Educators more free to pursue OpenSim?


last night in Mr Obama’s State of the Union address (PDF transcript) he mentioned something that has bothered me about secondary education – the No Child Left Behind Act. one of the issues that many feel is negative about that programme was directly mentioned:

To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test . . .

that has huge ramifications. teaching to the test sucks because many teachers are evaluated on how well their classes do on standardized tests and those outcomes can affect employment! testing certainly has its place, but in the US it is often seen as “the” measure. this testing-centric measure of success extends beyond secondary school into the university setting and i think it is one reason that a study found that 36% of US students have no improvement in critical thinking skills after four years of college!

creativity and passion are what inspire learning – not what the answer to question 23 is!

if what the US president said becomes valued by the educational community, then we may see a greater use of resources like OpenSim. OpenSim can be a great creative channel for both the teacher and student, and it’s a resource that is fairly accessible (more so than many hi-tech and high-priced current classroom trends)

now that US teachers may be more free to get back to teaching as a passion and not a test score, i hope to see continued exploration of OpenSim as a useful tool

one of the stumbling blocks for OpenSim adoption has to do with content. Second Life rules regarding content but Second Life is not appropriate for secondary education

having a starting point, such as OAR files with terraforming, landscaping, buildings, and tools, helps make adoption of OpenSim more successful. coincidentally, Graham Mills has just started a fantastic resource list of educational OAR files! it’s a Google Doc and a clever way to gather this information in one place (permalinked on the side “go to” links –>)

thanks Graham! =)


K-12 Ed tech director Erik N. uses OpenSim & sim-on-a-stick for his students and has contributed an OAR that you can find in Graham's listing

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written by Ener Hax

January 25th, 2012 at 8:56 am

posted in OpenSim,virtual worlds

tagged with ,

10 comments to 'Educators more free to pursue OpenSim?'

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  1. Don’t forget Linda Kellie’s site! While not specifically intended for education — these are more general-purpose OARs — they could serve as a great starting point for private educational grids.

    And the first OAR, I believe, includes classrooms, chairs, and other objects useful to setting up the more prosaic parts of a virtual learning environment.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been adding educational destinations to the Hyperica directory.

    BioZone on New World Grid is amazing — and hypergrid-accessible.

    And I enjoyed seeing Digischool on Virtyou — a virtual English village, to teach conversational English in. Adorable!

    Maria Korolov

    25 Jan 12 at 9:18 am

  2. And I just noticed that the BioZone OAR is available for download! Whoo hoo!

    Maria Korolov

    25 Jan 12 at 9:21 am

  3. OpenSim is a very viable option for most educational programs. Now that voice has been made available to most OpenSim grids, including 3rd Rock Grid, via Vivox, educational instiutions are spending far more than necessary of their educational budget on virtual real estate than necessary, if they are relying on SL because of voice.

    Security, stability, availability, and now the features of OpenSim are seriously challenging the stronghold that Second Life has held on educational users. If a decision maker has not had a chance to check out the OpenSim worlds lately, they are missing a great opportunity to find the environment that will fulfill both the educational and financial goals as well.

    As you mentioned Maria, content has been an issue and we have been taking full advantage of sites like Linda’s to improve the content available to our grid, and are very appreciative to her. We also are encouraging additional development of more commercial products to help close any of the “content” gap as well. OpenSIm continues to get better and better!

    I too was pleased that our President recognizes that the purpose of education is to teach, and Virtual worlds are an excellent tool to do that.

    I encourage Educational users to check out many of the grids and find an environment most encouraging and supporting of Education. Our adult grid has supported programs for colleges and over 18 year old students for a few years and we have the advantage of having operated a grid for 13- 17 year old students using a secure vetting policy for adults and a voucher/sponsor system for the students of verified educational programs. This provides the most protected teaching environment in OpenSim grids.

    I believe each person, organization, and program have different needs and many of them can be met bu OpenSim options.

    I do not know of anyone who has participated in the virtual world experience that can argue that it makes a fantastic environment for learning, structured or unstructured. Having a virtual life enhances the real life experience for those who are open to the learning that presents itself, by just participating!

    I would be amiss if I did not leave a contact email here or for any specific information about our grids. I also encourage people to explore many of the grids, each has their unique and enjoyable educational experience to be had.

    Lazuli Pooraka

    25 Jan 12 at 2:23 pm

  4. dang, i forgot about your ed listings Maria! and nice on Tidal Blog’s OAR!

    nicely done Lazuli! i would further say that 3rd Rock Grid would make an outstanding location for educational activities for colleges due to your community’s warm and open feel (ie, no drama zone)

    Ener Hax

    25 Jan 12 at 2:36 pm

  5. Tidalblog, c’est moi! Though it would be handy at times if there were two of me — I guess we all know that feeling…

    Graham Mills

    25 Jan 12 at 2:44 pm

  6. I think that one of the most wonderful futures of Opensim is in education, I have spoken a little on my blog (Virtual Worlds in 2012: Predictions or Probabilities ?). Even there is one university in USA that use Opensim for human motion (look at google for the article about “Stanford software that models human motion travels to museum”). Opensim is good for kids and schools (while other adult grid arent).


    25 Jan 12 at 6:17 pm

  7. Alas, the Staford locomotion OpenSim is a different project with the saame name afaik.

    Graham Mills

    26 Jan 12 at 2:36 am

  8. Yes you are right Graham, It was my mistake!, sorry for that :(

    here is the info:

    “This project can also help with planning surgery (video). The work has been published in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering (note that this is a different effort from the virtual world of the same name)”


    26 Jan 12 at 4:48 am

  9. The other opensim has confused me from time to time – I thought that project had ended though.

    I went to visit biozone on NW grid, and was quite impressed.

    keith selmes

    26 Jan 12 at 7:02 am

  10. The most recent release of the other OpenSim was Oct 2011 so I think it is still operational. I can only imagine the fun (and confusion) if the two projects started to interact, e.g. by having biomechanically (and subsequently physiologically) authentic avatars. I wonder if that might happen one day? At least we would be free of the occasional episode of “folding leg” syndrome but methinks the lag would be awesome!

    @keith re “quite impressed” — yes, I freely admit there is still a lot to do. I like to think it has potential but it is not quite there yet. Hopefully it is perhaps “intriguing” and perhaps “interesting” and, of course, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”.

    Graham Mills

    26 Jan 12 at 12:41 pm

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