Perhaps the most energy in emerging teaching/learning technologies today is being put into creating virtual learning environments. The medical community is among those those creating simulations - enabling students to practice responses to life and death situations on avatars. Avatars are those animated characters that can take almost any shape or form and - in many virtual worlds - can talk and interact with other avatars. There is a kind of immersion in the learning environment that takes place in virtual worlds.
UIS is currently collaborating with the Illinois Department of Public Health in the Brothers and Sisters United Against AIDS / HIV project. We have certified more than 1,000 mentors to provide inner-city Chicago youth with advice and basic counseling on safe sex practices. This year we are using Second Life - one of the largest virtual learning environments - to provide our continuing education: http://webcast.uis.edu/impatica/danto2/VidToursUIS.html
A great look ahead in virtual learning environments:
An incomplete list of colleges and universities who are using SL:
Second Life is not the only virtual environment:
Even Google has gotten into the virtual environment game: