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Video Vocab, Looma, and a new virtual world

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I have recently learned about a small non-profit that is working to deliver ICT support to rural educators in Nepal.

Looma lady 1
Nepali educators learning about the Looma.

That’s right, Information & Communication Technology in the villages and classrooms of the Himalayas.

VillageTech Solutions have designed Looma, a standalone audio-visual device that

  • is self-powered (solar-rechargeable batter)
  • is operated with a wireless “wand”
  • has a built-in audio system
  • comes loaded with CC-Licensed content (games, videos, songs, etc.)

The device projects the “desktop” onto a wall and comes with a hand-held mouse (the “wand”) to navigate. The prototype has been field tested and now they are looking for volunteers to help search for—and evaluate—content that can be loaded into the drive. (Most classrooms in rural Nepal have no electricity, much less an Internet connection.)

I would write a bit more; but, I am up to my elbows producing some educational content…gotta go. Holler at “azwaldo” at gmail dot com, anytime.

Site Preview HUD

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Update: Demo stays for a while.

I have designed a new tool, and now invite you to try it out.

At last year’s VWBPE conference (previous post) I wanted to give visitors a quick, customized tour of a design I was presenting…even when I was AFK.

Azwaldo's Site Preview HUD
Demonstration vendor in
my parcel, in Urdu

This “Site Preview HUD”

  • combines scripted camera movement with audio narration
  • is “touch to wear”
  • is temporary, nothing is added to Inventory
  • quickly shows the points of interest in a region or build

I am not selling this object.

This is not an advertisement.

This effect is new to me; so, it may be new to others, as well. I would be happy to share full-perm copies with the right users. (The hard part is creating .wav files, setting camera coordinates.)

You can find* it here: SLURL

*

Demo will be removed after a week a month or two. Holler if it’s missing, and I’ll set one out again.

There is also a Notecard at the demo location. Please share that—or this link—with others.

I like this effect. I think it would be useful in introducing visitors to the key spots in a build.

Written by azwaldo

August 4, 2014 at 6:36 pm

real world knowledge via virtual world content

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One of my earliest design gigs in virtual worlds was the development of a HUD* used by students learning the Chinese language. After four or five years, that design is still in use. The image below is from the Chinese Island simulation.

* Heads Up Display – an interactive display with buttons and text that mediates their interaction with the virtual environment.

Snapshot_001

News stand at Chinese Island. (Click for full size image.)
Note the blue dialog prompt, and the HUD in upper and left perimeters.

Early next year, a group of Monash University students will enter the virtual world of SecondLife™ to experience a variety of simulations; a restaurant, an airport, a medical clinic and a train station. Later, they will actually travel to Italy for a program of study, abroad.

The virtual environment in which they will immerse themselves is modeled on the neighborhood in Italy where they will be staying. The simulations are designed to prepare them for their visit. They will study maps, use currency, become familiar with local fixtures…like signs.

Snapshot_002

Avatar, virtual workshop, and assorted educational objects.

In support of the Italian Studies project, I am developing interactive objects—mainly the scripts—to provide a number of interactions. Students can open a “wallet” at the “ATM” and withdraw virtual currency, then visit a coffee shop and…maybe purchase a cappucino. On touching some of the things they see (think “mouse click”), the name of that object appears as text in Italian and they hear an audio-stream pronunciation of the term.

They will be required to buy tickets, read a public transit schedule, and complete many other tasks during their lessons.

My mother and I did something similar before our visit to New York City. After opening Google Earth and “roaming” the virtual streets around our hotel to prepare for our trip, we were able to navigate that neighborhood as though we had been there before.

So, thanks Mom…for helping field test this sort of technology.

Written by azwaldo

December 9, 2013 at 1:25 am