Media Grid News

Immersive Education Initiative Issues Call For Expert Legal Opinions On Second Life

 

BOSTON, MA - April 30, 2010 - The Immersive Education Initiative today issued an open call for expert legal opinions on content ownership, terms of service, and potential legal liabilities for teaching in the virtual world of Second Life. The Initiative issued its call to the international legal community in response to new Second Life terms of service that went into effect today and a growing concern for legal liabilities for educators and schools that require students to enter and reside in a public virtual world populated with anonymous users and potentially offensive content.

"We need clarity, authoritative clarity, on these issues immediately," stated Aaron E. Walsh, Director of the non-profit Immersive Education Initiative. "Our global community of nearly 3,000 educators, responsible for millions of students worldwide, is uncertain as to the short- and long-term impact that the new Second Life terms of service actually have on content ownership and rights. Furthermore, we do not know to what extent our teachers and their schools are legally liable when bringing students into Second Life where they may be exposed to individuals and content that may be considered inappropriate in an educational environment. These are significant and far-reaching concerns that require the coordinated efforts of the international legal community to address. Until we are in a position to issue authoritative guidelines that are informed by the international legal community we recommend that educators stop building and teaching in Second Life. In cases where teaching in Second Life must continue we recommend that schools first obtain signed legal release forms from their students and the parents of those students," continued Walsh.

Formal guidelines for educators and schools working in Second Life, informed by expert legal opinions submitted in response to this call, will be published by the Immersive Education Initiative's Legal Working Group (IED.LWG) by or before July 4th 2010. Members of the international legal community with relevant experience are invited to submit opinions directly to the Director of the Initiative and participate in related Legal Working Group meetings and deliberations.

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 100 new members every month.

 

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