A Virtual Reality World for Authentic Assessment,
Inclusion and Distance Learning.
Project Number 23 – 1994
St. John’s University
SB 15 Marillac
Jamaica, NY 11439
Fax: (718) firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Individuals And Organizations Associated With The Project
Diversity University — A Virtual Reality World designed as a college campus. It mission is to provide an environment for Education that is aimed at maximizing the potential of all. DU Prep is an extension of DU to the K-12 group.Jeanne McWhorter is the originator of Diversity University.
Anne Pemberton is a HS teacher in Virginia who is using DU Prep to stage a Shakespearian play.
Sheila Rosenberg is a Middle School teacher in Long Island, NY who is working with Graduate Students in School Psychology. Her students provide a virtual externship for the Graduate Students.
The purpose of this proposal is to demonstrate the educational effectiveness of a text based virtual reality world, Diversity University and its K-12 extension DU Prep. The purpose of Diversity University is to provide the tools and environment for an entirely different educational experience. Illustrations of this unique learning medium provides the clearest evidence of its effectiveness.
A simulation of the Battle of Agincourt allows students to take the part of a soldier and experience the flow of the Battle from crossing the Channel from Southampton to final victory. Historical facts are embedded throughout and new facts can always be added. Students go through the simulation and learn the facts of the battle almost accidently.
High school learning disabled students are performing the Shakespearean “The Tempest” in a virtual theater. The students are responsible for creating the staging, costuming, and stage directions, in addition to performing. The production will be recorded by virtual cameras, producing virtual tapes which can be played on virtual tv sets anytime in the future.
Middle school children in a Learning Lab situation are actually attending DU Prep and creating their own learning environments. The growth these children are making is constantly recorded and forms the basis of an authentic assessment of a portfolio of their work.
These same students are working with graduate students in Psychology in two distinct areas. The first revolves around the relationship that develops as the graduate and middle school student meet in a Virtual Externship-like framework. The second project is examining the use of the virtual reality productions as a flexible evaluation tool.
The presentation would combine a live presentation and an actual Internet tour of DU and DU Prep. The tour would include live interviews with both students and teachers who are involved in the project ready to answer any questions the audience may have.
- The project would not be possible without the technologies of NSFNET, the global Internet, and NREN.
- DU and DU Prep provide access to library and other information resources and services via gopher slates which are programs that allow access to the whole gopher system. Participants can carry virtual gophers and access them where ever they are and store specific information in virtual notebooks.
- At the present time the project is a collaboration between the physical realities of St. John’s University in urban New York City, South Woods Middle School in suburban Long Island, and Nottoway High School in rural Virginia and the virtual realties of Diversity University and Diversity University Prep.
- Virtual Reality provides a unique ways to enhance learning with no expenses beyond the cost of Internet access. Any school that has access to telnet can participate. Perhaps the most important aspect of this project is the enthusiasm and and motivation it elicits from the students.
- Diversity University has unlimited replicability since a new school can participate by merely telnetting to DU. At the same time, it has extensive flexibility, the projects that can be defined in virtual reality are limited only by the creativity and imagination of the teachers.
The presentation requires an LCD panel which will allow the audience to follow the demonstration and tour of Diversity Univeristy. Access to DU is by telnet or tiny fugue client and requires access to the Internet from the presentation room.