Archive for October, 2010

Virtual Environments And Unity3D Game Technology

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Massively MuliPlayer  Online Role Playing Games, MMORPGs have been around for an eternity. In education, there are some that have actually used this type of technology as the basis for complete college courses, here and here are just two examples.

In addition Modesto City Schools has been using a virtual environment in their Japanese student exchange program titled the PacificRimX project. Modesto City Schools uses SecondLife and private, students only, virtual islands (environments) to transition and prepare students for face to face meetings.

New technologies are now available to provide this same virtual environments directly through a web browser. A plug-in web browser component is required to be installed at this time as the technology being used is part of the game development platform, Unity3D. By the way, you, or your students, can download the Unity3D development software and beginning designing your own game, if you’re so inclined. Unity3d runs on most computers and many mobile phone platforms.

On such company deeply rooted in the education market that is beginning to develop and deploy virtual environments to schools is ReactionGrid. ReactionGrid provides both OpenSim environments (OpenSource version of SecondLife) and now they have begun to offer virtual environments based on Unity3D and their tool Jibe.

You can get an idea of what accessing a virtual environment through your web browser is like by going to their web site, downloading the Unity3D plug-in and entering their two example environments, .

Create Your Own Fonts, Easily!

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

(I cheated. That’s just a screen capture of a paragraph in Word, but it is using the very cool Jpatten Bubble font and the Jpatten Scribble font.)


Thursday, October 7th, 2010

A free science library and personal learning tool brought to you by Nature Publishing Group, the world’s leading publisher of science. Scitable currently concentrates on genetics, the study of evolution, variation, and the rich complexity of living organisms.

Create Wolframalpha Widgets

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

WolframAlpha widgets are little applications you can create and embed into your web site, blog, or Moodle site. There are a number of previously created tools available on their web site, or you can create your own if you don’t see what you are looking for.


Thursday, October 7th, 2010

This site, created by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University provides a tool for evaluating the availability of web sites around the world…as it relates to censorship. You can also participate in helping document the availability of web sites by adding a browser plug-in to your web browser. This could be a useful site when discussing the issues related to freedom and censorship with your students.

Tech & Learning’s Top 10 Sites for Creating Surveys

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

In the September issue of Technology & Learning they have a short list of tools you can use to create surveys with your students. This list is broken out with short descriptions on how best to use them and the differences between the services they offer. Also, remember that you have the ability to create surveys¬† in GoogleDocs too…

Free Microsoft Tool for Creating Online SCORM Lessons

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Many online educational content management systems, such as Moodle, that we use here in Sylvan, include the ability for teachers to upload complete lessons that they create in the SCORM format. These lessons can contain multimedia resources and mini assessments that are integrated directly in the lesson. This free Microsoft tool allows you to create SCORM formated lessons which then can be uploaded to Moodle where your students can access them and their progress is recorded by the content management system.

List of Free Avatar Creating Tools

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Many of the online tools that you use with your students probably provide an opportunity for them to use an avatar (small picture) to represent themselves when online. This wiki lists quite a few avatar creating tools that could be useful for your students in designing and creating their own avatar.

Immune Attack II

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Immune Attack II is just one game created by the organization Federation of American Scientists that helps students understand the science behind infectious diseases.  Included at this site are games such as The Curse of Brownbeard a middle school game about pirates who need someone to figure out what they are getting sick; CSI: The Experience based on the television show with an emphasis on the scientific process. Additional games include topics on cells, forensic science, and nanotechnology.