Tuesday, April 8, 2008

QWAQ Forums for Education, Libraries, and Museums

This morning, John Walber of LearningTimes gave a webinar on "Qwaq Forums for Education, Libraries and Museums." He demonstrated the way 3D Virtual Worlds produced by LearningTimes and QWAQ Forums can be used for online collaboration, learning and networking.

QWAQ , which is based upon Open Croquet, is mostly for education. The QWAQ environment uses Adobe platform, has 24 frames/second max. It uses FORUMS (like Second Life Islands) and offers templates (i.e., classroom, conference room, personal office, corporate auditorium) and also another company offers "premium" templates.

Here are highlights of the webinar:

  • OVERVIEW: There are more than 100 3D Virtual Worlds today; $1B was invested in them in 2007.

  • PLATFORMS: Public (i.e., Second Life) vs. Private Audience; Ease of use and start-up time; tool set; user reliability.
  • 3D CUSTOMIZATION: Will simple standards be enough? Do we need designers/developers? Do we need additional "out-of-world" tools?
  • COSTS: Real estate or software? One-time fees and ongoing maintenance (SL is $250/mo -- like a car payment); Customization.

  • RESOURCES: virtualworldnews, SecondLifeNews
SketchUp was demonstrated and discussed: It is a 3D program bought by Google several years ago. It is a free download. QWAQ can upload 3D buildings from SketchUp.

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