Virtual and Immersive Learning

Unattributed, Campus Technology, Aug 09, 2006
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I really have mixed feelings about this. I remember looking at ActiveWorlds years ago, long before Second Life came to the fore. Neat, I thought, but rendering problems and a distinct lack of any applications spoke against further investigation. Now people are looking at these virtual environments in more detail, and even building life-sized virtual environments, as at Purdue, and though I still suppose they're a good idea, I am still hard-pressed to get excited about them. I mean - I have this image of a student rushing to school, rushing to her VR studio, opening the door - only to find herself in a (virtual) classroom. Yes, I like immersive environments - but the environments I've tried cost millions of dollars and are available only to the military and millionaire students. And they have no shortage of researchers interested in their needs.
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