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Nov 29, 2007



I am always for hybrid. Open Source doesn't mean "with no money", it means free, flexible and available.
Pack a nice presentation, in both traditional and new nexus way, ans send it to everybody and anybody who might be interested in development, use, financing or cutting own tax money by donating to the edu project. Rinse, repeat.
Also, call developers via your website and other means of communication. Be specific about what you need, and about the project. Place the project on sourceforge.


I've been involved with several educational 'platform' efforts before and understand the initial excitement from a very personal perspective. After 30+ years of computers-in-the-school, we have seen dismal results in advancing the teaching methods the glacier-paced American public education institution. After spending the better part of a decade working in the educational software industry (public and corporate) I know the desire to make significant change well.

But, something jumped out at me about this proposal. What if you substituted WEB for 3D, VW, and Virtual World in the project summary? Don't Web Browsers and HTML, etc. meet the requirements above? Have they produced the precursors to the presumed revolutionary educational results hoped for here?

I've been in the corporate social platform world for a very long time, and I always have an immediate immune reaction to proposals like this: It leads with the definition of a solution without a problem statement. OK for research, but not for products or for platforms.

What are the educational challenges that require 3D VW technology to solve? Will this increase compliance with NCLB? How does this new medium compare with Video? With the Web? Shouldn't any potential toolkit focus on defining the requirements to solve those problems?


I did a quick google search, and this popped up on the first try: EU Funded 3D Teaching Tools

Perhaps you could try to get in touch with those people via the contact info included with the article. Even if they won't share their work, perhaps you can get them to explain how they got started and where the funding came from. Heck, they may even know other people working on similar projects, or have open discussion boards you could join. You sould also see a short list of "related articles" to the right of that article.

This also looks interresting, but not quite what you're talking about: 3-D web design

Hope that helps.


So much technology, such falling sat scores...

Start small, pick one niche that does not seem to be working for kids (long division?) and create a compelling game/world/space that has them kicking and screaming to get in. Make it available. (flash? second life?) Then see if test scores in that niche go up. If not, if the kids are not really learning better, then back to paper and practice.


All who've written thus far: Thanks for taking the time.

@dandellion Kimban: one vote for hybrid approach duly noted. Thanks for the other input; SourceForge could be a good idea if we go an open source development route.

@F. Randall Farmer: Your skepticism is well taken. I have heard too many promises of how technology is going to make students love learning, make teachers' lives easier and save schools money. Oy. And yet. Students today are truly different animals than those 10 years ago. At the risk of using an over-used term, they're digital natives. We knew this from experience and our beta testing on both coasts of the US is confirming it. I think we've reached a tipping point where technology, particularly INTERACTIVE technology can be used to improve learning. We've also reached another tipping point: schools are becoming less and less relevant to students' learning; textbooks are dead in some ways (in others, they're still the more effective tool, however), lectures are generally not engaging teens as much as they did in the past.

As for using web instead of VW, I think you aren't seeing the whole picture. The four points I listed are the requirements for the VW toolset software, not for "a good way to teach" or some such. While I think that this VW tool that we're aiming for will certainly use the web for connections, I don't think a HTML approach can do what we are trying to do in terms of engagement and, moreover, facilitating learning.

Oh: pardon my flippance, but I have no plan to comply with (or consider) No Child Left Behind. It's crap and it'll die a ugly death soon. ...

@SVgr: thanks for the suggestions!

@Sam: You're absolutely right in looking for measurable increases in learning. We also need to consider bigger issues than test scores, though. Love of learning doesn't show up easily on tests. Improved morale in a class is observable but tricky to measure. But we're surely interested in getting some of the proverbial hard data too.


I have visited your site 060-times



You may want to touch base with the Devs of this Project:

It's presently in Beta (I'm one of the testers) and its VR building components are very easy to use. It's primary design will be to allow anyone with little to no technical knowledge to build their own personal VR.

As I said,its in beta,but its coming along nicely.


@Randy: Thanks. Will do.


Tripp, this comments scares me...

Having a little familiarity with software development, I understand that creating something that is really powerful/flexible AND user-friendly is hard, really hard. I’m sure the reason such a tool doesn’t exist is because it’s extremely hard to create. But it’s not impossible. So if it’s possible and if it’s worth doing, how do we get it made? Which approach, Open Source or charitably funded (or a hybrid) is best?

What you are saying is you see money and/or talent to make your vision come true, and IMO neither of them will do the trick. Neither money nor talent cares about or shares your idea, and you need both of them to care about it and share the vision. If the money or talent doesn't care, they won't have drive to make it right. If they don't share, then your vision risks becoming broken and dispersed.

My advice is that you yourself learn in the process of creating your idea. As you progress, pickup up people and resources that share and contribute towards your goal.

Also, go back and read Ted Castronova's comments on Arden. He threw money and people at the project, and it didn't work out as he wanted. In the end, he went back to just himself and made it as he wanted it.


@Tim: I appreciate your taking the time to write.

Don't be scared. ;)

If I read you correctly, I generally agree with you. I agree that anyone on the project needs to be seriously committed to it. I agree that it'd be great if we could do this ourselves, but doing it at the level that we intend will really require world-class programming skills...not something I could ever do.

My partner in New Nexus, Bill Chamberlain, and I have a lot going for us. We have lots of real-world experience with teens in classrooms (and out). We have lots of experience creating/running diverse games for people. We have pretty good technical experience/ability and a reasonable understanding of what it will take to get the tool set we're dreaming of made. But we don't pretend to be able to do the heavy lifting that it will take to create the tool we envision.

I don't think your read of what Ted's done and doing is quite accurate; I don't think he "went back to just himself and made it as he wanted," fwiw. But I could be wrong. But I did get something I thought reinforced from the Arden project's experience: it's easy to get excited about a project in the short term, but as the seasons change and years tick by, few will stick around. I knew that already, but it was a chilling reminder, and I'm grateful that Ted shared it.

Our expectation is that we'll get this ball rolling and help keep it on track, but we will need a big, serious team to make it happen. And I think that money is helpful to get people to pull through the times when vision isn't enough; when people are getting paid full-time, above average salaries, they have incentive to stick around. That's just one route, though. The other, the Open Source route, would probably take longer to reach the end, but it might work.

In either approach, we feel (or hope!) that the goal is so good that it will get enough people (and/or, ahem, money) interested to commit to it and see it through. -If a free tool for creating quality virtual world experiences for learning was available for the world, and the content that everyone makes and offers is archived online for all to use (and some commercial content could also be created and sold for it)...imagine the potential for that. That's a vision that's big and engaging, I think.

Also: we've posted the mod and associated files on our site, and it's also on the IGN Vault for NWN stuff.


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eq2 gold everquest 2 gold lotro gold lotr gold eq2 gold everquest 2 gold lotro gold lotr gold maplestory mesos maple story mesos runescape money runescape item dofus kamas ffxi gil


Are y'all aware that there is a MMORPG (or VW as you prefer) called Nexus? There might be some trademark issues there.


Thanks! No, I was not aware of that game "Nexus: The Kingdoms Of The Winds". I doubt there will be an issue, though, since that will probably not be the name of a product. But thanks for bringing it to our attention. Anyone think that is an issue for us?


The goals are all in line with the Croquet project, who also have a major headstart on developing a P2P distributed world designed from the ground up to be a teaching environment for children. The only thing missing from Croquet is a couple years of refinement and good in world tutorials.


Yes, I hadn't heard of Croquet until a week or so back, and it does have many similarities with our vision. The orientation is a little different, but we're going to be learning more about it to see how much convergence there is. Thanks.



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