Cornell Theory Center

Virtual Worlds in Formal and Informal Education
Hosted at CTC

May 20 - 21, 1999

Workshop Participants Featured in the Cornell Chronicle.

Workshop Description

The workshop, Virtual Worlds in Formal and Informal Education, was held to bring together a community of people involved in the development of virtual 3D worlds for educational purposes and to introduce this technology to the Cornell and regional education community. CTC hosted the workshop in collaboration with the Contact Consortium (CCon), University of California, Santa Cruz, and Cornell faculty and staff. Participants spent two days meeting and working with peers across the country exploring and experimenting with this new medium.

Mornings were set aside for onsite activities and afternoons featured online talks and tours. For the onsite participants, the workshop began with a hands-on introduction to the Active Worlds environment. During the second session, most onsite participants joined in a beginning building tutorial in AWUniversity, while we established a link to the TWILT conference at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. The majority of the remote participants joined in later on Day 1 for a series of panel discussions and presentations from a wide range of interest areas: human/computer interactions, digital art, early applications, etc.

There were several goals for this workshop: to introduce a working model of virtual worlds to the Cornell and extended community; to discuss this new medium and its implications for enhancing both formal and informal education; to showcase innovative worlds under development; to continue CCON's exploration of the technology through the addition of live audio and video communications; to provide students working on virtual worlds with a forum for sharing their experiences; and finally, thanks to the generosity of the Active Worlds staff, to provide hands-on training in the use of Active Worlds technology for users at a range of levels of expertise.

In retrospect, we probably tried to do too much at once and with too little preparation and minimal funding. But this is one way to learn! Overall, the participants were patient, enthusiastic, constructive in their advice and criticisms, and supportive. They generously gave the workshop an average rating of more than 4 on a scale of 5.

More important than the rating of the workshop is the planting of the seed for a growing communitiy of early adopters of virtual world technology. This workshop was the first formal program of VLearn, CCon's initiative to encourage the use of virtual worlds for education. Its success is leading to the to the establishment of a new Universe, EduVerse, for education and research through the generosity of Active Worlds. Many of the workshop participants will contribute to and benefit from this exciting initiative.

Digitalspace Logo CCon Logo VLearn Logo Active Worlds University Logo Active Worlds Logo Outer Worlds Logo