Virtual Worlds: Places Where You Can Find Your True Talents

Virtual Worlds: Places Where You Can Find Your True Talents

Michelangelo Tricarico (ITET G. Salvemini, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2426-7.ch027
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Abstract

This chapter discusses the author's experience in virtual environments, with particular reference to virtual reconstruction. The events are narrated from the perspective of a student who at first developed his skills in this specific field at school, and then became competent and passionate enough to teach what he had learned in the course of time. He describes his experience from early school projects to the personal ones; from his award as a “Master Builder” to his early teaching lessons. Other learning activities that can be carried out in a virtual world are also illustrated, with particular reference to “coding”, which appears to be of great interest to the author. The main objective of this paper is to highlight the potential of a 3D virtual environment for the reconstruction of monuments, i.e., the author's area of expertise. It also provides a description of other activities that can be performed in a virtual environment, while illustrating the most common issues that can be experienced and suggesting how to solve them.
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Introduction

My name is Michelangelo Tricarico, and I am currently attending the ITET G. Salvemini school (a technical education high school in Molfetta - Bari - Italy), Construction, Environment and Land surveying specialism.

This is my last year of school and I am very grateful for the opportunity I have been offered to live a meaningful and unique experience with something that has become my passion and that I have turned into professional and state-of-the-art creations: reconstruction in virtual worlds.

My 3D adventure began around January 2011, when the first year students were given the opportunity to take part in a virtual reconstruction project inside the virtual world of the Italian Ministry of Education and Research (MIUR). The project was led by Mrs Maria Messere, one of the first teachers to experience virtual environment activities along with her students. The project focused on the reconstruction of the monuments of Molfetta, the town where my school is located. What especially intrigued and interested me about this project was the opportunity to interact with avatars: I thought it was so innovative and I was really enthusiastic about living such an experience. Working in a 3D environment was something I had been dreaming of ever since I was a child.

Key Terms in this Chapter

OpenSim: it is an open-source server 3D multi-platform for hosting virtual worlds that can be accessed by a variety of clients.

Scratch: Is a free educational programming language that was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Boston. Scratch is designed to be easy to learn. It has the tools for creating interactive stories, games, and allows for the sharing and remix of projects online.

Gimp: A free on-line photo-editing program.

Rezzing: The action of creating prims.

Prim: elementary objects like cubes, spheres or cylinders. Once created, they look like wood.

Terraforming: The action of shaping a land /sim.

Sim/land: It is a 256x256 (length) space belonging to a virtual world resident (owner) where ideas and individual or group projects can be developed.

Virtual World: 3D digital environment where it is possible to build creations, see other people's work, script and interact with other people taking the form of an avatar.

Avatar: A 3D character by which it is possible to explore digital environments and virtually interact with other people inside the same online environment.

Blender: 3D drafting program for the modelling of objects, creating video-games and animations.

Lag: Sim malfunctioning caused by an excessive number of objects/scripts or avatars. It mostly affects the avatar's movements, the script functionalities or the creation of objects. A restart of the Sim might be necessary to solve it.

Script: It is a simple program allowing interaction with objects or enabling objects to move.

Texture: The surface used to cover the object faces/sides.

Gestures: The movements an avatar can do triggered by the interaction with other objects or by hitting a button.

Coderdojo: Programming free clubs to teach young people.

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