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Virtual Classrooms
Virtual Worlds
Second Life

Visit Association of Virtual Worlds
Virtual Worlds

Virtual Worlds contain elements of an asynchronous and synchronous elearning environment. There are over 2000 virtual worlds available such as Second Life, VastPark, Active Worlds, Entropia, Gaia Online, World of Warcraft, Kaneva, Star Wars Galaxies, The Sims Online and There (Johnson, 2008). All these virtual worlds require the creation of one’s own avatar to enter the world and interact with others.

Inside the world educators can set up classroom situations and tasks for their students to undertake. Educators and students communicate via chat or audio and are able to see each other’s avatars “live”. They can also hold one to one discussions with people in different locations within the virtual world and send messages for the next time that person goes online to receive asynchronously or via email if enabled.

Educators can hold virtual presentations, videos and use a variety of virtual tools to present to their students. Through the virtual world of Second Life some university institutions are emulating face to face models of teaching where they deliver lectures as they would in “real life”; ie stand out the front and give the lecture and may use a presentation or video. Others are using the tools available in this virtual world to have students conduct business, write up the results and create profit and loss statements. They are using the environment to emulate real life situations.