ABOUT THE EDUCATION GRID (TEG)
- LEGAL LIABILITY
- BROAD ACCESS
- OPEN SOURCE, ROYALTY FREE, OPENLY DISTRIBUTABLE
- CROSS-PLATFORM CONTENT: "Create Once, Experience Everywhere"
- LIBRARY SERVICES, STUDY GROUP TOOLS, COLLABORATION TOOLS
- IT'S FREE : HOW TO ACCESS THE EDUCATION GRID
- The Education Grid announced at Immersive Education Day at Harvard University on December 8th 2007
- The Immersive Education Initative's virtual worlds platform ecosystem annouced during the 2008 Boston Summit
- The Education Grid Requirements Specification enters working draft status in April 2008
- The first 6 nodes on The Education Grid go live on June 20, 2008 [listen to the launch event MP3 audio here]
- Immersive Education Initative announces realXtend as an official platform during the 2009 London Summit
- Immersive Education Initative announces Open Simulator as an official platform during the 2010 Boston Summit
The Education Grid (TEG) provides private and secure learning environments for teachers and students of all ages. Every avatar on TEG has a real name — the same name as the individual associated with the avatar — and every avatar name also includes the name of the school or organization that the individual is associated with.
No fake names or anonymous accounts are permitted on TEG specifically so that teachers can meet with their students in secure and, optionally, private learning environments (just like classrooms in the real world). In cases where anonymous avatar names are desired the school can host its own TEG node (server), entirely on its own network, in a so-called "behind the firewall" configuration. In this way schools can apply any avatar naming conventions they require.
The secure and private learning environments that TEG provides limits the legal exposure that schools may have when teaching in immersive virtual worlds. In contrast, requiring students of any age — even adults — to attend class in a public virtual world populated with unknown, anonymous and/or pseudo-anonymous avatars may present a legal liability because of the content and people that students entering such environments might be exposed to. Even in cases where public virtual worlds provide the ability for educators to restrict access to their own virtual land (e.g., private classrooms in a public space) students may be required to sign in (log-in) to the public environment in order to access members-only areas. Simply having a members-only area in a public virtual world does not prevent students from traveling outside of the areas designated for class: once signed in they may have access to every part of the public virtual world, not just their class area. In such cases it can be argued that this is the equivalent of "holding class in a red light district" because students are free to roam far and wide before, after, or even during class.
RELATED [HISTORICAL AND CURRENT]:
Virtual Assault Annotated Bibliography: http://www.interpersonal-divide.org/assault_bibliography.html
Pedophile Playground Discovered in 'Second Life' Virtual World CNN video:
Fox News story: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,306937,00.html
Information Week story: http://tinyurl.com/y4dfs3v
Avatar Rape [Inside Higher Ed]: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2010/02/25/bugeja
Second Thoughts About Second Life [The Chronicle of Higher Education]:
Second Life Revisited [The Chronicle of Higher Education]:
Second Life Sex Software Prompts Real-World Lawsuit [Fox News]:
Virtual Worlds Pose Compliance Risks [Hypergrid Business]: http://tinyurl.com/ylxpkq
A real-world battle over virtual-property rights [LA Times]:
Behind the firewall: Schools that host their own servers have complete control over who has access to their virtual worlds. Likewise, schools that host their virtual worlds on The Education Grid can restrict access to those worlds at their discretion.
Roster (class list/enrollment) provisions: No anonymous access is allowed for virtual worlds hosted on The Education Grid. Schools can also provide student rosters, and teacher rosters, from which authenticated avatars may be provisioned.
Private or Shared: Educators can keep their virtual worlds private, or make them available to a range of learners.
Global scale: Educators that want their work to be used by other schools can make their virtual worlds available to the entire Immersive Education Initiative membership, which is approaching 3,000 members worldwide as of April 2010 and growing at the rate of approximately 100 new members every month. Initiative members, in turn, represent millions of students and non-traditional learners around the world.
