Ener asked me to write a bit about what we are doing with Enclave Harbour in Reaction Grid. In thinking about this, I wanted to say that Second Life is still the best choice for many people and you can see that by number of active users and concurrency levels.
OpenSim-based worlds are growing quickly and in some metrics, they are growing faster than Second Life is. There are a few reasons for this – one has to do with policy changes such as the Terms of Service and corporate changes such as the drastic reduction in Linden Lab employees.
Another reason for OpenSim growth is greater freedom for some niches. We chose Reaction Grid because of their stellar reputation, value, and educational focus. I taught Secondary School for three years and college for seven and both Ener and I have Masters in Science Education. I had wanted to create a similar educational endeavor in Second Life but was stopped by two things – cost and age limits. I had played with OpenSim previously on my own machine but did not realize there were hosting companies running OpenSim commercially. Because Reaction Grid is PG and allows for any age to access it, it was ideal for what we are now developing with Enclave Harbour – virtual environmental field trips.
Ener is building field trip elements that will allow students, middle school to start with, to explore environmental science concepts.
For example, we have a hydroelectric plant which also showcases drinking water as a virtual field trip spot. Students will use a field trip guidebook to learn more about a topic, answer questions regarding it, and be encouraged to go beyond that topic for self-study. In the hydro plant example, drinking water is discussed and bioplastics are introduced to students. Bioplastics feel, act, and deliver bottled water just like normal plastic bottles do but are made from corn. In this discussion we talk about conventional bottles and how they are made from oil and that not all oil exploration is for gasoline and diesel production. Another topic deals with the ramifications of damming rivers and the downstream consequences of that as well as the upstream issues like silting (the deposition of stream sediment from the sudden reduction of stream flow).
All of the activity spots involve more than a cursory explanation of a topic and pull in other sciences, not just environmental science.
Enclave Harbour strives to show how science is a way to help interpret our world and augment our lives. With greater science literacy comes everything from safer driving to making better choices on bottled drinking water. Once you learn that 55 miles per hour is 80 feet per second, you may tailgate less and after learning that plastic container options exist, you may start to ask for them and, in time, so will others and this will create a shift in packaging.
While a hosted OpenSim solution works well for these goals, they may not work well for you. If you are looking for what sounds like a close “Second Life” experience, then Inworldz may be right for you. Neither of us have tried Inworldz and I base my comments off of what some Inworldz users have told me. And for many, Second Life continues to be the best choice.
Enclave Harbour is chugging away with Ener Hax creating some wonderful builds and I expect my guidebook writing to be complete in a few months. If you have been curious about OpenSim, create an account in Reaction Grid and try out our sandbox.
reposted from the iliveisl blog