Saturday, September 15, 2007

Media Grid : Immersive Education

Media Grid : Immersive Education

About Immersive Education

Immersive Education, a Media Grid initiative, is an award-winning learning platform that combines interactive 3D graphics, commercial game and simulation technology, virtual reality, voice chat (Voice over IP/VoIP), Web cameras (webcams) and rich digital media with collaborative online course environments and classrooms. Immersive Education gives participants a sense of "being there" even when attending a class or training session in person isn't possible, practical, or desirable, which in turn provides educators and students with the ability to connect and communicate in a way that greatly enhances the learning experience. Originally available only to university students, the next generation of Immersive Education is focused on a broad spectrum of academic and non-academic users (higher education, K-12 [kindergarten through high school], and corporate training).

Unlike traditional computer-based learning systems, Immersive Education is designed to immerse START SLIDE SHOW and engage students in the same way that today’s best video games grab and keep the attention of players. Immersive Education supports self-directed learning as well as collaborative group-based learning environments that can be delivered over the Internet or using fixed-media such as CD-ROM and DVD. Shorter mini-games and interactive lessons can be injected into larger bodies of course material to further heighten and enrich the Immersive Education experience.

Since 2004 students at Boston College have had the opportunity to participate in courses conducted entirely within Immersive Education, which has the potential to fundamentally reshape education by providing on-demand learning and simulation technology that can engage and instruct at a level far beyond that of the typical in-person or online course. Following an award-winning 2 year pilot, Boston College (in cooperation with the Grid Institute, Media Grid, Burke Institute for Innovation in Education, Media Machines, City of Boston, Sun Microsystems and other organizations) is now preparing to make Immersive Education available as a community resource for the benefit of educators, students, and researchers.

The next-generation Immersive Education platform will be announced in the United States and Japan this fall at the following conferences:

Participate in the Immersive Education standardization process launches the Immersive Education initiative with an open call to educators, students, and professionals who have experience using virtual learning environments or video game technologies (such as Second Life, Croquet, Extensible 3D [X3D], Panda3D, Quake, Unreal, Torque Game Engine, and so forth)... <read the complete news release>

Educators, students, and professionals who have experience with virtual reality learning tools or video game technology are encouraged to participate, and can do so in two ways:

  1. Contribute to the Immersive Education charter using the "contribute" links in each section
  2. Join the Immersive Education Technology Working Group email list and discussion forums to participate directly in the standards-setting process. To join contact the Media Grid standards group director.

The Immersive Education Technology Working Group is responsible for defining requirements, standards, best practices, and related materials for the third generation of the Immersive Education platform. The first generation was built upon the open Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) and Extensible 3D (X3D) standards, whereas the current (2nd generation) platform is based on the commercial and award-winning Unreal game engine. The 3rd generation Immersive Education platform is now being defined as an open and freely available standard.