Hello World! My name is Ray Ferrer. I’m a Digital Learning Curriculum Developer at the New York Hall of Science currently incorporating virtual worlds into the learning experiences here at the Hall. As the Hall’s first endeavor using 3D virtual environments to facilitate learning, I’m excited to report that our first run was promising as an indicator of the type of learning experiences that can be had.
Using an Active Worlds space graciously donated by Cornell University, participants of the VHOS project went through a four-day camp learning how to navigate and build in the environment, research a STEM topic of their choice, learn exhibit design from and expert, and finally design their own exhibits in-world. But that’s not where it ends– in fact that’s not even how it began. Prior to the camp, a team of Explainers (the Hall’s equivalent of a docent) went through a series of AW trainings in order to help camp participants realize their designs. At the conclusion of the camp participants completed a draft of their exhibit designs. The images included below are samples.
During the week of April 14th-17th, new participants will begin the process of populating the VHOS space with their own exhibit designs while returning participants work on reiterations of their designs as well as help teach new participants the fundamentals (and obstacles) of designing in the AW environment.
The aprenticeship model that we are using has been succesful for the Hall in past programs and I trust that it will be as effcective in virtual environments. I’m eager to see the designs that come out of this project and will keep the readers of this blog posted.