Here is a belated introduction.
I am a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin and the
founding co-editor of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research.
The first edition of the Journal should be out by the end of June and we
hopefully be featuring an article about the History of Virtual Worlds by
I look forward to collaboration with all of you.
I don’t think I have introduced myself to the group. I have been using virtual worlds for outreach education since 1996 at Cornell University. First I put VRML visualizations and worlds online for science communication. Then I met Bruce and fell in love with the multiuser spaces. Almost all of our work has been in Active Worlds, I have been in Croquet a few times, including being at BU when the team demonstrated its first computer to computer interaction. I do have an account in SL and am very interested in working with OpenSim in the near future.
For the past ten years, our focus at SciCentr has been on teaching teachers and students how to use virtual worlds in K-12 education. We have been hosting a private universe, CUni, for that purpose. And this year we served about 500 kids. You can learn about our projects at www.scicentr.org. While we have done a bit of work in designing content-centered worlds to be played through as in serious games, our best experience has been in learning to support teams of youth in designing and building their own worlds to share with others. We call our approach the SciFair Model. SciFair worlds are usually “about” an area of science that interests them, but not always. We call them “knowledge spaces.” Some are more gamelike than others. We have more than 150 worlds serving right now.
I have also been active in trying to grow and support a community of educators using virtual worlds and thus for 5 years (beginning in 1998) we ran VLearn3D.org as a community. We being Bonnie DeVarco, Katy Borner, and myself. While the program is done, we maintain a small library of publications there. I am extremely interested in making sure that kids get constructive access to this medium, especially those with limited Internet access. It’s really fun teaching teachers who are frightened of computers enough about the medium so that they can let their kids explore and create :>) And we do have data to confirm that this experience is associated with improved attitudes toward learning for at risk populations.
Cornell University Outreach
533 Rhodes Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-3801
Like Henry Lowood, I'm part of the Library of Congress Preserving
Virtual Worlds project. I'm looking for to some great conversations on
this list. Meantime, for anyone in the DC-area:
An ADVENTURE Table-Read
"You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building.
Around you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and
down a gully."
Recognize these lines? They're from the opening screen of Will
Crowther's ADVENTURE (1975), the first example of the genre known as
interactive fiction and arguably our first example of a virtual world
(and as such the distant ancestor to places like World of Warcraft and
Second Life). There is also an appropriate literary resonance: this
path in the forest where the straight way is lost is reminiscent of
another great underground epic.
As part of our work on a project funded by the Library of Congress
dedicated to Preserving Virtual Worlds
(http://www.ndiipp.uiuc.edu/pca/), MITH will be hosting a table-read
of the original version of ADVENTURE, recently recovered from backup
tapes at Stanford University. We will read through the complete text
of the game, and also (geeks that we are) have a look at its FORTRAN
We're inviting anyone with an interest in gaming, interactive fiction,
or virtual worlds to join us for an hour or two on Thursday, May 15,
at 12:00 noon in our conference room (MITH is located on the basement
level of McKeldin Library). Appropriately, we will provide tasty food:
pizza. As with all adventures, we're unsure of where this one will end
or exactly how we will get there. But there are sure to be
breathtaking views along the way. Please RSVP to mgk at umd dot edu if
you would like to attend.
Associate Professor of English
Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)
University of Maryland
301-405-8505 or 301-314-7111 (fax)