Building Blocks Project - Fall Roundtable Series

Roundtable 1 - Technology Issues in Virtual Worlds

The first informal roundtable presented in conjunction with the VLearn3d "Building Blocks for Virtual Worlds" took place on Wednesday September 18, 2002. The focus of this series was to draw attention to the design principles study by facilitating regular discussions with members of AWedu and other invited guests. This roundtable concentrated on technology issues in the following three areas: What aspects of the ActiveWorlds technology work well for education that we would like to see more of, 2) What is lacking or difficult with this technology as applied to education and 3) What other technologies work well in tandem with AW. The goal is to generate a "wish list" for educational virtual worlds based on the experience of educators using the medium.

Roundtable 2- World Design and the Educational Experience

World Design and Methods for Developing a Consistent / Cohesive Virtual Environment - The second informal roundtable presented in conjunction with the VLearn3d "Building Blocks for Virtual Worlds" took place on Wednesday September 25, 2002. The focus of this series was to discuss various methods of building in virtual worlds, by facilitating regular discussions with members of AWedu and other invited guests. This roundtable concentrated on world design issues in the following three areas: 1) Pre-Production: What sort of preparations and planning were done prior to actual building, as well as how users felt their world's design was influenced by Purpose and Audience. 2) Production: How designers dealt with creating the actual models, issues of scale, and their experience in developing the server support for the object set. As well as, how initial design plans changed during implementation and the actual building process? 3) Post-Production: How using supplementary objects (i.e. landscaping, signs), audio, and slide shows enhance your world's environment? Finally, how student/user reaction and your initial building experience altered people's initial thoughts on designing future virtual environments.

Roundtable 3- Funding & Multi-Institutional Projects - Challenges & Opportunities

The third informal roundtable presented in conjunction with the VLearn3d "Building Blocks for Virtual Worlds" took place on Wednesday October 9, 2002. The discussion was led by Rich Giles and Mark Arnold and concentrated on the following issues and questions in an informal context. 1) How can we unite our resources to promote AWEDU as an effective learning tool? 2) Based on these united efforts, what agencies should be targeted as potential funding sources? 3) What support is necessary from AW to help us make AWEDU a viable educational resource?

Roundtable 4 - Forming Effective Virtual World Communities

This roundtable focused on the following questions and issues: 1) What RANGE OF ROLES does your world support, and how did those roles define your community? 2) How did you effectively use space to create GATHERING PLACES in your world? Were there any other features that helped nurture your community building? 3) How did you integrate the online world & communities with the REAL WORLD? 4) How do you think we can form a stronger and accessible community of peers working in virtual worlds? [Questions are adapted from Amy Jo Kim's Basic principles of community from her book, Community Building on the Web. http://www.naima.com/CS377B/template.html])


Roundtable 5 - "New Avatars" Demo, New AW 3DWeb Page Demo


The fifth roundtable took place on October 30th. This roundtable featured hands-on demonstrations of new avatar and world technologies in AWedu. We started in CHEMEET world where Cinzia Gandini, who has developed science worlds Vetunimi and CHEMEET, demonstrated 'new avatars,' a new concept of conceiving the technology available for building avatars. We then moved to Class3D where Bill Hoover, Project Manager at ActiveWorlds Inc. demonstrated new automated 3D Webpages for education worlds.

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