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Introduction

Active Worlds software permits users to enter, move about and interact with others in a computer generated, three-dimensional virtual environment using the Internet. Unlike a two-dimensional environment, which permits movement on a computer screen only along flat horizontal and vertical axis (up, down, left and right), a three-dimensional virtual environment enables users to move in three dimensions by allowing them the added capability of moving forward and backward. In the virtual worlds created in the three-dimensional environment, users are also able to create objects and structures which other users can see and move in real time. People connected are represented by Avatars. Since the inception of the Active Worlds technology, it has been a hit with teachers around the world. From architecture departments to science labs to ThinkQuest projects, Active Worlds has been adding new dimensions to learning for over four years. Active Worlds Educational Universe (AWEDU) is an entire Active Worlds Universe dedicated to exploring the educational applications of the Active Worlds Technology.
AWEDU is a software that allows developing traditional schoolwork into an absolutely new and amusing way of working.

The software is available for free.

Here you can see the entrance to Active Worlds Educational Universe     Here you can see some samples of Avatars

Benefits for Teachers and Students

AWEDU allows teachers and students to interact - synchronously and asynchronously -  in a protected three-dimensional learning environment and communicate with other schools and students all over the world. AWEDU is a complete instrument of communication as besides being a three-dimensional virtual environment, it can be integrated with other tools such as Forum, web pages, sounds and films. Students can build an environment where they can interact collaboratively by discussing items, exchanging experiences, making up games. Students from different schools can also build symbols of a particular historical age together as well as the background of a book, a story, a movie.

The AWEDU software makes easier multidisciplinary activities, mixing practical activities with more theoretical and analytical thoughts.

Running projects with the AWEDU software in international dimensions improves the learning of foreign language, in meaningful interactions with foreign students.

Pedagogical Background

The use of Active Worlds Educational Universe helps students and teachers work in a different way as it forces them  to change their everyday roles. Besides, the use of this three-dimensional environment  facilitate cross-curricular projects as it integrates both concrete and abstract activities. The fact that the role of students is played by an avatar it can help especially the shy students or students with learning problems. Finally, students,  before starting a new project with Active World, they need to draw mind maps of it,  and this process  helps them clarify their job and what they are going to do next. The use of such an environment helps cultural sharing and mutual understanding.

Tools

Chatting: chatting with other people while working on the Active World environment is an important part of the Active World experience.
Communicating: you can either talk to other people by typing your message or mute other people when they are talking and you do not want to hear them anymore.
Telegrams: you can send short messages, called telegrams, to other people no matter where they are currently located.
Synchronous meetings: during those connections students build the virtual objects related to the task, discuss with their partners on-line and leave comments and question for the one not connected.
Choosing An Avatar: choose AVATAR from the menu, and select an avatar from the list.
Moving Around: you can use either your mouse, or your key pad to move around each virtual world.

Technical Requirements

Server Type

Simultaneous Users

Amount of Land

Size in Coordinates

Hosting

3DH-5

5

10,000 sq. meters

5 N,S,E,W

YES

3DH-7

8

19,600 sq. meters

7 N,S,E,W

YES

3DH-10

12

40,000 sq. meters

10 N,S,E,W

YES

 

Target age

Secondary School

Acknowledgements

The above informative material is adapted from the Active Worldsí website.

 

Click on the names below if you want to submit a presentationl:
patrizia corasaniti
maria rosaria chiummo:



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