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First Virtual World School

Jan. 16 2009, Published 2:23 p.m. ET

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A school in North Yorkshire, England has become the first to use the virtual world to educate students.

According to the Evening Gazette, students use the Second Life virtual world to populate their 'Acklam Grange' classroom with characters which can walk around, interact with classmates, and engage in virtual lessons.

Headmaster John Bate says the potential in his classroom is unlimited.

"If you were studying Much Ado About Nothing, you could be in the garden having a conversation with the characters," he said.

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He adds that students can wander around, clicking on images on the walls that interest them, and learn about things that are acted out instead of read in a book.

Virtual worlds specialist Mark Mullis says this is just the beginning.

"By 2011, 80% of internet users will have an avatar in a virtual world," he says. "Pupils using a computer at home access these kinds of worlds and it is important we also embrace them."

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