Pleiades and the University of Central Missouri (UCM) have announced plans to build an online virtual world based on the Harlem Renaissance. The full audio and visual 3D simulation will be available to schools and to the public on January 2, 2008. Virtual Harlem will showcase the rich jazz heritage of a predominantly Black neighborhood in New York City. The work will be sponsored in part by the National Black Programming Consortium.
“Virtual Harlem will help expand the world view of students in ways that, prior to metaverse technology, proved much more difficult,” says Bryan Carter, an assistant professor of literature at UCM.
Professor Carter has pioneered the use of desktop video-conferencing, podcasting, Internet radio broadcast, immersive environments, and blogging in formal education.
“Students love it,” he says of this technology-rich approach.
The final product will include digital simulations of historically important venues and live jazz performance using the music and artists of the 1920s. Visitors to the environment will be able to interact with one another and learn.
“Virtual Harlem is the first in a series of metaverse learning environments we will develop this year,” says Pleiades President, Patrick Edwards-Daugherty.
The University of Paris IV-Sorbonne will be participating in a related project called Virtual Montmartre, also in collaboration with Pleiades.