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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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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24/7 help desk March 9, 2011 - 9:53 am

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Erik Nauman March 9, 2011 - 1:43 pm

I agree completely! Aside from the flexibility OpenSim affords, I think it’s just darn cool that you can take these 3D experiences and pack them up in a file to be redeployed somewhere else. The OAR file is just a magical and wondrous thing to me. Sounds like you are doing some fantastic things with your students, by the way.

coolcatteacher March 9, 2011 - 8:12 pm

They are doing amazing things!! I still get stuck in walls!

Vicki Davis
Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Building the bridges of today that the society of tomorrow will walk across.

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