Fas and the Learning Technologies Project



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FAS and the Learning Technologies Project

  • FAS: 62 year-old, non-profit research group that works to apply practical solutions drawn from science and technology to some of the world’s most pressing issues.
  • Learning Technologies: a project within FAS that aims to create a major national R&D program for using information technology to improve how we teach and learn

Typical Model of an Instructional Technology Project

  • $250K grant +
  • Two years of Work

Some Statistics

  • Average age of a web page is 75 days
  • 0.5% of web pages disappeared each week
  • 3% of the objects in digital libraries are no longer accessible after one year

Transformative Potential

  • A revolution in the way knowledge and expertise acquired and measured
  • A revolution in the way learning is delivered
  • A revolution in the way learning systems are created

Our working definition of a VW

  • Online, [3D], shared environments that allow multiple users to create content and experiences, collaborate, and communicate with other users [through the use of an avatar].
  • Can model elements from both the real and imagined worlds, including physically and historically accurate topography and natural phenomena such as gravity, motion, and climate.

Goals:

  • Goals:
  • Engage learners, ages 8 – 14, in challenges and mysteries that can only be solved by understanding
  • Demonstrate new ways to reassemble artifacts and knowledge about them now spread across many different museum and library collections
  • Features:
  • Accurate historical and scientific information
  • 3D photorealistic simulations of cities & temple complexes that allow open-ended exploration and discovery
  • Contextualization of museum artifacts used by characters in virtual environments
  • Question & answer management tools to stimulate learning
  • Compelling, age-appropriate challenges and assignments

Digital Assets from Project

Post Babylon: New Objectives

  • Greater flexibility in visitor experiences
  • “Outsource” vendor support and connectivity
  • Cater to research activities, in addition to learning
  • Increase participation: create Open-to-all Contribution Model
  • Provide annotations facility
  • Add Intelligent & autonomous agents
  • Interactive spoken dialogs
  • Reusable data & metadata
  • Common architecture for multiple worlds

Extending concept of Discover Babylon to online collaborative and visualization spaces

  • Create and integrating tools, frameworks and communication protocols to:
  • Support and display multiple types of sources and perspectives
    • Link and move easily between related texts, images, objects, sound and products of the mind (test predictions)
    • Serve interdisciplinary and international audiences
  • (Re)construct objects and spaces, layered to provide:
    • Interoperable and reusable content
    • Rigorous academic standards
    • New academic findings
    • Varying layers of complexity
    • Multiple interpretations
  • Lower the barrier for participation
    • Collaborative building
    • Production facilities for content creation
    • Peer Review
    • Communication facilities for meaningful conversation & debate

A New Publication Dimension

  • Possible replacement: link and make accessible findings, ideas and “lab workbooks” and raw material of scholarship often lost after article is published
  • How it would work:
  • Select a theme (location/period)
  • Create a framework to accept inputs
    • Architecture
    • Material Culture
    • Arts (musical performances, dance, theatre)
    • Economic activity (behaviors)
  • Provide services allowing new publications to be converted to observables in the VW and linked to other forms of publication (e.g. provide modeling/scripting services to subject experts as publication staff services)
  • Provide peer review
  • Provide indexing and permanence

Is this for real??

Virtual Worlds and Engines

  • A3 Awakening
  • Habbo Hotel
  • Second Life
  • Activeworlds
  • Home
  • Sims 2 Online
  • Adellion
  • Infinity Quest for Earth
  • Sora City
  • Asheron’s Call
  • Kaneva
  • Spore
  • Blink 3-D
  • Lineage 2
  • Squeak
  • City of Heroes
  • Little Big Planet
  • Star Wars Galaxies
  • Club Pengium
  • Piko Island
  • There
  • Coke Studios
  • The Manor
  • Tower Chat
  • Croquet
  • Many One
  • Traveler
  • Cybertown
  • Metacrasher
  • Ultima Online
  • Cyworld
  • Metaverse
  • Unreal Technology
  • Dark Age of Camelot
  • Metaverse Roadmap Project
  • Virtual Ibiza
  • Disney Toontown
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Virtual Magic Kingdom
  • Dreamville
  • Mokitown
  • Voodoo Chat
  • Dubit
  • Multiverse
  • VPChat
  • Entropia Universe
  • Muse
  • VZones
  • Eve Online
  • Olive
  • Webkinz
  • Everquest
  • Paraverse
  • Why Robbie Rocks
  • The Palace
  • Whyville
  • Gaia Online
  • Playdo
  • Wonderlands
  • Google Earth
  • Runescape
  • World of Warcraft

