Introduction to Virtual Worlds: Palmetto Island Project

By June 14, 2011 Education

Are you interested in the “Virtual World”? Are you interested in creating a virtual avatar and navigating the “Virtual World”? Well, there is a program hosted by Clemson University to create an interactive, online informal learning environment for middle and high school students. This is the class for you! “Introduction to Virtual Worlds” is part of the Palmetto Island Project and starts on June 20, 2011 on Clemson University’s Campus.

This program has two parts. On June 20th we will have a 2.5 hour introduction to the Curiosity Grid virtual world that houses Palmetto Island. We will meet in McAdams 110B on the Clemson University Campus. This class will be a “hands-on” lab and each student will be sitting at a computer. During this time we will explain the Palmetto Island project and ask the students to complete information sheets and a pre-survey, and to turn in the code of conduct and informed consent forms signed by their parent or guardian. Then we will provide accounts for each student on Palmetto Island, and create an Avatar to represent them in the Virtual World. The rest of the class will be spent customizing their avatars and learning how to control avatar movement and interaction with the virtual world environment.

Part two of the program is done entirely on the internet. We will assign a “mentor” to each student and ask them to commit to a particular time each week for five weeks during which they meet with their mentor in the virtual world. These meetings are done entirely online so the student will need access to a computer and internet connection. The student will have 10 programming and modeling challenges that we will ask them to complete over the five week period to move from “novice” status to “apprentice” status in the Palmetto Island community. During meetings times with their mentor students can demonstrate their mastery of one or more challenges and they can get help on challenges that they have not mastered.

If you are a middle school or high school student and would like to attend, Dr. Larry Hodges would love to hear from you. Here is his contact information:

Dr. Larry Hodges
phone: 864.656.7552
email: [email protected]

You can also download the information about the “Introduction to Virtual Worlds Program” and the “Palmetto Island Project.”

To download the Introduction to Virtual Worlds Program PDF, CLICK HERE.
To download the Palmetto Island Project information PDF, CLICK HERE.
To download the Parental Permission Form PDF, CLICK HERE.
To download the Code of Conduct information PDF, CLICK HERE.

What is the Palmetto Island Project?
Palmetto Island (PI) is a project developed at Clemson University to create an interactive, online informal learning environment for middle and high school students. PI is designed to help students learn computing skills such as programming, three-dimensional modeling, avatar design and animation—all in the context of a virtual world that also provides opportunities for mentoring by Clemson computer science majors and professors, and by professionals working in the Information Technology (IT) industry. PI activities are conducted in-world, which means that students connect to PI from their home computer and interact with others on the island via user-controlled virtual characters known as Avatars. The goal of PI is to introduce high school and middle school students in South Carolina to computing skills, opportunities, and IT career options in order to increase the pipeline of future computer science majors.

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