Sunday, August 05, 2007

Synchronous collaboration in virtual worlds

Virtual worlds like Secondlife.com are used for synchronous communication. Here we see a panel discussion in a virtual classroom belonging to the Harvard University Berkman Center. Each panelist and attendee designs an avatar, which they control and move around in the virtual space. We see the panelists’ avatars seated at the front of the room and those of the attendees are seated around them. There are also shared spaces like the “flipchart” to the right of the panel. Organizations are experimenting with meetings, press conferences, concerts, and other synchronous events in Second Life.

Second Life is one of many virtual worlds. Some are geared toward a particular user group like children and others are focused on a game. Techcrunch.com tracks such developments and has lists 18 virtual worlds in this post.