BOSTON, MA - May 07, 2010 - The Immersive Education Initiative today posted outcomes of the 2010 Boston Summit that convened April 23-25 at Boston College through special arrangement with the Woods College of Advancing Studies. Organized specifically for educators, researchers, and administrators, the three-day conference consisted of presentations, panel discussions, break-out sessions and workshops to provide attendees with an in-depth overview of immersive learning platforms and technologies. Following are explicit outcomes from the 2010 Boston Summit:
- Boston College's Woods College of Advancing Studies announced that the college's undergraduate courses will be offered as fully immersive distance learning classes through the Immersive Education Initiative, starting with 4 courses this fall. Standard Boston College credit is issued for immersive Advancing Studies courses, with no distinction made between the amount or form of credit given for traditional in-person classes. Every member of the Immersive Education Initiative is eligible to teach Advancing Studies courses immersively. .:: details ::.
- Technology Working Group (TWG) presentations, progress and deliverables:
- The Library Technology Working Group (LIB.TWG) demonstrated "Web to World" (w2w) prototypes that enable Web-based content to be published directly into virtual worlds, enabling non-technical users to construct individual and group immersive learning spaces using only a Web browser. The prototypes are now available for members of the Initiative to use in their own Open Simulator virtual worlds. LIB.TWG will now focus on moving from prototype to production across all official Immersive Education Initiative virtual worlds platforms. The weekly LIB.TWG in-world meeting schedule is now being set. Visit LIB.TWG to review the charter or join.
- The Open File Formats Technology Working Group (OFF.TWG) demonstrated the 3D file format transcoder tool it developed with funding from the Kauffman Foundation, which is the first major step in enabling portable, cross-platform immersive education learning experiences ("Create Once, Experience Anywhere"). Now that the initial development period is complete the transcoder source code and runtimes, and simplified end-user Web services built upon the tool, will be made available to the general public this month. The weekly OFF.TWG in-world meeting schedule is now being set. Visit OFF.TWG to review the charter or join.
- The Psychology of Immersive Environments Technology Working Group (PIE.TWG) draft charter has completed its public review period, and is now finalized. Starting this June PIE.TWG members will meet in-world weekly. Visit PIE.TWG to review the charter or join.
- Open Simulator ("OpenSim") was announced as an official Immersive Education Initiative platform, expanding the Platform Ecosystem first announced at the 2008 Boston Summit to a total of 4 open source virtual worlds platforms. By mandate the Immersive Education Initiative's Platform Ecosystem consists only of freely available open source technologies. As of the 2010 Boston Summit Open Wonderland, realXtend, Open Simulator and Cobalt are the official virtual worlds platforms (an enhanced descendant of the open source Second Life viewer is paired with realXtend and Open Simulator servers to provide educators with fully open, cost-free alternatives to Second Life). Based upon freely available open source technologies and open standards, the Education Grid and Platform Ecosystem provide educators with a comprehensive end-to-end infrastructure for a new generation of virtual world learning environments, interactive learning games, and simulations.
- Citing concerns over rights and liabilities the Immersive Education Initiative 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. Members of the international legal community with relevant experience are invited to submit opinions and participate in related Legal Working Group meetings and deliberations. Formal guidelines for educators and schools working in Second Life, informed by expert legal opinions submitted in response to the call, will be published by the Immersive Education Initiative's Legal Working Group by or before July 4th 2010, with interim recommendations provided in the call. .:: details ::.
- The Immersive Education Initiative will establish a new model for conducting collaborative research in the field of immersive learning and teaching. Synthesized research begins with specific independent research studies that serve as the basis for unified collaborative research conducted through the Initiative, the results of which are refined and informed by the broader research community and ultimately serve as definitive studies, papers, and best practices in the field. Assessment is the focus of the inaugural synthesized research project and will be based upon studies, papers and best practices presented at the 2010 Boston Summit by researchers from Harvard Graduate School of Education [see Assessing Science Inquiry and EcoMUVE], Temple University [see Assessing Science], M.I.T. [see Electromagnetism], and the Smithsonian [see LVM].
- The Immersive Education Initiative will issue a call for formal collaborations between researchers and Colorado's South Park Elementary school to study 1) learning gains and outcomes for South Park's new integrated Immersive Education elementary school curriculum; 2) impact of immersive CAVE environments on engagement and learning on elementary school students; 3) impact of traditional, stereoscopic, and mixed/augmented reality immersive learning technologies piloting at South Park Elementary starting August 2010.
- The Immersive Education Initiative will support the formation of local, regional, and student chapters. iED chapters consist of Initiative members who share common interests and geographical proximity. iED chapters receive technical and organizational support and direction from the international Immersive Education Initiative, and are authorized to host official iED events both in-world (virtually) and in person (e.g., Summits and Days). For details on how to start a local, regional or student chapter .:: contact the Director ::.
- Five mixed (augmented) reality kits were distributed during the Cheers social event on Day 1 (Friday) of the Summit, and five more were distributed during the Future of Immersive Education panel discussion on Day 3 (Sunday). A total of 90 mixed reality kits remain from the shipment that arrived from Asia prior to the Summit. The kits and software development tools will be available to Summit attendees on a first-come-first-served basis later this month.
- Rocket World is now available. As previously announced, all software and virtual worlds that comprise Rocket World are available free of charge to schools and non-profit organizations. Rocket World is a comprehensive immersive learning framework and core immersive STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) curricula designed to inspire and educate a new generation of scientists, engineers and researchers through the novel application of next-generation learning technology. Refer to the .:: Rocket World discussion forums ::. for details.
- Immersive Education 2010 Summit attendees receive $2,500 in permanent virtual world land. Attendees are now finding neighbors and claiming their land, which is provisioned as themed learning worlds. Refer to the .:: CLAIM YOUR LAND! forums ::. for details.
- The Boston Summit will become an annual event, convening every spring in late April or early May, giving educators the ability to plan their participation up to a full year in advance. The 2011 Boston Summit is currently scheduled for late April next year with the exact dates to be finalized and announced later this month.
- The annual Boston Summit will feature "best of" sessions, panels and workshops that debut at themed Summits around the world. Early stage planning is already underway for the following 2011 and 2012 Summits, with each Summit focusing on a specific Immersive Education theme:
- Japan Summit: Mixed and Augmented Reality
- Europe Summit: Virtual Worlds
- India Summit: Low-cost, Low-powered Computing Devices
- California Summit: Learning games
- Colorado Summit: Pre-Kindergarten through High School (primary and secondary school)
- Building on the success of the very first Immersive Education "Day" at Harvard University in 2007 (see Immersive Education Day at Harvard University), and continuing with iED Days hosted by schools around the world (including South America, Asia, and the United States), the Initiative announced that it will continue to sponsor and support these special one and two day community outreach events. Unlike Summits, which are more formal in nature and larger in scope, Immersive Education Days are focused on local activities: iED Days promote activities happening within a school, district, or region. To host an iED Day at your school .:: contact the Director ::.
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