The aVaTaR@School Project is a European virtual world project co-finance by co-financed by the European Commission in the Socrates-Minerva Programme. The program focuses on virtual role plays for conflict resolution with a playful and cooperative approach:
The project just completed their first machinima scenario:
Here’s a short description of their first machinima scenario:
“Martin, a 15-year old boy attending a secondary school in Berlin-Neuköln, gets blackmailed by Ahmed, a 17-year old boy, member of a Turkish gang attending the same school. Once a week he has to give him money or other things that Richard claims such as mobile phones. As he doesn’t get together what Ahmed wants otherwise, Martin starts to steal things from classmates. Some start to suspect him but haven’t been able to prove so far. Some days ago Martin has stolen the mobile phone of Richard who suspects him but can’t prove that. On a Friday afternoon Martin hands over Richard’s mobile phone to Ahmed. Some of his classmates are standing nearby and notice what is going on …”
For a first project it is very well done, complete with a variety of camera angles and background soundtrack. To learn more about this innovative project visit their website at:
This project has already touched off a several days long discussion on the SLED listserv about race and stereotype in Europe, and the use of a Turkish older boy in a gang as the “bad guy” in this video. Many are being critical of the use of a race stereotype in the role of the bully. Watch the video and join the discussion on the SLED listserv. Where else can you join in on an international debate on political correctness?
We are still in the very early days of defining how we will all use these virtual worlds in education, and the discussions going on now will help to shape how all of us use these worlds in the future.