BOSTON, MA - June 04, 2008 - The Immersive Education Initiative, in celebration of its first anniversary and a number of recent accomplishments, will throw a virtual 1st birthday party tonight for its members and the public.
The Immersive Education Initiative is a non-profit international collaboration of universities, colleges, research institutes, consortia and companies that are working together to define and develop open standards, best practices, platforms, and communities of support for virtual worlds and game-based learning and training systems. Immersive Education was conceived in 2005 as an application of the Media Grid. The corresponding initiative was officially launched one year ago today, with an open call to educators, students, and professionals who had experience using virtual learning environments or video game technologies. In the year since the initiative was started it has grown to more than 200 members from around the world.
The initiative is focused on promoting and advancing Immersive Education, which combines interactive 3D graphics, commercial game and simulation technology, virtual reality, voice chat, 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 is not 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.
Milestones in the past year include:
Immersive Education Initiative received $1.2 Million STEM donation from the John C. Ford Program
. The donation consists of 67 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs and associated learning materials and technologies that will be integrated into the next generation of Immersive Education learning environments. <see details>
Immersive Education Initiative announced the Education Grid and Platform Ecosystem
during the 2008 Boston Digital Media Summit. Based upon open source technologies and open standards, the Education Grid and Platform Ecosystem will provide educators with a comprehensive end-to-end infrastructure for a new generation of virtual world learning environments, interactive learning games, and simulations. <see details>
Immersive Education was the focus of the 2008 Boston Digital Media Summit
during which educators, researchers, administrators and students from Boston College, Boston Public Schools, Amherst College, Federation of American Scientists, MIT Media Lab, Harvard University, Duke University, United States Department of Education, New Media Consortium (NMC), Johnson & Wales University, NASA, Sun Microsystems, Synthespian Studios, and Computerworld gave a series of presentations, panel discussions and workshops related to Immersive Education. <see details>
Immersive Education co-Chair Dr. John Carfora received the Distinguished Service Award
from the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) for his "sustained and distinctive contributions to the organization." <see details>
Immersive Education and Media Grid receive national recognition as "...innovative, promising technologies which hold the potential to significantly affect society in the near future"
when Computerworld named Media Grid and Immersive Education director Aaron E. Walsh to its list of "40 Innovative IT People to Watch, Under the Age of 40." <see details>
Media Grid launched the Immersive Education Initiative
with an open call to educators, students, and professionals who have experience using virtual learning environments or video game technologies. <see details>
The Year Ahead: Milestones on the Roadmap
Following on the success of the previous year, the initiative’s roadmap for the year ahead is focused on: 1) developing next-generation Immersive Education platforms, 2) developing next-generation Immersive Education learning content and environments, 3) launching the Education Grid worldwide, and 4) supporting its growing community of end users, content builders, software developers and systems administrators.
Significant milestones for the year ahead include:
Education Grid access. Starting this month members of the Immersive Education Initiative will have early access to the Education Grid. Initiative members can conduct classes and meetings on privately hosted Education Grid servers for Second Life and Wonderland. Initiative members will be able to build their own Second Life and Wonderland virtual learning environments that may be hosted by the initiative, by the member’s own school, or at multiple locations for fail-safe redundancy. Members will also receive early access to content delivery services and Cobalt/Croquet world storage (persistence) services.
K-12 program launch. This fall Immersive Education will become available for K-12 (kindergarten through 12th grade) with the launch of the initiative’s K-12 program. This summer the initiative is conducting K-12 program pilot trials with K-12 schools in the United States, the results of which will inform the official K-12 program launch in the fall.
“Teach the Teacher” Training Courses. This summer the initiative will launch its “Teach the Teacher” training courses that prepare educators to teach, assess, and grade students using virtual world, simulator and game-based learning technology.
New Technology Working Groups (TWGs). Technology Working Groups develop, deliver and maintain technological materials such as technical reports, design documents, specifications, software implementations, conformance test suites, best practices, and formal reviews of deliverables produced by other groups. In the year ahead the initiative will launch the following Technology Working Groups:
- Open File Formats TWG
- Open Protocols TWG
- Open Worlds TWG
- Content Tagging, Rating and Review TWG
- Assessment, Evaluation and Grading TWG
- Metrics TWG
- Metadata and Taxonomy TWG
- Foreign Language TWG
- Artificial Intelligence TWG
- Education Grid TWG
New Community Groups (CGs)
. Community Groups enable informal discussions and collaborations among members who have similar interests. In the coming year the initiative will launch the following Community Groups:
- Immersive Education Day at [YOUR SCHOOL HERE] CG
- K-12 and Higher Education CGs
- Second Life user, builder, developer and administrator CGs
- Wonderland user, builder developer, and administrator CGs
- Cobalt/Croquet user, builder, developer and administrator CGs
- World of Warcraft (WOW) research and educators CGs
About Immersive Education
Immersive Education (ImmersiveEducation.org) 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. Unlike traditional computer-based learning systems, Immersive Education is designed to immerse 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.
About the Media Grid
The Media Grid is a public utility for digital media. Based on new and emerging distributed computational grid technologies, the Media Grid builds upon existing Internet and Web standards to create a unique network optimized for digital media delivery, storage, and processing. As an on-demand public computing utility, a range of software programs and Web sites can use the Media Grid for delivery and storage of rich media content, media processing, and computing power. The Media Grid is an open and extensible platform that enables a wide range of applications not possible with the traditional Internet alone, including: Massive Media on Demand (MMoD); Interactive digital cinema on demand; Immersive Education and distance learning; Truly immersive multiplayer games and Virtual Reality (VR); Hollywood movie and film rendering, special effects, and composition; Real-time rendering of high resolution graphics; Real-time visualization of complex weather patterns; Real-time protein modeling and drug design; Telepresence, telemedicine, and telesurgery; Vehicle and aircraft design and simulation; Visualization of scientific and medical data.
The Grid Institute leads the design and development of the global Media Grid through the MediaGrid.org open standards organization in collaboration with industry, academia, and governments from around the world.
To learn more about the Media Grid and Immersive Education visit MediaGrid.org and ImmersiveEducation.org