12 x 3D Tools for Education, Training & Collaboration

EU 3D: Ctl+Alt+Del, Online Educa Berlin, 4 December 2009

Notes & Links to Tools and Resources

Here is my pick of 12 tools in 2 categories:

  1. Creating virtual characters or avatars
  2. Creating 3d environments and virtual worlds

For those who want to start simply and have fun or for those interested in high-end simulated learning environments. A mix of free, open source and commercial tools.

1 – Doppelme – Create a simple avatar

This is a very easy to use – and free – tool to create a basic avatar.  Simply choose the characteristics you want.

2 – Voki – Create a speaking avatar

This free tool lets you create a speaking avatar.  Once again choose the characteristics you want for your avatar, as well as the voice you want and then add the voice

3 – SitePal – Add a speaking avatar to your website

Voki is owned by SitePal, a service that lets you create a speaking avatar for your website, and provides more advanced functionality.

Read how you can use SitePal for Educators –www.sitepal.com/educator

4 – CodeBaby – Create and integrate 3D characters into courseware

This is a similar tool letting you provide a speaking avatar for your website or courseware.

5 – Vox Proxy – Add 3D talking characters to PowerPoint

This tool lets you download characters to use in PowerPoint presentations – works with XP but not Vista

6 – 3B rooms – Create your own personalised 3D space

You’ll need to download the 3B browser to experience 3D websites, where you can co-browse with others.   as well as turn a 2D website into a 3D version,

7 – Second Life – Join the world’s largest 3D community

No list of 3D tools is complete without SecondLIfe the biggest 3D community in the world.

And Second Life is already been used quite extensively in some educational and training organistion: Second Life: In Education and Enterprise – secondlife.com/whatis/?lang=en-US#Education_&_Enterprise

8 – Open Sim – Create virtual worlds using an open source server platform – compatible with Second Life client

OpenSim is an open source 3D application Serve that can be used to create a virtual environment (or world) which can be accessed through a variety of clients, on multiple protocols. Out of the box, OpenSimulator can be used to simulate a virtual environment similar to Second Life™ (including client compatibility).

But there’s more to OpenSim than just this, as this video explains: Give me a perfect world: Using OpenSim www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGpPNN1Y88w

9 – Forterra OLIVE – Create a private virtual world

Forterra’s On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment (OLIVE™) is a software platform that enables customers to deploy their own persistent and secure 3D Virtual Worlds where users can collaborate over networks using rich media.

This is a demonstration of conducting CPR training for high school students using virtual world software. The demo shows a teacher passing out and then students trying to figure out what to do including eventually giving CPR. The exercise gets students familiar with what they should do before a real event occurs. All the avatars are played by real people. The demonstration uses Forterra System’s On-Line Interactive Environment (OLIVE).

10 – Protosphere – Create a virtual collaboration environment

ProtoSphere takes collaboration to a new dimension by removing the barriers to communication and creating a persistent, socially networked environment where real work gets done.

This video shows Protosphere  in action-protonmedia.com/2009/08/13/new-protosphere-video/

11 – Project Wonderland – Open source toolkit for virtual 3D worlds

Project Wonderland is an open source 100% Java and open source toolkit for creating collaborative 3D virtual worlds.

The vision for this multi-user virtual environment is to provide an environment that is robust enough in terms of security, scalability, reliability, and functionality that organizations can rely on it as a place to conduct real business. Organizations should be able to use Wonderland to create a virtual presence to better communicate with customers, partners, and employees. Individuals should be able to do their real work within a virtual world, eliminating the need for a separate collaboration tool when they wish to work together with others. Individuals should also be able to tailor portions of the world to adapt to their work needs and to express their personal style. The types of collaborations that can happen within the space include audio communication, live desktop applications of all kinds, and eventually collaborative creation of world content (both graphical and procedural).

This is a demo movie – research.sun.com/projects/mc/video/Wonderland-Short-jul2008.mov

12 – ThinkingWorlds – Rapid browser-based virtual worlds tool

Thinking Worlds is a 3D engine and authoring envrironment that lets designers to create and publish highly immersive simulations – fast.

You can see some ThinkingWorlds Learning Demos here-www.caspianlearning.co.uk/learning-demos

One to Watch – Toolwire

Toolwire will be offering a 3D development kit in 2010