Using virtual worlds instead of in person learning requires some thought put into several things. At Immworlds we have been working on this and with this for over 15 years. This has given us some good insights into what it takes to transition to 3D virtual learning. This note is just the tip of the iceberg of what will need to be considered but it should be enough to get your thoughts going in the right direction on the subject!
At Immworlds we have a number of people wanting to immediately implement a virtual world that will hold many thousands of students at once. They think that this will happen overnight. It definitely will not! There is a lot of work to be done first. You want to dip your feet into the water carefully before you leap in. Let’s not set ourselves up for failure!
We have thought about this quite seriously over the years. Here are some ideas to think about.
3D Virtual schools should happen somewhat slowly so as to ensure a success. When you are doing this pick a small number of classes that would be easily taught in a virtual environment. Some examples would be core subjects like math, English, civics and social studies. These classes are really more lecture classes. You can take them to the next level in a virtual world with innovative thinking and gamification and AI down the road, but first get used to the basics of teaching as an avatar to other avatars.
As a teacher you will discover that the prep work is a lot different and classroom control is also different. Prep time, at least in the beginning will take longer as you will be presenting differently. You will be able to save your environment easily so you can use it later and improve the prep time in the future.
In Immworlds you can create a learning environment specifically for a lesson or group of lessons. That environment is persistent until you want to change it. You can then save that environment to your personal computer easily for later use. It only takes a minute to drag and drop a different virtual environment or scene into your region. (A region is a pre defined virtual space that you as owner have control of.)
You will want to learn how to make your virtual spaces come alive because as the owner you can change everything in the space. You will want to learn how to build in-world and import 3D objects like demonstration objects and new class and social spaces for your students. You will want to learn how to script objects and create animations for avatars for things like dances and animals moving or a NPC (Non-Player Character) so they can answer questions or give out information or even interact with your students.
As you see you don’t just jump in and Voila! everything is there for you. At Immworlds we have a bunch of pre-built environments for you to start with but you will want to make them yours with different furniture, color schemes, and wall decor just like your traditional classroom.
The first clients for Immworlds will need to get training on how to use the world and the basics of building and scripting inside Immworlds. The first teachers we work with will want to show other teachers and even students how to create in and use Immworlds. You might even want to create classes for students in 3D virtual design, as it will become a very important skill in the future. We will also show you about importing things you build using outside apps like Live Home 3D and Blender and Make Human. You can import 3D objects into Immworlds in several different common formats. Most imports are simply drag-and-drop right into the scene.
At Immworlds we want to provide the best customer support that we can provide to you. We are in the process of creating and improving our support wiki which is accessible right inside Immworlds.
Our first clients will be more like a pilot program with our clients more like partners where we share our discoveries and work to engage together to improve our client’s knowledge and abilities in a virtual space and improve Immworlds to do even more for the people using Immworlds. Our first build-outs for clients will be limited in size to make sure everything works as expected and avoid pitfalls.
Immworlds is not a be here today-gone tomorrow sort of product or company. We will be here in the long term to work together to make your experience and Immworlds the best it can be. Let’s work together on smaller projects that we both can handle at first and then grow together into something wonderful!