Media Grid News

Immersive Education 2010 Summit Attendees To Receive $2,500 In Permanent Virtual World Land

 

BOSTON, MA - March 29, 2010 - The Immersive Education Initiative today announced that it will provide permanent virtual world land for one year to every school and non-profit organization that has at least one teacher, administrator or student in attendance at the 2010 Boston Summit this April. The land, a full region of space measuring 256x256 meters in size (65,536 square meters), would cost nearly $2,500 in Second Life at the normal educational rate ($700 plus $1770 in annual maintenance fees). The free land can be renewed each year, also free of charge, by simply attending any Immersive Education Initiative Summit.

Immersive Education 2010 Boston SummitAt the 2010 Boston Summit a series of special workshops and presentations will teach educators how to copy or move their existing Second Life objects and worlds onto the virtual land they receive, and they will also receive free pre-made virtual worlds designed specifically for education. In addition, Summit workshops will teach educators how to install and run their own virtual world servers on school networks ("behind the firewall") free of charge.

"The Immersive Education Initiative is chartered to design, develop, and disseminate open source and royalty-free immersive learning tools, standards, and best practices," remarked Aaron E. Walsh, Director of the Initiative. "Our objectives are simple: put these tools in the hands of educators, free of charge, and teach them how to use them. Until today the cost of owning virtual world land has been prohibitive for many educators. By making permanent virtual world land freely available at the Summit, as well as entire pre-made learning worlds, we continue to fulfill our mandate as a non-profit consortium focused exclusively on immersive teaching and learning."

Platform Ecosystem and The Education Grid

By mandate the Immersive Education Initiative's Platform Ecosystem consists only of freely available open source technologies. Open Wonderland, realXtend, Open Simulator (OpenSim), and Cobalt are the official Immersive Education Initiative virtual worlds platforms. Additionally, an enhanced descendant of the open source Second Life viewer (client-side end user software) is paired with open source virtual world servers to provide educators with a fully open, cost-free alternative to Second Life.

Virtual world land provided to Summit attendees is hosted on the Education Grid, which educators can access using their own Second Life viewer software or an enhanced version provided through the Initiative. Built by educators, for educators, the Education Grid is an immersive learning network provided by the Immersive Education Initiative and its members. On the Education Grid, which is freely available to the global academic community, teachers can conduct classes and meetings within a growing collection of virtual worlds. Initiative members can also use the Education Grid to build their own virtual worlds, simulations, and learning games. Virtual learning environments on the Education Grid may be hosted by the Initiative, by member organizations (such as high schools, colleges and universities), or at multiple locations for fail-safe redundancy.

The Immersive Education Initiative's virtual world Platform Ecosystem and Education Grid together provide educators with an open and comprehensive end-to-end infrastructure for a new generation of learning worlds, interactive learning games, and simulations. The corresponding Education Grid provides content delivery services, collaboration services and academic services to these and other client-side platforms.

2010 Boston Summit

The 2010 Boston Summit features new and emerging virtual worlds, learning games, educational simulations, mixed/augmented reality, and related teaching tools, techniques, technologies, standards and best practices. The Education Grid, Open Wonderland, realXtend, Cobalt, and Open Simulator are among the immersive learning technologies that will be featured. Members of the Initiative's open file format, library, psychology, mixed reality, and K-12 (kindergarten through high school) groups will give special presentations and workshops.

Speakers and panelists at Immersive Education Initiative Summits include faculty, researchers, and administrators from The Grid Institute, Boston College, Loyola Marymount University, M.I.T., Harvard University, United States Department of Education, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Federation of American Scientists (FAS), The Smithsonian Institution, Sun Microsystems, Duke University, Southeast Kansas Education Service Center, Immersive Education High School, South Park Elementary, Cornell University, Amherst College, New Media Consortium, Kauffman Foundation, Boston Library Consortium, Montana State University, Boston Media High School, realXtend (Finland), University of Aizu (Japan), Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), University of Essex (UK), Coventry University (UK), Giunti Labs (Italy) and European Learning Industry Group, Open University (UK), and more.

Thousands of Members Worldwide

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 reality and game-based learning and training systems. Thousands of faculty, researchers, staff, administrators and students are members of the Immersive Education Initiative, which is growing at the rate of approximately 2 new members every day.


 

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, Immersive Education or the Education Grid visit:
MediaGrid.org, ImmersiveEducation.org and TheEducationGrid.org