I have been playing around a bit with Twinverse and I do see some possibility here. As per usual, I am going to don my teaching cap and think of an educational use. I am thinking along the lines of virtual pen-pals illustrated in a geographical context. Learn geography and a culture at once in real-time interaction. It really does add another dimension to chatting, a sense of time and place.

According to the website:

“Twinverse is a virtual world which reflects the real world. Through your twin (avatar), you will travel around the globe, meet and communicate with other people, discover geo-tagged web information, and contribute interesting content for the benefit of others.

When online, you can chat with your friends while simultaneously enjoying photos, videos, and music. While you are offline, friends can still visit your home to see what’s new and leave comments.

Twinverse is the first virtual world based on a peer-to-peer technology allowing full scalability. Hardware support for our virtual world is provided by the network of user computers running the Twinverse software.”

The avatar is interesting as well as it assumes the online identity for the real person and as such legally it has rights akin to a real human being (think libel). There are whole tenets of legal thinking dedicated to these online environments, especially when there is money changing hands across borders (in spite of borders.) However, educationally I would stick with the whole pen-pal use case.

It also has released its own API, so create away.

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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