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Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds are online environments designed for multiparty interaction in real time. They create the impression of being a real place through the use of image, sound, and movement. Individuals are represented in virtual worlds as avatars, characters that can be moved around the screen environment so that they interact with objects and other users, who are also represented as avatars. These virtual environments can be simulations of a three-dimensional world, populated by avatars with life-like movements or a series of more cartoon-like screens with basic two-dimensional avatars. This entry discusses several popular virtual worlds, the role of virtual worlds in learning, and identity and social interaction in virtual worlds.

Second Life is one of the most popular three-dimensional worlds and consists of an extensive and ...

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