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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Walking through the Body

For years the National Science Foundation has been supporting innovative educational research and activities.

One such activity has been the creation of 3D Internet-based resources to educate students about archaeology, biology, computer science and geology. One such project was undertaken at North Dakota State University and it was called Virtual Cell (VCell) game. The viewer travels around through the body and cells learning. See Virtual Tools Add a New Dimension to Learning.

The interesting thing is that the research group published empirical studies that "showed the use of VCell and the VCell animations improved problem solving ability and content retention."

So while we may feel or believe that 3D learning environments are better for learning, research is supporting the fact that these environments are better for learning.

The same kind of thing can be done in something like Second Life or a more learning focused metaverse like ProtoSphere.

Last night, in Second Life, I did find a see-through cell but was disappointed when I couldn't "tour" the cell. We need to "shrink" our learners to cells or protons and let them explore.


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