Virtual Laboratories in Education
Practical experience is an important component of the educational process. However, the time and economical resources often required for the setting up and construction of scientific laboratories is outside the scope of many institutions. A solution to this problem could be found in the adaptation of the Virtual Reality technology, which could allow the creation of Virtual Laboratories, which will simulate the processes and actions that could take place in real laboratories. In particular, this paper, based on the expertise and motivation gained by the VirRAD-IST project, proposes and describes such an educational virtual laboratory, which aims to meet the requirements of a real laboratory and furthermore to support communication and collaboration services. We propose a web-based system, which allows users to perform experiments on educational fields, such as Physics or Chemistry in 3D multiuser worlds where users are represented by avatars and they are offered a wide range of communication and collaborati on services in order to simulate efficiently a real learning experimental process.
Key wordsDistance learning Virtual reality Multi-user virtual environments Virtual Laboratories Educational Virtual Environments
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