Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

As 2010 approaches, I’m changing the nature of this blog from a review of virtual world news to a vehicle for my new art galleries that exist in the Second Life virtual world.

It’s been a desire of mine to create my own collection of classic works of art since I opened an account with the Second Life platform. However, my work as a writer in that same environment has kept me too busy to build the galleries. It’s also been the case that my real life has been somewhat turbulent over 2009 and my virtual life activities have diminished. I now concentrate on my involvement with SLentrepreneur magazine, MBC News, and the Metaverse Tribune. If I can slip in the occasional piece for the Alphaville Herald or Prim Perfect, that’s all well and good, but I’m trying not to overextend myself.

So what will you find at the Leominster Galleries?

The Leominster Galleries

Galleries I through III represent my permanent collection. By that, I mean that the works of art found there will rarely change, and any changes are likely to be small – such as replacing one Waterhouse painting with another just for variety.

And the works you will find there are predominantly 19th century paintings from such artists as John William Waterhouse, John Martin, Elihu Vedder, William Adolphe Bouguereau, Thomas Cole, John Collier, and many others. However, they do extend into the early 20th century and go back to the 16th but if you are a hopeless Romantic or Symbolist, the Leominster Galleries are definitely for you.

Sigs in Gallery I

Gallery IV will be reserved for my “traveling collection,” by which I mean there will be different exhibitions on a monthly or bimonthly basis, offering a complete change of scene based on my whim. For example, opening in January will be “The Illustrators Collection,” a number of renderings of engravings and images by such illustrators are Kay Nielsen, Gustave Dore, and Edmund Dulac.

Each Gallery IV exhibition will be supported by this site, with links to related sites and notes and comments from myself and possibly guest commentators.

Copies of any of the paintings can be purchased at the gallery, which won’t make me rich but go toward sustaining the galleries. By all means just stop by, spend some time, and then leave – I won’t be offended. Oh, and I am looking for a cool logo for the galleries so if you are a talented designer and want to help a dude out, just leave a comment or IM me in-world.


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Dental students will soon be adding virtual world simulations to their training procedures. Thanks to researchers in Sweden and the US, a new piece of software called the Virtual Dental Implant Training Simulation is now in beta testing.

The Virtual Dental Implant Training Simulation is now in beta testing, and set for rollout next fall, when it will reach about 15,000 dental students in 25 universities around the globe that partner with Nobel Biocare of Sweden, the project’s funder. Developed by Maryland-based game developer BreakAway in concert with the Medical College of Georgia, VDIT uses entertainment technology to simulate real-world scenarios.

Serious gaming, as it’s called, allows players to enter the virtual worlds of the military, corporate training and health care, and gain experience before they tackle real-time problems in the real world. Dr. Roman Cibirka, Vice President for Instruction and Enrollment Management Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, put the wheels in motion 18 months ago, after he attended a Games for Health conference.

Primary Source: Popsci.com

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In a press release on May 15th, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon called for better protection of children in cyberspace.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

“As they surf through cyberspace seeking information and entertainment and building social networks, they are also among the most vulnerable to exploitation. Without safeguards, their precious lives are at grave risk in the vicious world of cybercriminals and pedophiles that prey on easy targets.”

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child both recognizes the right to access to information but also accords protection against all forms of inducement to engage in unlawful activities, the Secretary-General said, calling for these provisions to be applied rigorously.

“The virtual world has exciting possibilities for nurturing children and helping them grow into creative, productive adults,” said Ban Ki-moon.

“But we must mind the pitfalls that could scar them for life,” Mr. Ban said, calling on policy-makers and industry leaders to take action to ensure the safety of all in the rapidly-evolving virtual world.

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European researchers have built a computerized play platform for elderly people. Field testing shows that the system keeps elderly players mentally sharp, stimulates socialisation, and can alert caregivers to developing problems.

The key “generic” objective of ElderGames project is to develop IST-based games using advanced visualisation and interaction interfaces with high preventive, therapeutic value that will allow elderly people to enjoy new ways of leisure and entertainment while improving cognitive, functional and social skills. The main goals will also facilitate to:

1. Promote the e-inclusion of elderly people by means of play activity,

2. Contribute to an overall improvement of the abilities impacting Quality of Life through play, with particular emphasis on cognitive skills.

3. Support communication between elderly citizens and their families across Europe by means of play proposals which will allow them to share their experiences by means of an alternative-augmentative communication system capable of overcoming linguistic barriers and,

4. Provide experts specializing in elderly care and supervision with an innovative play application to be used in their daily professional work able to monitor variables related to quality of life, specially cognitive skills.

Therefore, ElderGames will also be the first play platform able to allow an early detection of cognitive disease or social unease, and so, implement the advisable response to them. Thus, since ElderGames has been conceived as a tool for early diagnosis, no elderly participants suffering severe cognitive impairment will take part in the project.

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I salute anyone who refuses to take the real world seriously. So I doubly applaud those who do the same for virtual worlds. There’s a wealth of talent among the World Of Warcraft (R) players. Take, for example, this example called “The Beer Song.”

It’s over three years old but deserves an airing periodically.


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Sony Online Entertainment has released an official teaser for its “in beta” game, Free Realmz. The world is billed as “a free 3D virtual world with stunning unique graphics and fun, quirky activities. Free Realms is an attitude. It’s innovative, dynamic and deep.”

The splendid flash video on the site pretty much sums up the concept – and has a voice-over narrated by some top-hole chappie with a simply marvelous accent.

So if you’re wanting to get your pixie on, you can join the beta site and do all those yummy things that pixies, elves, wizards, trolls, fairies, and similar medieval mythologicals can do. But be warned, signing up as a beta tester has its perils. Here’s the spell cast by the Sony Stormtroopers:

“As a Free Realms beta tester, you can’t talk about what you see as a tester. That means you can’t chat about it with your friends, share screenshots or videos, or write about it in your blog or your favorite social networking site. It’s important that we have the chance to fix things that are broken before the whole world sees them. Please help us out and don’t talk about anything you see in the Free Realms beta test until beta testing ends.”

This, presumably, includes journalists, as I found when I clicked on the site’s “Latest News” button and was told that I had to sign up as a beta tester to see it, ergo, I couldn’t then talk about it!

Primary Source: Free Realmz home page

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