Image: Screenshot of IBM Learning Summit, Active Worlds Browser 4.1
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ccLearn was a participant in the just-concluded 3-D Internet for Learning Summit, which took place over a period of two days in three separate sessions: the Kick-Off Event, What’s New Here Forum?, and What’s the Big Challenge? It was hosted by IBM, ASU SkySong, The Federation of American Scientists and the Kauffman Foundation. The conference occurred in a customized 3-D space, IBM’s Active Worlds Center for Innovation specifically designed for the event. The virtual experience was enhanced with main and side chats, a conference call linking 60+ callers from around the globe, and a Powerpoint presentation, which could be viewed off-line or in the Center. For those accelerated multi-taskers, there were additional screens bordering the outer edges of the conference area where you could link to even more info about 3-D internet and education.
Aside from the fun of making your avatar fly or do karate, you could ask questions via phone or chat that would be answered directly by the panel, a group of business professionals who had a lot to say about the emerging 3-D space. Most opted to join in on the collaborative chat, though, demonstrating the importance of “self and anonymity”, a concept of the second session–What’s New Here Forum? Anonymity allows people to ask questions and be more forward than they usually might be. At the same time, self still plays an important factor as people usually choose and modify avatars to look as much like them as possible. In total, 300 or so avatars were present, all representing real people behind real computers around the world.
There is obviously a lot of excitement about the potential of virtual environments to enhance or improve access to learning, and ccLearn expects to be active in conversations and considerations of interoperability issues and barriers to those possibilities.