Virtual worlds like Second Life offer certain possibilities for teaching and learning, however issues like hardware requirements currently act as barriers to a wide uptake. Hopefully these issues, won't be a barrier for much longer and the possibilities will both become greater and more widely explored.
This beautiful video by Bruce Branit imagines one way in which virtual worlds could look and change our lives in the future.
World Builder from Bruce Branit on Vimeo.
Daden aimed to ask questions such as "How important will Virtual Worlds become?" in their "far reaching and provocative" 2007 Virtual Worlds roadmap (PDF). This monograph looks forward 100 years, and during the next 10 years they are expecting a massive increase in users and a move away from the model of isolated virtual worlds, running in seperate clients. In that timescale they also expect that virtual worlds may come to contain things like animation close to what we see in high end video games, better links with the real world (augmented reality), and automatic language translation.
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