A bonus of ‘school holidays’ is the opportunity for me to actually have more time to engage in exploration of teaching and learning developments – and this term break was no exception. In fact, the timing couldn’t have been better! The SecondClassroom team got busy, and went exploring new virtual environments for learners.
With a host of online buddies, Dean Groom and myself – the Second Classroom duo – had the golden opportunity to explore a wonderful new virtual landscape that has emerged as a real contender in the options for schools wishing to put their toes into pool of virtual opportunities. ReactionGrid, managed by an intrepid, highly experienced professional team keen to provide the kind of service that we all like – personal in nature and professional in all transactions.
ReactionGrid is a virtual 3D environment, that uses the OpenSimulator platform. Think SecondLife, but think less traffic, more focussed on education and learning for business and education – and in a PG environment. A recent interview with Kyle Gomboy, CEO of ReactionGrid, published at the Metaverse Journal explains:
we’re focused on education and business and have laid down rules similar to those environments and have created a culture here that accepts that in order to be able to bring managers, school administrators and others inworld, they need to experience the medium safely. So we’re hiring former teachers, architects, estate managers and more to help us as we grow on thisparticular world.
Their partnership with Microsoft verifies for me that ReactionGrid is an important new space for educators.
Do read the whole article to get a feel for the developments at ReactionGrid. Keep in touch with developments by following Kyle (Dr_Manhattan) on Twitter.
I’ve had the chance to chat with Kyle, Chris and Trevor in the leadup to submitting a proposal to NECC2010.
So far I have been inspired by what we have found, and the benefits of OpenSimulator for education are obvious. The multiplicity of options for local hosting or hosting on their servers is great. A particularly appealing factor is the cost – affordable for any school, even with tiny budgets. In addition there are no complications with access – students and teachers are free to join and get involved in a school virtual learning adventure.
Steve Collis has gone so far as to draw up a 5-year Plan for Virtual Worlds & Integration with Moodle! Steve has demonstrated so well for schools in Australia that integrating a virtual worlds component into mainstream learning actually works! It’s worth reading about the school’s experiences.
The first demonstration of the power of using ReactionGrid for a school project was shown by Vicki Davis and her Digiteens. I visited their work on ReactionGrid and have been inspired by the flexibility and focus on learning. In fact, if you’re wondering how ReactionGrid works, take a quick look a the videos from the Digiteen Dream Team: ReactionGrid. The video tutorials might be just the thing to kick you off on your own virtual adventure!
To find out how to log into Reaction Grid with the SecondLife client, or other client options check out Logging into ReactionGrid.
We’re keeping a close eye on ReactionGrid developments at SecondClassroom, and have had a number of new members join the Ning once they realised that something hot! was under discussion.
Jo Kay and the Islands of Jokaydia have helped Australian educators begin to understand and explore ReactionGrid. Check by to find out when the next meeting scheduled! Jokaydia@ReactionGrid is a great place to start your learning adventure.
Dean and myself – the SecondClassroom duo – won’t let this new opportunity slip by. We know that all educators should be learning about 3D virtual worlds. Soon enough there will be 3D web access to these environments – but for now we must continue to play and learn together in these new environments.
Keep an eye out for a project or two that might emerge via SecondClassroom.
Check out this video and see what EducationAu has to say about Virtual Worlds in Education.