Education in Virtual Worlds, Second Life

Fulfilling President Obama’s Virtual Vision

I’ve never claimed to be a journalist. And based on recently Tweeting articles from 4 years ago I’m not much of a fact-checker either. So in order to bring some respectability to this blog I’m bringing a journalist on board (and keeping it in the family while I’m at it).

Craig Thompson is a journalist who recently covered virtual worlds and training, learning and collaboration at 3DTLC. You’ll note his byline at the footer of articles and you’re welcome to contact him with events, news, product launches or whatever else you think might be useful to others who want to keep up on news from the metaverse. Please welcome Craig aboard.

The Obama administration has not been shy about tackling the brave new world of online learning and education within the US, having promised a significant amount of investment into online learning.

But Obama’s vision is also global, as he outlined last June in a speech where he predicted a world in which “a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo.” Well, in Second Life, this vision has come to fruition, according to a fascinating article at The Arch Network.

The visionaries behind the successful follow-up to Obama’s promise are, among others, Dr. Amir Attia from Cairo’s Ain Shams University, California-based architect David Denton, and the USC School of Architecture’s Kara Bartelt. Architecture students in Egypt and in the US have been collaborating in SL with pretty impressive results, with students overcoming not only the technological obstacles, but some cultural ones, as well.

The Arch Network quotes student Hebatullah Aly Ghali as saying:

Imagine all of this put together …. collaboration and group work on an international scale, dealing with a whole different culture, language and view of life. Over and above getting to master the use of the virtual world as a tool to make your fantasies become a reality… I think this is what the Kansas to Cairo project offers us: new ideas, new tools, and a better perception of life and of future work in architecure and urban planning.

And Kara Bartelt, the educator at USC, notes that “the neutrality of the virtual world became a favorable platform and they were easily able to share ideas, lessons about building, information and anecdotes about about the real site in Cairo they are designing for, etc.”

Architecture is a field that meshes well with Second Life, as Bartelt notes: “This project is exemplifying the future of architectural collaboration in an academic setting as well as how it will work collaborating with your client and building team on a real world project.”



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