life as a product for educators is actually dead unless something dramatically changesRead More →

One of my teeny tiny pet peeves is when people harp about Second Life being a game. This is often followed by declarations that games should not be taken seriously. Therefore, Second Life should not be taken seriously. But putting the benefits of play — such as learning, teamwork, relaxation,Read More →

[Editor: Joe Essid teaches a class about Edgar Allen Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher” for the department of English & Rhetoric & Communication Studies at the University of Richmond, using virtual space on the JokaydiaGrid.] With some glitches along the way, six groups of students completed their finalRead More →

Even as OpenSim implementation continues to grow, a constant remains: there is no viewer tailored specifically for OpenSim as it comes direct from OpenSimulator.org. It’s discouraging, and it’s easy to cite the nearly million lines of code that are simply too complex to unravel as the culprit, yet the reasonsRead More →

How real does a virtual environment need to be for users to feel presence? This is a question educators have been researching in the attempt to implement virtual spaces to expand the classroom. For those of us old enough to have been playing eight bit video games and text-driven adventures,Read More →

The economic downturn has put a damper on tradeshow activities worldwide. Travel budgets have been tightened across the board. Attendees are less willing to hop on a plane halfway around the globe for a few meetings with uncertain ROI. On the vendor side, exhibitors are faced with stagnant budgets andRead More →

An interesting quesion arose from my ALT-C talk last week. It was basically “How can you use Second Life for teaching when it takes two hours to learn how to use it?” Which isn’t really a question, of course. It’s a statement. Along the lines of “It takes my studentsRead More →

Hypergrid is probably one of the greatest and unifying features for OpenSim, and virtual worlds in general. Basically, virtual worlds cannot be what they should be without the hypergrid. It is the same unifying feature and innovation as the hyperlink was – and still is – for the unification ofRead More →

Healthcare and the pharmaceutical industries can benefit from using training simulations and serious games in everything from sales and customer relations to helping medical professionals work with upset patients. Since replicating these types of experiences in traditional training programs is difficult and costly, finding a much more effective, learner centeredRead More →

The flight simulator celebrated its 100s anniversary a couple of years ago. A training rig was developed in 1909 to help pilots operate the control wheels of the early monoplanes in a safe environment and its predecessors have been a mainstay of pilot training ever since. Translating this concept toRead More →

Image by jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I attended UMass in the early eighties when access to DARPAnet first became available to students. In the beginning, all we had was terminal-based FTP access to download TeX markup documents that we could send to the batch printers. It wasn’t until almost ten years later that Mosaic based graphicalRead More →

Over the last three years I’ve planned, designed, and orchestrated a dozen learning events in the virtual world of Second Life. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with extremely experienced and talented programmers, producers, content experts, scripters, and machinima artists from whom I have learned volumes about planning and stagingRead More →

I have been using OpenSim since October, 2008. The software is still in an alpha stage of development, but it has come a long way, and its usage has exploded, and will continue to do so. Linden Labs has basically stopped focusing on education — which has also included droppingRead More →

The recent furor over patents by SpotON3D is understandable. However, we may be overemphasizing that issue while staying naïve about other formidable developments. Let me begin with a specific illustration. Back in December of 2010, Hypergrid Business ran an article that indicated IBM had filed a patent on sim designRead More →