Raw Numbers

  • Estimated VW population to reach 50 million (8 out of 10 Internet users) by 2011. Currently:
  • Second Life:
    • 10th most popular MMO
    • Estimated number of users: 9.6 million
    • Estimated monthly uniques: 187,000
    • Target audience: 18+ yrs old
  • Neopets:
    • Estimated number of users: 147 million
    • Estimated monthly uniques: 4.2 million
    • Target audience: 5+ yrs old
  • Club Penguin:
    • Estimated number of users: 12 million
    • Estimated monthly uniques: 4.7 million
    • Target audience: 6-14 yrs old
  • Data based on http://gigaom.com/2007/05/20/virtual-world-population-50-million-by-2011/ , Sentient Service, A Quick Guide to Virtual Worlds and online data

User generated content: an important and economic phenomenon

  • Only the 10th largest MMO
  • Monthly averages for time spent in world: 2.3 million hours
  • 100 terabytes of data have been created by “residents” since the world’s inception.*
  • *about five times as large as the Library of Congress, with its 20 million books.

Functional requirements for creating & continuously improving worlds:

  • Project management tools
    • identifying team leaders, contributors, reviewers
    • scheduling and notification
    • managing payments for services as needed
    • commenting, rating, upgrading
  • APIs for object creation and adding metadata
    • 3D formats
    • Text, images, video, sound, textures, VOIP
    • Scripts, motion capture
    • Metadata (including SCORM)
  • Converters to push standard formats into virtual world viewers/platforms (Croquet, Wonderland, Active Worlds, Second Life)
  • Data-base structure
    • Input/Output
    • Searching
    • Version Control
    • Links to large digital repositories
  • Assessment modules
  • Managing payments for services as needed
  • Connecting to object repositories
  • APIs for scripts, AI, physics engines, simulations, character motion & emotion
  • Version control
  • Storing and rating experiences

Functional Requirements for Using the Virtual Worlds to Learn

  • Design tools for projects, games, assignments, performance tests
  • Search capabilities
  • Storing and rating these experiences
  • identifying students and connecting to student records (including private records)
  • Identity and trust management (access, privacy)
    • instructors, tutors, counselors, guides, role players, scheduling and notification
    • students and connecting to student records (including private records)
  • Storing and rating experiences
  • Management of cash assets
    • Payments to instructors, counselors, others
    • Payments to IP holders
    • Payments from students
  • Management of abusive behavior
  • Plug-ins
  • Virtual Worlds
  • Contributors Roles
  • Collaboration Framework
  • Residents
  • Visitors
  • Admin
  • Role Play
  • Data Management Modules
  • Data
  • Store
  • Non-Virtual World Databases
  • Reference Data & Metadata
  • Link/Relation to VW Assets
  • User Data
  • Interaction
  • Logic
  • Second Life
  • Multiverse
  • WWW
  • Common Architecture
  • Common Simulation Logic
  • Simulation
  • Environment
  • Custom Interface
  • Information
  • Reference Data & Metadata
  • Non-Player
  • Mechanics
  • Plug-ins
  • Virtual World n..
  • Reviewers
  • Managers
  • Developers
  • Users
  • Creation

