Open Wonderland 2nd Anniversary

March 31, 2012

By Nicole Yankelovich

This month marks the 2nd anniversary of Open Wonderland. In the release meeting last week, the group brainstormed about some of the past year’s highlights.

Wonderland Wednesday Projects

Wonderland Wednesdays continue to be a great way for developers to both learn more about Wonderland development and contribute to the community. They are also an excellent testing ground for new features and bug fixes. In the past year, we have completed one Wonderland Wednesday project, EZMove, and are close to finishing the more recent Telepointer project.

Telepointers: All evidence points to Jagwire
Telepointers: All evidence points to Jagwire

New Monthly Release Cycle

Starting in January 2012, we put into a place a monthly release mechanism. The main goal was to ensure that when people download the Wonderland binary, they are running a recent stable version. With the previous system, someone could download a binary that was almost a half a year out of date, which was causing support issues.

The new system has had a number of unexpected positive consequences. We are now holding monthly release meetings to review which new features and bug fixes should be included in the release. In addition to being another venue for developers to meet and discuss issues, these meetings have provided us with a framework for reviewing bugs and feature enhancement requests (RFEs). During the meetings, we can also enlist volunteers to tackle problems or work on RFEs.  Developers are pushing to get code finished in order to have their code included in the next release. We never expected changing the release cycle would have an impact on progress, but it’s turning out that bugs are now getting fixed at a faster pace with more people participating in the process.

Immersive Education Participation

It has been particularly gratifying to see the number of Wonderland projects being presented at the Immersive Education (iED) conferences.  Community participation in my remote keynote “show-and-tell” session at the most recent European Immersive Education was amazing. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch the video, or read the blog post about the event.

Community members participating in the Euopean iED conference

Community members participating in the European iED conference

Although I’ll be attending in person, I have signed up to do another similar session at the upcoming Immersive Education Summit in Boston June 14-16. Please contact me if you cannot attend the summit in person, but would like to show off your Wonderland world or Wonderland feature in the Boston show-and-tell session.

Start-up Activity

This year there has also been some activity on the business front. The WonderHealth team from Vmersion is looking for funding from the Knight Foundation to create a social networking environment for people with common  health concerns. The new environment will allow participants to hear from doctors, share experiences with one another, and discuss educational media together.

Also in the healthcare space, WonderBuilders has entered their new VMed Learning Spaces product offering into the MassChallenge start-up competition. VMed Learning Spaces are a collection of simulated clinical settings such as a doctor’s office, an intensive care unit, an emergency room, a maternity ward, etc. that medical, nursing, and other allied health students can use to practice critical skills.

VMed Learning Space by WonderBuilders

Example VMed Learning Space by WonderBuilders

Please cast your vote for both these projects on their respective competition web sites to help them gain momentum.

Press Coverage

In the past year, Hypergrid Business and other news outlets have picked up quite a few stories originally posted on WonderBlog. A search for Open Wonderland on Hypergrid Business reveals stories published about Wonderland’s use in Africa, in the +Spaces debating project, in the Singapore Games Village project, in an English as a Second Language project, and in the Virtual Cockpit. You will also find reports on new Wonderland features such as drag-and-drop of Microsoft Office documents, exporting of objects, and streaming a Wonderland world to a tablet.

Hypergrid Business Search Results Page

Hypergrid Business Search Results Page

Final Thoughts

We are looking forward to another year of community projects, collaborations, and interesting activity around Open Wonderland. If you have a Wonderland project you would like to highlight on the blog, simply email a few paragraphs and a screenshot or video to me or to and someone will work with you to edit the article and publish it as a guest post.

Last year on the Open Wonderland anniversary we ran a series of educational workshops to commemorate the event. We’re in discussion about how to commemorate it this year, so please keep your eye out for a discussion the forum on this topic.

Items of Interest

April 2, 2011

I’ve received a number of items of interest in my inbox this week that I thought I’d share, including April Fools humor, a pointer to free modeling software, an interview opportunity, and some upcoming virtual world conferences.

April 1 Humor

First, on the fun side: April Fools Dilbert Cartoon

Free Modeling Software for Educators

MayaFor any students and faculty reading this, be sure to check out the:

Autodesk Education Community

If you have a .edu email address,  I was told that you can register as a member of the Education Community and download for free 30 different Autodesk applications including three modeling programs that work with Wonderland: Maya, 3ds Max, and Softimage.  The person who told me about this program said that if you are a student or educator in a country that does not use .edu email addresses, you can write to Autodesk and ask to have your school added to the participating schools list.

Interview Opportunity for Educators

I received this notice from Edita Kaye, Founder of the Association of Virtual Worlds:

There is increasing interest both in the media and among publishers about all things virtual. I am delighted as the Founder of the Association of Virtual Worlds to be involved in an exciting project–a series of articles for national publication on the topic of ‘The Virtual Teacher’ dealing with the skills and challenges facing educators and educational institutions in an increasingly virtual world. It is planned that this series will subsequently become part of a book.

I would like to interview two types of educators. One, educators who have personal teaching experience with the application of virtual worlds, games, 3D immersive environments and social networks in their school or classroom. Second, educators who can discuss the role of virtual worlds, online games, 3D immersive environments, and social networks on the future of education, schools, and educators.

If you would like to be interviewed for this project or know of anyone who could contribute their thoughts, experiences or case studies please send a brief note to me directly

Upcoming Virtual World Conferences

If you are looking for a place to publish your virtual world project, check out the call for abstracts just announced for the Researching Learning in Immersive Virtual Environments 2011 (ReLIVE11) conference to take place in the UK in September:

ReLIVE11 Call For Abstracts

In addition to submitting abstracts for in-person presentations and workshops, you can also submit abstracts for virtual world events to take place at the “Virtual Festival” the day before the conference. These events can either take place in their venue in Second Life or in any other virtual world. It would be great to host a few sessions in Wonderland.

The ReLIVE web site mentions another in-world conference taking place a bit earlier in September:

The Virtual World Conference

The organizers haven’t updated this web site yet, but it’s something to keep an eye on as it’s geared toward both business and education collaboration.

Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education

February 2, 2011

I just noticed that the deadline for submitting abstracts to the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference has been extended to February 15th. The submission only requires a 50 – 100 word abstract. The conference takes place in Second Life March 17th – 19th, so people from around the world can participate.

VWBPE LogoVirtual World Best Practices in Education
2011 Call for Proposals

It would be great to see some Open Wonderland presentations on the program. It’s not too competitive to get accepted, so please consider submitting a talk abstract.


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