Who We Are
The Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development, or WIRED, project is made up of faculty and graduate students from 3 of Ohio University’s labs: the GRID Lab, @Lab, and VITAL (Virtual Immersive Technologies and Arts for Learning) lab. Several cyber centers at local community college and career centers including Washington State, Hocking College, Tri-County Career Center and Ohio University, participate in the project by attending training sessions on interactive digital technologies (IDT) hosted by the WIRED project.
What We Do
A variety of projects are currently going on through the VITAL LAB
The VITAL lab contributes to the WIRED project in many ways. A unique tool called iVirtualWorld has been created by the VITAL lab through the WIRED project. This tool allows a user with little to no experience in virtual worlds to create a virtual presence in a variety of virtual worlds through a wizard-like tool. This makes it possible for professionals and students alike to easily display content in the virtual world of their choice with ease.
Another project made possible through the WIRED project is the addition of an OpenSim server at the Tri-County Career Center cyber club. The Tri-County cyber club consists of high school students opting to attend a career center program focusing on computer skills instead of attending a traditional high school. Although the students were interested in exploring Second Life (www.SecondLife.com) as a means of increasing their technical skills, due to the school systems’ firewall restrictions, this was not an option. OpenSim (www.OpenSim.org) is an open source project aiming to mimic Second Life. An OpenSim server can be configured and hosted locally, unlike Second Life whose servers are all hosted internally. This made OpenSim an ideal alternative to Second Life at Tri-County Career Center because the server could be hosted inside the classroom to avoid firewall restrictions but at the same time provide much of the same functionality as Second Life. A computer was purchased and given to Tri-County Career Center through WIRED funding. OpenSim was installed and configured by a graduate student working on the project. The Tri-County students each created their own island and built their own houses and furnishings. They also created their own currency system and established a “farmer’s market” to buy and sell from each other.
We also create many tutorials on the creation of virtual worlds. These tutorials are hosted on a web pages and available to all cyber center students and faculty. The VITAL lab’s tutorials include how-to’s on building and scripting in Second Life as well as other things. In addition, workshops are hosted periodically at Ohio University and open to all cyber centers to receive more in-depth training in IDT. Graduate students also visit cyber centers to provide hands on training at the centers.