Reference Data

  • Reference Data
  • File Formats
  • Metadata
  • Source
  • Pictures
  • Jpeg, gif, bmp, tif, png, tga,
  • Title, Description, Subject, Resource Type, Origin/Owner (Author/Creator), Political Era, Age, Date of creation, etc.
  • Self-created, Proprietary Repositories, Online
  • 3D Models
  • 3ds Max, Maya,
  • CAD Data
  • AutoCAD, Pro/Engineer
  • Architectural Data
  • Sketch Up, AutoCAD,
  • Animation
  • Gif, Flash, BVH, etc.
  • Title, Subject, Activity/Content Description, etc.
  • Self-recorded, Proprietary Clips, Online, Movie Clips, Songs Clips
  • Video Youtube
  • Avi, Mov, MPEG
  • Voice Over
  • MP3,wmv,
  • Title, Subject, Content Description, Author, etc.
  • Audio Clips
  • MP3,wmv,
  • Text
  • Txt, doc, pdf, rtf, ps, html
  • Title, Description, Subject, Resource Type,Owner,etc.
  • Articles, Novel, Poems, Essays, Wiki, Encyclopedia
  • Question & Answer
  • XML,AIML
  • Foreign Language Material
  • ????
  • ????
  • Case: New User
  • City Blue Print
  • View References
  • Ziggurat Item References
  • Users view Reference material.
  • Picture 1
  • Picture 2
  • Picture 3
  • Reference Link 1
  • Reference Link 2
  • Reference Link 3
  • Job Assignment
  • Assigned To
  • Contribute As
  • Assigned Date
  • Chetan Luo
  • Team Member
  • 11-Oct-07
  • Ashleen Kamachi
  • Team Member
  • 12-Oct-07
  • Neel Corvale
  • Team Member
  • 15-Oct-07
  • Planed End Date
  • 20-Oct-07
  • 25-Oct-07
  • 20-Oct-07
  • How do you wish to Contribute?
  • Estimate End Date:

Annotation

  • Annotation
  • Federation of American Scientists
  • www.FAS.org

Technical Challenges

  • High Latency
  • Third Party Plug-ins (Server & Client Side)
  • Single Sign On
  • Modular Architecture
  • Open Standards
    • Third-Party 3D File Formats
    • Inter-Database Connectivity
    • Survivability of Content
    • Multiple Avatars
  • Inter-Virtual World Communication & Content Synchronization
  • Jargon

Policy Challenges

  • How much is Open Source, under what license?
  • How to link in proprietary systems
  • Financial models to ensure sustainability
  • Operating highly secure sites
  • Managing Change in educational institutions (experimenting with dramatically new approaches to curriculum design, assessment, role of humans in the loop, where & when learning takes place)

Key Points

  • Lowers barrier for content creation
    • joins scholars and experts
    • provides project management tools
  • Enables review and editing (like a wiki) with attribution and citation (not like a wiki)

Current Project

  • History of Racism in the Western World
  • Discover Babylon (3200 BCE)
  • City of Gilgamesh (2200 BCE)
  • Algebra I
  • AI project

Current VW Work

  • Virtual Worlds wiki: Vworld.fas.org
  • To tour our island and the Medulla framework, contact:
  • mroper@fas.org

Next Steps

  • Recruit additional federal, academic, philanthropic and corporate groups
  • Develop a set of performance criteria (system requirements) for a broadly interoperable platform
  • Charge a team of experts to begin to develop middleware tools that will allow the community to begin working together
  • Begin to build new instructional systems or convert existing instructional systems so that they operate on the selected platform or platforms.

Open Questions

  • Is this technology on your radar?
  • What disciplines are most suited?
  • Who else should be included?
  • Successful models or suggestions for bringing the faculty to the promised land?
  • What evidence do we need to convince you/your cohort that this technology is important?
  • What kinds of benefits should VWs offer?
  • Concerns?
  • For further information, comments, questions, (or complaints!) please contact me:
  • Michelle Roper
  • mroper@fas.org
  • 202.454.4683


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