This project is to engage students of the digital generation in critically responding to social issues through highly interactive virtual environments (HIVEs): virtual worlds and computer/online games. Through creating, role-playing, and collaborating in HIVEs, students in Schaumburg High School used the HIVE to explore their identities in their participating communities by designing avatar appearances, and creating virtual art that addresses social issues. This grant project is co-directed by Lilly Lu, Ph. D., and Aline Click, Co-Director of the Digital Convergence Lab. Funding for this project has come from the NIU Foundation, the Department of Art, and the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Information Technology Services.
The HIVE project uses free open source server software to support its virtual world Opensim, which we then host on NIU servers. The decision to host our own virtual world was made so that students are not exposed to the general public. While opensource software is usually free you will probably need IT support to set up on your school's server. For more information please check out the links below.
Opensimulator.org - opensource server software.
Imprudence - opensource client side viewer needed on student's computer.
Another alternative to opensource server software is to have Reactiongrid host your school's virtual world.