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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Why Open Sim will Dominate Virtual Worlds in Education



This excellent post from David Deeds on Virtual Worlds (He presented at our Flat Classroom conference on this but see his blog post for his presentation.):

"Make no mistake about it…OpenSim will win…in fact, maybe it already has. I’ll be writing more about this later…even if you teach at a college/university, I personally maintain that you’d be better off with OpenSim, although maintaining a Second Life cybercampus also has its advantages if you can afford the time/money to maintain both."

Yes, I totally agree. Why?

1 - Open Sim is More Flexible.
I can "zip up islands" and share them. I can borrow an island for my kids to "get dressed on" and then zip it up and start over. By using Reactiongrid I have access to my own server via remote.

2 - Cost
Open Sim can be installed internally or hosted (like I do with ReactionGrid) but the bottom line is that although Second Life is the Lamborghini - Open Sim is still a pretty nice BMW and most of us are happy with the Open Sim interface.

3 - Expertise
Many people have dual experience in Second Life and Open Sim and are able to port their skills over (even if you cannot port your inventory.)

4- Control
You can have full control in Open Sim, depending on where you host.

As Maria Korolov said in her article How to Pick a Virtual World - Revisited (Hat Tip David Deeds)

"If you want the lowest possible costs, or the maximum control of your environment — or to avoid vendor-lock in — a free-to-download open source virtual world platform like OpenSim is a good bet. Users tell us that performance is as good or better as that of Second Life with adequate hardware — at least one processor core per region.

Professionally hosted OpenSim regions run about a tenth to a third of the prices of similar regions in Second Life, but lack the community of that platform, the user numbers, and the sheer variety of content. "

That can change. It is time for us to start using, sharing and posting our islands and work. I'll be back on my islands this week and taking in 9th graders. I'll plan on zipping up some .oar files and sharing them with you.

I'm no "expert" - don't ask me to build you a mansion - you'll get a wooden box. My scripts are OK, but I still can't make fire like my students did last year on the Statue of Zeus (in their 7th ancient wonders of the world project.) But I do have down some teaching strategies including the use of notecards and also the creation of boxes w/ notecards that they can take that give feedback on what the island looks like and feedback.

All this being said, I met the CEO of Kaneva this past fall and they have some pretty cool things happening there as well.

OK, gotta go run set up our ReactionGrid.
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