Tuesday, January 23, 2018

EDU: IMA: WW: SceneGate: updating the strawman model for education

SceneGate: updating 
the strawman model 
educational viewer

Updated 10/3/2018
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

What do we need from a viewer for education and educational research?

  • Minimize viewer learning time 
  • CapabilityUser 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.
  • Use a standard, widely taught, scripting language (probably JavaScript)
  • 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

Desirable features

  • 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 OpenSimulatorHeliosHalcyon  and Whitecoresim 
  • Integrate with web-world development (CybaloungeWebworldz)
  • 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.
  • New:
  • Allow for merging voice from other web sources such as Skype or web-worlds
  • More?  TBD
  • Allow much longer audio on click.
  • Add glLF format  import capability of mesh

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.)

Research support

  • 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)


  • Original text in this blog is CC By: unless specified public domain
  • Use as you please with attribution: link to the original.
  • All images without attribution in this blog are CC0: public domain.

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