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Alternative realities

There are some great projects looking at immersive learning that are finding good ways of appealing to young people. Game scenarios are an effective motivator.

Dick van Dijk from the Waag Society presented Operation Sigismund, which is an adventure game used to create a learning environment. It is based on existing archive material in the basement of the monumental building of the archive. It seems like a good example of playful learning vs. traditional elements.

Hasselt University and Provincial Gallo-Roman Museum (both in Belgium) developed a trading game on PDA where up to four players with different goals can only achieve these goals by collaborating. It allows exchange of data and direct communications (using Voice over IP), which were very popular as families could keep in touch with each other.

Second Life is causing a lot of buzz in Museums and the Web this year. For those of you not familiar with the concept,  Second Life (SL) is a 3D online world which allows users to build virtual communities. Some museums within SL have been created and maintained by residents that are not affiliated with 'physical' museums, though some organisations are now trying to capitalise on the popularity of the virtual world - the Exploratorium in San Francisco has set up the 'Splo, which has some optical illusions and interactions.

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