Social Networking has been a global consumer phenomenon during the last few years. Online communities are changing the way people behave, share and interact within their daily lives. Most of such communities are mainly focused on sharing contents and communicating using a traditional web interface. However, social virtual worlds are computer-simulated environments that the users can "inhabit" and in which they can interact and create objects. Education is one of the most interesting applications of virtual worlds, as their flexibility can be exploited in order to create heterogeneous groups from all over the world who can collaborate synchronously in different virtual spaces. In this paper, we highlight the potential of virtual worlds as an educative tool and propose a model to create learning environments within Second Life or OpenSimulator combining the Moodle learning management system, embodied conversational metabots, and programmable 3D objects. We have implemented the proposal in a learning system for several subjects of the Computer Science degree in our university and show that it fostered engagement and collaboration and helped the students to better understand complex concepts.
virtual worlds; second life; opensimulator; sloodle; e-learning; speech interaction