SceneGate: updating the straw-man model for education
A straw-man model for a virtual world viewer was presented with the objective of eliciting comments and suggestions for improvement. Comments and suggestions are here used to produce a more refined model. This article is explicitly licensed as public domain.
The future of education
- Wanted: a virtual world viewer for education. Straw-man model
- A straw-man model was used to start developing specs
- Straw-man strategy: You put it up and everyone tells you what is wrong with it.
- Comments and suggestions are here used to produce a more refined model.
- This article is explicitly licensed as public domain.
What do we need from a viewer for education and educational research?
- Minimize viewer learning time
- Capability: User activity tracking.
- Use secure, web-compatible exchange protocols (https)
- Provide independent voice and text communication in the viewer.
- Provide instructor-managed communication channels
- Meet standard accessibility requirements for educational offerings.
- Provide for still and video capture. by learner, instructor, and researcher
- Provide settings to configure for multiple learning styles.
- Mobile device compatibility
- Microlearning compatibility
- Provide for for detailed record-keeping of user actions and surrounding events.
- Support for individualized instruction guided by observed performance.
- Comply with relevant industry specs.
Easy learning of viewer use
- Cut actions to be learned to minimum needed for education:
- Walk, talk (voice), text, teleport, fly, cam around, zoom.
- Make friends, locate, contact friends
- Send and receive instant messages
- Click objects to activate or select them.
- Gather objects and place them (learners can build to keep score)
- Develop compatibility with web-worlds.
- Provide onboarding plan to go from web-worlds to full virtual worlds.
Accessibility requirements (TBD)
- Text to speech (probably available)
- Speech to text (in test on web-worlds)
- Use only browser-compatible calls
- More? TBD
- Optional recording to MP4
- Recall recording: Last N minutes before an error.
- Small segment video recording.
- For students: Small segment saving for micro learning review.
- Add drag and drop importing for images, COLLADA files*, videos, urls, and avatars.
- *And other industry standard model formats: obj, 3ds, wrl, x3d
- Allow user to drag windows off the viewer screen.
- Keep compatibility with OpenSimulator, Helios, Halcyon and Whitecoresim
- Integrate with web-world development (Cybalounge, Webworldz)
- Offer optional tips on learning and web-use.
- Provide hooks for the insertion of hand-held controls.
- Provide a way to overlay part of the virtual world scene on a video image.
- Be able to run Blender and other tools under its management.
- Support import from Blender to web-worlds or Opensim.
- Allow for merging voice from other web sources such as Skype or web-worlds
- More? TBD
- Allow much longer audio on click.
What's in a name?
- SceneGate is the name we chose as a working title for the strawman viewer.
- A gate gives access to another place. A viewer gives access to a virtual world.
- Entering a virtual world is like walking into a scene on your computer.
- An operational viewer might have a different name, such as EduGate.
Relevant industry specs
My idea of how to use this educational/research viewer
- The front end of the viewer is a web page.
- This part is accessed without registration.
- The entry page is flat and provides 3 main tracks:
- Background: flat page explanation of 3D and description of what is offered here.
- Web-worlds: Browser-based 3D places offering instruction
- Full 3D worlds: Virtual worlds such as OpenSimulator that need a viewer installed
- SceneGate objectives
- What SceneGate provides now.
- Links to OpenSource software often of interest to virtual world users.
- Explanation of web-worlds and full 3D worlds.
- Explanation of offerings
- Open active worlds: These accept guests and have people currently.
- Open inactive worlds: These accept guests but have no people currently.
- Closed worlds: These require registration and carry registration instructions.
Full 3D worlds
- Explanation of the benefit of a full 3D world
- Organized list of available worlds, offerings, and registration instructions
- Instructions on installing the supporting viewer software for a full 3D world.
- (Most of the installation should be automatic. Maybe even a plugin.)
- Policy overview.
- What data collection is currently supported.
- How to create a study (which may be based on a regular class).
- Resources online
- Live consultant (office hours in a web-world)