MUVE – Multi-User Virtual Environment
I used to play World of Warcraft with my husband and brother-in-law. Because my brother-in-law lives several hours away from us and we did not get to visit in person very often, playing WOW together gave of the opportunity to interact on a more regular basis. Most nights after the kids went to bed, we would spend a couple of hours chatting and visiting while we ran quests and dungeons together. For me, the interaction that the three of us had together was much more enjoyable than the game itself.
Currently, my children and I play Minecraft together; my kids play more than I do. They have built entire towns, with buildings and ships and roller coasters! I find it amazing what they are able to accomplish in this game. I am not one to let the kids play a great deal on the computer but I find that this particular game stimulates their creativity; it is almost like playing virtual Legos.
As for a professional use for MUVE’s, I must say that I had not thought about it much until it was discussed in my recent studies. I believe that MUVE’s could be incorporated effectively as teaching tools, particularly in that the virtual environment could be utilized to help others be involved in situations (different languages, cultures, environmental scenarios, budgetary scenarios) that otherwise they would not be able to experience. Because MUSE’s lend themselves to role playing, this type of personal involvement can give individuals a greater understanding because they are able to experience the situation. Although it is a virtual experience, the level of involvement and investment are still high.
For example, I was able to find some examples of how MUSE’s are being incorporated into TESOL education through an organization called Electronic Village Online (EVO). One session being offered through the EVO will focus on how Minecraft is being used effectively in language learning. Another session will also focus on language learning, this time discussing the use of Second Life and other virtual environments.