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Indiana U To Build Virtual Congress on Virtual World Platform

Indiana University's Center on Congress has selected ProtonMedia to be its development partner in the creation of a Virtual Congress, an online learning environment announced in 2007 that aims to give high school students an insider's view of representative democracy and help them understand their role as citizens.

ProtonMedia will use its ProtoSphere 3D virtual world as the foundation for the Virtual Congress. ProtoSphere lets students participate and collaborate in multi-player activities such as Congressional committee hearings, writing amendments and meeting with constituents. ProtoSphere features private and secure voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and text chat communications, whiteboards, application sharing and Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs and wikis.

"We are excited about the potential for Virtual Congress to let students experience how Congress really works," said the Center's director, Lee H. Hamilton, himself a member of the House of Representatives for 34 years. "Combining the online role-play game format with serious and substantive educational content about Congress is a promising new way to get young people engaged and informed."

A number of organizations are providing funding for the project or partnering with the Center, including the departments of Telecommunications and Learning Sciences at Indiana U.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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