“edutain@grid” is a new project funded by the European Commission under the 6th Framework Programme. Intended to use Grid technology, traditionally applied to "big science", it aims to improve user experiences in both online gaming and distance e-learning systems.
It focuses on the creation of real-time online interactive applications and endeavours to reduce the development and hosting costs.
Pawel Plaszczak and Rich Wellner, Jr. define Grid technology as "the technology that enables resource virtualization, on-demand provisioning, and service (resource) sharing between organizations." *
This technology is rapidly evolving and expanding in various fields.
What about education?
A consortium of researchers is focusing on a concrete application of the Grid technology for education. Among the first applications will be an advanced multi-user e-learning environment called edutain@grid.
This project will create two pieces of software including an on-line multiplayer game and a multi-user e-learning application. To meet the market needs, edutain@grid will identify two user groups to help and define the requirements. Membership will be selected from a range of organisations which correspond to key potential user groups.
The project has to offer the following general features: it needs to be easy to configure, user-friendly and easy to develop with advanced interactive real-time applications.
It must allow thousands of players to participate in highly dynamic online gaming not currently offered in the market place, and propose synchronized interaction among collaborating users.
The benefits to education and the e-learning community are expected to be significant. Large numbers of geographically disparate students will interact with teachers and instructors making use of large operational data sets.
*Plaszczak, Pawel, Rich Wellner, Jr. Grid Computing,"The Savvy Manager's Guide", Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
Read more about the project