The emergence of virtual environments and Open SymGRIDS; specifically the Virtual Worlds (VW) of JokaydiaGRID and Second Life are changing the landscape of educational delivery. The convergence of gamification in VW’s is bringing new challenges and substantial knowledge emergence to the forefront of teaching. The quest for exceptional immersive learning spaces requires teachers to become familiar and comfortable in VW’s. Ultimately, teachers will need mastery in designing and creating authentic virtual learning environments.
Computer requirements, installation and appropriate Avatar creation and naming are only the beginning of the VW journey. A glossary of Virtual World terms and a guide to dealing with the natives are essential. Resources which are at the forefront of VW technology, such as the e-Journal of Virtual Studies provide important forums for continued education. Comparing JokaydiaGRID and Second Life in regards to possibilities in augmented reality for self-directed learning has been a challenge for this blogger. Advantages and pitfalls in classroom integration and how virtual worlds help develop critical observation and interpretation skills are currently being explored. Ways to reduce transactional distance through building connectivity VW will be discussed in further blogs. So far, “tours” through virtual classroom environments and student projects which feature successful immersive experiences were mind opening, impressive and somewhat intimidating.