No age restriction: Separate copies of a virtual world can be made simultaneously available for three levels of learners, where appropriate security measures are applied to enable students and teachers to work together in safe, secure, and age-appropriate learning environments:
- K-6: KINDERGARTEN THROUGH 6TH GRADE
- 7-12: JR. HIGH AND HIGH SCHOOL
- COLLEGE+: HIGHER EDUCATION AND GENERAL iED MEMBERS
Parallel Access: A single virtual world can be used, simultaneously, by multiple schools. Each school is provided with its own private audio channel, which prevents lectures and discussion from being heard by anyone outside of that particular class. Avatars can be standing side by side in the same world, for example, with each participating in a different class because they are using different private audio channels.
OPEN SOURCE, ROYALTY FREE, OPENLY DISTRIBUTABLE
Conforms to the Media Grid Intellectual Property Policy: http://MediaGrid.org/policy/Media_Grid_Intellectual_Property_Policy.pdf
Ownership is encouraged and supported: Educators own what they create, can take it anywhere, and are provided with migration and backup tools to make this process as simple as possible. Educators can use these tools to copy the 3D assets they own from Second Life to their worlds on The Education Grid (TEG worlds may also be hosted entirely by and within the school, or elsewhere, as the school sees fit).
Durable and persistent: No company, organization, or individual holds the rights to or has control over your work. You do. The source code and binary executables for every Immersive Education Initiative virtual worlds platform is freely available, and schools are encouraged and taught how to host their own virtual worlds on their own networks ("behind the firewall"). Compare this with the past decade of commercial/proprietary virtual worlds companies, technologies, and products that no longer exist.
When a company is sold or goes out of business, or the technology platform is sold or discontinued, the educator's time, energy, and financial investments is lost. Consider, for example, the fate of the tens of millions of 3D virtual objects, scenes, and worlds that were created using just these 5 platforms alone which represent a very small fraction of virtual worlds and 3D content platforms that are now defunct. Most users of the 5 platforms below never imagined the company behind it would go out of business, or that the platform would be discontinued:
- Google Lively
- Sony Cosmo
- blaxxun CyberTown
Most of the above platforms were active for years. For every one listed above more than a dozen other platforms were discontinued as well. Since 1995 no less than fifty online 3D platforms and communities have been discontinued or shut down, representing a combined total of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of virtual objects, scenes, and worlds that are now lost forever.
Contrast this with the recent decision of Oracle to not continue the development of Wonderland with its acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Not a single virtual object, scene or world was lost or deleted because of this decision, and there was no disruption to the global community of Wonderland users and developers. Hundreds of Wonderland projects around the world continued, and never stopped, when Oracle announced it would not continue to develop the Wonderland platform as Sun had done before it. Wonderland, as an official Immersive Education Initiative virtual worlds platform, is open source. Schools that use Wonderland typically run their virtual worlds on their own servers (on the school network) and have complete control over who uses their worlds. The content format for Wonderland is also open, and is based on Immersive Education Open File Formats (OFF.TWG) standards: at the discretion of the content owner, Wonderland content can be moved to other platforms and used in other 3D environments (video games, film production, graphic arts, and so forth). Both the platform and the content are open. Whereas a proprietary platform comes to a halt when the company that develops it either goes out of business or discontinues the platform, Wonderland continues to be actively developed through a newly established Open Wonderland foundation that was detailed during the keynote presentations on Day 1 (April 23) of the Immersive Education 2010 Boston Summit.
No lock-in: Using the open file formats endorsed by the Immersive Education Initiative's OFF.TWG group (see below) educators are also free to migrate or copy their Wonderland content into other virtual worlds platforms at any time they'd like. The Immersive Education "Platform Ecosystem" is specifically designed to prevent platform and content lock-in.
CROSS-PLATFORM CONTENT: "Create Once, Experience Everywhere"
SEE Open File Formats Technology Working Group (OFF.TWG): http://MediaGrid.org/groups/technology/OFF.TWG
LIBRARY SERVICES, STUDY GROUP TOOLS, COLLABORATION TOOLS
SEE Library Technology Working Group (LIB.TWG): http://MediaGrid.org/groups/technology/LIB.TWG
IT'S FREE : HOW TO ACCESS THE EDUCATION GRID