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
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
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
Running projects with the AWEDU software in international
dimensions improves the learning of foreign language, in meaningful
interactions with foreign students.
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.
Chatting: chatting with other people while working on the
Active World environment is an important part of the Active World
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
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
Moving Around: you can use either your mouse, or your key pad to move
around each virtual world.