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MoonWorld Featured in Panel Discussion

Fri Apr 23 2010

Dr. Debbie Denise Reese, senior educational researcher at the Center for Educational Technologies, spoke about MoonWorld to participants at the Technology Training for Science Teachers for San Antonio College online session April 17.

Reese served on a virtual panel that discussed current science education possibilities within the Second Life platform, and what panelists see as the future of education as virtual environments flourish.

MoonWorld is an immersive virtual learning experience developed by the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future. MoonWorld recreates the surface of the Moon in Second Life for exploring lunar science concepts through virtual fieldwork. MoonWorld is realistically based on actual lunar landscapes and NASA concepts for spacesuits, bases, rovers, and life support. Each spacesuited avatar team navigates a realistic geologic environment with one-sixth gravity and limited life support. Teams engage in authentic scientific inquiry to seek solutions for planetary geology challenges.

The migration of MoonWorld to OpenSim was of particular interest to the organizer of the session, John Fennessy, chief executive officer of the Educational Support Management Group. He said that the Classroom of the Future's plan to use the OpenSim platform to provide MoonWorld for educators and their students and for families is important.

MoonWorld is scheduled to migrate from Second Life to OpenSim in December. The new version of MoonWorld will include simulations for youth (ages 9 and up with parent/guardian permission) and simulations for formal and informal educators and their youth groups (includes families).

Other panelists were Paul Doherty, senior staff scientist for the Exploratorium website, and Shannon Bohle, librarian for the NASA CoLab Library and Archives, the first virtual world library or archive recognized by the Library of Congress.