Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Media on a prim in OpenSim, how educators can use it

Working and educating in a virtual world can be a lot of fun, but sometimes you also want external tools to appear in this world. The best way for this is to use MOAP (Media on a prim)

To use MOAP (Media on a prim) in OpenSim you need a viewer that can show this. The viewer needs to have a so called 'webkit' built in, to show a webpage or any other media on the side of a prim. This webkit is not always the same, like the Singularity viewer until recently had an older version that did not really work great with https formatted websites and gave some kind of SSH error.
Now it is up to date, like the Firestorm viewer for OpenSim, both are now capable of showing many sites so the webkits are updated to the latest version. I tried some educational websites, to see if it was possible to use educational webcontent on our 3DLES EDUgrid.
 First on my list was Voki, a website where you can create talking heads for free. This can be a very handy tool to have some item in your virtual world explained. So I created this character that welcomes new visitors in the virtual world and explains a bit what the visitor can do here. On the right you can see the working version and below a picture of the voki in the 3DLES virtual world. In order to get this working on the prim I only had to copy the given link of the Voki to the media settings of the prim side and change the settings of the horizontal and vertical scale and offset, so that it fits. And I did not want to show the control bar over this prim so I untagged this option.

Voki in the welcome area of the 3DLES EDUgrid
The learningapps website offers all kinds of quizzes that you can create for free. These 'apps' can also be placed on an object in the virtual world, and they can be controlled by clicking with the mouse. So a student can do any interactive quiz in-world.

Learningapps puzzle on a prim
Also embedding youtube video's is an option that can be done quite simple, the only thing that needs  to be changed is the URL of a video so it will be fullscreen (embedded). You can do this by copying the link of a video and replace /watch?v= in the URL to /embed/  so the url should look like this... Below you can see how this looks in the virtual world.

Youtube video on a prim
These three tools run fine on both the Singularity and Firestorm viewer. Any other tool, like Prezi, Quizlet and only ran on the Firestorm viewer, when Singularity was not updated yet. The update solved the problem. (updated June 1016)