SmartClassroom :: Wednesday, February 7, 2007

News & Product Updates

Ohio U Brings Second Life to Middle School Students

Ohio University's Office of Outreach and Russ College of Engineering and Technology paired up to develop educational software on Second Life, an online virtual Mecca. The interactive video game software will target middle school students learning science. Students will be able to access the software on Ohio University's virtual campus in the Second Life program.

Russ College graduate students are working with local middle school science teachers to design the educational software for hard to grasp science concepts. Chang Liu, assistant professor of computer science, said in a prepared statement, "Students can conduct simulated science experiments or engage in team-learning activities in our (online) engineering buildings from anywhere, anytime."

Ohio University is a part of a small number of U.S. Universities to set up a virtual campus for visitors and students. The university's program, Ohio University without Boundaries, has been studying how the virtual setting can be used for education. There are currently experimental courses meeting in both the real life and virtual setting.

Second Life is a 3D virtual world built and owned by the program's users. Members use avatars--who look a lot like the characters in the Sims video game--to navigate through a smorgasbord of activities. Basic membership is free; additional basic and premium membership start at $9.95 a month....

Read more here, here and here.

U. of Chicago Students Attempt OurSpace Service

University of Chicago students have launched a website that enables Internet users to build their own social sites, with simple features that can be "customized, privatized, and personalized."

The site, called the ZedZone, fills "a need for people to be able to define their communities for themselves and create functionality-rich websites that can be tailored to each of those communities," said Mike Dolan, president of

The site offers the ability to create "CommZones," or group websites with several feature options: a forum for users; an album for sharing files; a Wiki creation tool; and an e-mail service called ZedMail....

Read more

Philadelphia U Adopts Trumba Connect

By Dave Nagel

Philadelphia University is using technologies from Trumba to connect students and faculty to online events on and around the campus.

The university is using the system to communicate with students, alumni, faculty and staff. The technology is used to publish events online, but is also a tool used for two-way communications.

"Using Trumba Connect, Philadelphia University can create numerous sub-calendars such as custom calendars for student activities, athletics, and other university activities," according to Trumba. "It offers users the ability to integrate events into their Outlook calendars and allows the University to seamlessly integrate event information within their existing templates. It also provides the University's Web developers with ... administration tools and the flexibility to add custom information to events."

"We needed a dynamic way to showcase upcoming events at Philadelphia University, and Trumba Connect provided us with the advanced functionality to not just post events, but engage our users by making the event information interactive," said Chris Davis, Director of Web Communications at Philadelphia University. "Trumba Connect also allowed us to seamlessly integrate the calendars with the University's brand look and feel and customize the display of event information across our entire site."

The university is using Trumba for, among other things, publishing information on exhibits, concerts, and business programs, as well as important dates for students....

Read more here and here.

Have any additional questions? Want to share your story? Want to pass along a news tip? Contact Dave Nagel, executive editor, at

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