From Theory to Practice
Chapter 2: Overview and History 19
19 Chapter 2: Overview and History Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world and in here is the dream (Jake Sully, Avatar, 2010). In the virtual world you have the divine power to create life, your life, and mould it into pretty much anything you please (Winder, 2008, p. ix). Introduction Modern Virtual Worlds do not exist in a vacuum (except those that are set in outer space). The VWs that we may experience today are evolutions of those that came before, going back to more primitive 3D graphics, then 2D images, and finally to text-only environments. While almost none of these environments were initially specifically designed for use in language education, it is important to note that all of those discussed in this chapter have indeed been used for that purpose. After introducing some of the key terms and concepts re- lated to Virtual Worlds, this chapter will give a brief history of the evolution of VWs and then provide an overview of some of the most popular VWs that are available today. Key Terms and Concepts As is often the case when dealing with matters of technology and education, there are a large number of terms—many of them see- mingly random collections of letters in the form of acronyms—that are currently used in this area. In this book the term you will most 20 often see used when referring to the 3D environments discussed here is Virtual World, but because of the...
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