ParraSim takes shape

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There are a number of ‘systems’ that I am embedding into Classroom2.0. All the time, I want to ensure that we are offering our students and staff access to creative and useful technologies. High on the list for me is what we generically call ‘Virtual Worlds’, specifically Second Life powered worlds. We have been involved with Skoolaborate for a while now and many students are actively engaged in the development of their visual skills and modeling skills in that regard.

Working with Judy O’Connell, we established a thriving Ning Group a month or so ago, which I am really pleased to say has been joined by many in the SLEd community. SecondClassroom we hope, will be a community that will develop practical learning projects and mentor teachers who see the value of virtual worlds – not just SL – but anything which can be used to stimulate and motivate students into problem solving, thinking and using immersion technologies to learn.

Enter a conversation with Jokaydian Gnu Curry. A week or so later, our OpenSim is operational, all be it in a testing phase. Right now we’re reading as much as we can … and using the SL Client to view OpenSim.

Running on our network, we hope that we will be able to delivery a ‘grid’ to our school, and mate OpenSim with our user database to generate 900 Avatars for students. We are estimating that only 10% would be active at one time, and so the server build and network infrastructure is aimed at allowing up to 200 avatars active at one time. But this is very early days. It is great to be in frontier town! – there is so much activity around OpenSim with some very passionate Open Source developers.

There are some significant advantages over SL at this point to us, given that we are looking at High School use. Not needing a ‘currency’, control over accounts and server architecture, control over network delivery and management of the desktop client being a few.

We are aiming to be stable enough to offer this sim to the SecondClassroom community in mid-July. We have a stack of ideas to explore on how to grow and manage it … but today it was great to generate our first avatar. We then proceeded to create some test-avatars for friends to begin testing with … and so have create one avatar for each of the members of the Ramones. Can’t wait to see Dee Dee rez his first prim.

Thanks to everyone who has helped out so far, and the support and conversations I’ve had with the Jokaydian community. No least Jo Kay, to whom so many owe so much in such a short space of time.

I really hope that this sim will significantly boost the student and schools involvement in developing High School Curriculum activities with virtual worlds. The next few months are going to involve some very very late nights as the SecondClassroom community get to grips with the idea of having a TeenOpenSim.

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