This past week, several members of the Second Life LC ventured into the virtual world known as Reaction Grid. We met up with Jokay Wollongong (Jo Kay in RL) who guided us around and answered questions while we got our bearings. She also took us to her own spot on the RG called jokaydia.We decided to explore Reaction Grid because there are many other virtual worlds besides Second Life, and many educators are interested in finding out what virtual worlds can offer for their students as well as for their own professional development. Since Reaction Grid is strictly a PG environment it is suitable for all ages, unlike the main SL grid which is only for ages 18 and up. Many higher education groups have been making use of the SL environment but what about K-12 students? Reaction Grid provides a viable alternative.
Jokay also told us that the cost of a sim in Reaction Grid is far less expensive than in Second Life. She has also developed her own virtual world called JoKaydiaGrid. You can register for an account on the site. Reaction Grid, Joykadiagrid and others are part of the OpenSim project. Although OpenSim does not have the “web on a prim” capability that the SL Viewer 2 has, there are developers working on it as we speak. (Correction: Reaction Grid is working on web on a prim; Open Sim does have that functionality.Thanks to readers for pointing this out.)I experimented accessing Reaction Grid through the Second Life Viewer (1.23 not viewer 2) and also the Hippo OpenSim Viewer. (Download at http://sourceforge.net/projects/opensim-viewer/) There are others that can be used as well but the interface is basically what you are familiar with in Second Life so there is really no learning curve with the viewer. The support tab at reactiongrid.com gives detailed instructions on using these viewers.
The most difficult thing for me was having to create a new avatar and leave my familiar self behind in SL! I could take the same name and use the same password, however. You can get an account by clicking on “Register” at the bottom of the Reaction Grid home page. The objects and clothing available in Reaction Grid are free (yes, free, though somewhat limited at this time) and there is no cost to upload textures, unlike the 10L per texture we are used to in Second Life. We are planning another excursion in the near future and next time hope to investigate work being done by other educators. I took a sneak peak at (and a photo of) Scott Merrick’s “scottsperiment” on Reaction Grid, but didn’t have time to venture further. We are excited to find out more about what ideas these RG educators are cooking up and how they use the virtual environment with their students.
Info on jokaydia in Reaction Grid and SL Jokaydia blog.
Scott Merrick’s Oh! Virtual Learning blog
See you in-world (any world!)