Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Second Life Is Being Used... For SCIENCE!

According to the latest issue of Science News, many research institutions are leveraging the simple simulation tools of the 3-D sandbox Second Life to create immersible science learning experiences. From Science News:
“Early on, when SL really got going, it lookedVirtual Frog like it was going to be a huge playground,” says Amme. “I thought... who needs a second life unless you don’t have a first one?”

Although SL retains a large recreational component, with fantasy, racy nightclubs and sex, the science islands have distinguished themselves as places to connect with the “outside” world.

Scientist-avatars guide students through formal university educational programs — such as the University of Denver’s master’s degree in environmental engineering — or create exhibits designed to demonstrate scientific principles.

Navigational tools let users zoom in and around objects, making SL a convenient place to investigate phenomena that would otherwise be hard to visualize or understand. Avatars can, for example, initiate chemical reactions with a touch of their hand, watch a tsunami form or stroll through the internal structures of a cell.
Hat tip to Boing Boing for the screencap of the virtual frog.

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