This project aims at professional educators, administrators, and the community at large with the goal of jumpstarting interested participants in the area of joining and eventually creating their own Multi-User Virtual Environment (MUVE). Why people should consider investing the time, energy and resources necessary for such an endeavour:
MUVEs offer the following for classroom, administrative and conferencing needs:
1) Real time text based conferencing, with Real Audio capability
2) Ability to hold secure, loggable conversations
3) Ability to have a secure online meeting place (if necessary)
4) Whiteboard and note writing capabilities
5) Ability to project WWW sites, slides, notes onto remote computers
6) Listservs within the MUVEs (public or private)
7) Cut and paste
8) Ability to merge synchronous (realtime) and asynchronous applications
9) Over 50 Educational MUVEs currently exist with a wide variety of foci
10) MUVEs are free to use, and several cores are also available free
These features offer the tip of the iceberg in regards to what MUVEs are
capable of, elaborated further through listing possible classroom applications:
1) Real time team teaching (breaking down classroom walls)
2) Ability to project WWW sites onto student (and teacher) screens
3) Over 50 educational MUVEs in place, with themes ranging from Virtual University setups, foreign language, ESL, math, art, writing, science and a K-8 MUVE on which I am a manager
4) Ability to learn object oriented programming online (also free...please consider the school to career applications)
5) Can support as little as a 386 without windows or harddrive, or as high end as Integrated WWW Interfaces and VRML
6) Ability to have complete control over student logins and behavior as desired.
7) A safe educational online environment.
8) Becoming part of online communities dedicated to collaboration and education, predating the WWW by five years. MUVEs are some of the earliest Net applications.
In Support of MUVEs:
I have been "muveing" for almost five years... as long as I've been online. I don't feel that I'm wasting my time there, even though some critics argue that this is old technology. Have you ever considered that this old technology allows people to connect and interact with a 386, a 1200 modem and no harddrive? This was my level of connectivity for two years. Most of the world will probably never get past this level. Hence, MUVEs will always play a vital role in online education, since they allow people with very limited tech resources a way to connect.
Furthermore, MUVEs grow with the technology. Once the WWW started... MUVEs adapted. Currently there are at least six types of WWW interfaces available (for those of us with the fancy computers now)... allowing for Java to run... with multiple frames and even VRML (currently in its infancy all around, but happening on MUVEs). You can do quite a bit of high end work on MUVEs, because of their adaptability. It is possible to project WWW sites onto other computer screens using MUVEs. You can also learn Object Oriented Programming for free on a number of them... try doing that in the real world.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, MUVEs represent Educational Communities. There are over 50 educational moos, with themes running the gamut from teacher collaboration (Tapped In) to foreign language (Mundo Hispano, Francais, a number of others), ESL (Schmooze), Science (BioMOO and NetLab), English (Virtual Writing Center), university setup (Diversity University) and a host of others. What MUVEs offer is a safe environment to collaborate... far beyond the levels of simple chat.
So... before rejecting MUVEs because of their complexity and/or primitivity, ask yourself what the other options are, and whether you are willing to spend a few hours learning the complexities of a system that some have spent years building. And, look me up... I'm here to help, and on many MUVEs there are designated helpers.
Step 1: Pre-Connecting
Before connecting to a MUVE, you will need to make sure telnet (and preferably java as well) are enabled on your system, and that a telnet firewall is not in place. Several schools and universities have placed telnet firewalls on their systems, in hopes of dissuading hackers from cracking into an unprotected shell account. I believe other forms of protection are available, and that the loss is much greater than any risk in using these systems. If you are an AOL or Mac user, you may have some difficulty connecting to MUVEs as well. In order to help you connect, I suggest contacting me, Jeff Cooper, in order to help step you through the process of connecting:
Mr.C on Educational MUVEs
I can also talk you through connecting on the phone, or using a chat room of your preference.
During a pre-connection conference, I will also create temporary accounts for your team members at Diversity University MUVE (http://moo.du.org:8000). This will facilitate your first tour of the MUVE and becoming acclimated to the commands and potential.
Step 2: Connecting
After making sure that your software is set up, and having preconferenced with Jeff Cooper, you will set up a time for online mentoring at DU. This synchronicity represents both a blessing and a curse of MUVEs: namely, coordinating two or more parties online at the same time. Once connections are made Jeff Cooper (aka Mr.C) will give an online demonstration of how MUVEs work, their capabilities, rooms, features, and introduce a resident or two. Participants will need to invest a minimum of 10 hours over four or five sessions to become acclimated with the system.
Step 3: Mentoring/Tutoring/Participating
Once connected, participants will learn through mentoring by Mr.C (and others), online tutorials (available on the MUVEs), but most significantly by participating and exploring. There are literally thousands of rooms on MUVEs, each one with different links to knowledge on the Internet and beyond. How each participant decides to pursue his/her involvement with MUVEs will be decided by collaboration and consultation between the participant, Mr.C and others involved with the participant's group. Some may wish to focus on room creation and immediately learn what it takes to build on a MUVE; others may wish to explore the rooms on DU; others may wish to explore other MUVEs; others may wish to organize synchronized team teaching sessions; others may learn object oriented programming; all will learn various communication features.
Step 4: Building
MUVEs should be built upon, and the emphasis should be on maxmizing and facilitating communication. Teachers should create rooms where their students can both build off of and also launch further inquiries. MUVEs have the capability for note creation, whiteboards, interactive fiction, robot creation, gopher search, WWW search, WWW slate creation, WWW projection, individual and group email (moomail).
Step 5: MUVE Creation
Eventually schools and districts will be encouraged to create their own MUVEs on their own server, to facilitate their own individual needs. Creation of a MUVE does not mean disassociating oneself from other MUVEs; indeed, it means becoming part of a growing educational community. It is possible to *speak from one MUVE onto another* and someday it will be commonplace for schools, teachers, students, and parents to collaborate via a large number of MUVEs.
You may wish to include a few introductory sentences to establish the context before launching into the narrative. What subject and grade level is it? What curriculum area(s) and specific topics are being addressed? What is the length of unit? What else would another educator need to know to understand your scenario?
As an Educator, ask yourself the following:
"How much would it be worth to have a program that will allow me to communicate with all my peers, students, and colleagues in a variety of ways, both real time and non-real time?"
If the answer is "a lot" would you be interested in learning that the program is *free*?
Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVEs) are available in a variety GUIs (Graphic User Interfaces) which facilitate navigation and learning commands.
- Realtime secure conferencing and closed-system email (moomail)
- Ability to connect with an Integrated WWW Interface
- Run on as little as a 386 or as high-end as Java and VRML
- Ability to project WWW sites onto remote computers
- Ability to control student communication and movements
- Collaboration with fellow educators (over 50 EdMUVEs exist)
- Team teaching, breakdown of classroom walls, build professional relationships
- Cut & paste, file sharing, online tutorials, object oriented programming
- Ability to create and develop personal character, create files/notes/portfolios
Progress will come in several forms:
- Greater familiarity and comfort with commands
- Beginning use of moomail system
- Setting of personal information, ideas sketched for room creation
- Becoming a Builder
- Beginning use of VSPO Commands (bringing students online)
- Beginning creation of room
- Setting up team teaching collaboration
There is no "end" to this project. Although there will be some closure with through team teaching and eventually the TCC 2000 Conference, it is hoped that the educational virtual environments created by participants will continue to flourish in the years to come.
Author: Jeff Cooper(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Portola Middle School, El Cerrito CA
Created: March 1, 1999 - Updated: April 25, 1999