These are my notes from Li Yi and Xiuping Ren’s presentation “Web3D virtual reality-based informal learning” at the 21st Century Learning @ the West Lake Expo held Oct 31 – Nov 3, 2009 at Xi Hu, China, also known as West Lake. West Lake is in the center of Hangzhou, China, which is about an hour by bus southwest of Shanghai. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. This presentation was scheduled for yesterday and I mistakenly used its title for another session, which I have now corrected. That session was “Creating an alternative gaming classification system.” I APOLOGIZE FOR THAT ERROR!

Web3D History
– 1994 VRML
– 1998 VRML Consortium renamed Web3D Consortium
– 2004 new VRML standard: Extensible 3d (X3D)

Digital Museum and its key technologies
– utilizes multimedia and network technologies to realize all kinds of features/functionalities utilized by real museums

Example application of Panoramic Surround Technology

There are several different versions of the Chinese Forbidden City as a virtual museum

This one is from the mainland: www.chinavir.net/beijing/guong (I COPIED THIS WEB ADDRESS WRONG AND AM THEREFORE NOT LINKING IT– IF YOU KONW THE CORRECT URL PLEASE LET ME KNOW WITH A COMMENT)

This one is a Taiwan version: www.npm.gov.tw (INTERESTINGLY THIS ONE IS BLOCKED HERE IN CHINA AND CAN ONLY BE ACCESSED VIA A PROXY)

Another one: www.airiti.com/npmoln

Best one: www.dpm.org.cn (WOW, THIS ONE DOES LOOK FANTASTIC)

Are 10 virtual museums of China now available in English

World Digital Library: released by UNESCO in Summer 2009 – www.wdl.org
– simple technologically, but is collecting a lot of information about different museums

The British Museum online: www.britishmuseum.org
– best example of virtual museum fulfilling educational purposes
– includes webquests: has one about Chinese New Year
– Ancient China: www.ancientchina.co.uk
– Early Imperial China: www.earlyimperialchina.co.uk

VR examples from www.chinavr.net

DVR = distributed virtual reality
– supports users from different locations to access virtual environments synchronously and interact with each other

I COULDN’T FIND A WIKIPEDIA ENTRY FOR DVR, BUT DID FIND “Cave Automatic Virtual Environment” WHICH I HAD NOT ENCOUNTERED PREVIOUSLY

Application of VR using HD 3D stereoscopic glasses

Now showing a bluetooth and laser-based virtual keyboard (cost: RMB 180)

Informal Learning (IL)
– since school was born, learning was divided into formal learning, which happens in specific educational institutes, and informal learning

most of human beings’ skills and knowledge come from informal learning

Categories of informal learning, according to the people involved:
– personal introspection
– two persons’ collaboration
– practice team
– online group

Visiting a digital museum is an important way of informal learning because it could provide a learning environment with rich historical and cultural heritage
– using a digital museum to do historical education related studies would be more visible, immersive, and interesting

Key factors impacting effectiveness of informal learning
– visitor’s prior experiences, interests and motivation
– society and interaction mode among entities
– physical features of museum
– frequencies of accessing

We would like to create a platform for the sharing and creation of more virtual museums

MY COMMENT: ONE OF THE HUGE DIFFERENCES WHICH CAME OUT DURING THE Q&A DISCUSSION ABOUT THIS PRESENTATION, AND DISCUSSIONS WITH OTHER AUDIENCE MEMBERS, IS THAT THE VIRTUAL WORLD DEMONSTRATIONS THAT WERE SHOWN IN THIS SESSION ARE NOT INTERACTIVE, LIKE SECOND LIFE. THESE ARE BEING PROGRAMMED IN VRML, SO YOU CAN HIT THE PAGE LINK IN A BROWSER AND DO NOT NEED TO DOWNLOAD AND USE A SEPARATE CLIENT BROWSER, LIKE YOU DO WITH SL. WE DISCUSSED ISSUES ABOUT CONTENT FILTERING OF SL IN US SCHOOLS. THOSE ARE NOT ISSUES HERE IN CHINA, BECAUSE THESE VR ENVIRONMENTS ARE NOT INTERACTIVE.

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