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page updated January 11, 2002
NB:  The Learning Sites Beta Test Program has been temporarily suspended while we prepare new teaching materials.
The Program
The virtual reality-based educational packages developed by LEARNING SITES undergo lengthy field testing in actual public school classrooms (primarily in grades 5-12), throughout the United States and Canada.  The testing helps us refine our lesson plans and check our adherence to curriculum guidelines. Since our public school packages take into account the educational standards mandated by states and provinces, we continually rework our offerings to meet specific grade-level expectations.

Further, we strive to maintain up-to-date themes, questions, and problem-solving tasks that meet the recommendations adopted by various professional archaeological associations for teaching archaeology and ancient history in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms.

The Requirements
Since our virtual worlds comply with the latest version of the VRML 2.0 (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) specifications and incorporate leading-edge features for online interaction, research, and transmission, the computers at your school must meet specific system requirements in order to mount and run our programs.
  • Pentium 166MHz PC with a minimum of 32Mb RAM (Pentium 200MHz and 64Mb RAM recommended)
  • Microsoft Windows95TM (or higher; a 32-bit operating system is required)
  • Netscape NavigatorTM 4.5 (or higher)
  • Silicon Graphics / Platinum Technologies Cosmo PlayerTMVRML viewer version 2.1
  • Mouse or trackball
No head-mounted displays (HMDs) or special hardware accessories are needed.

As currently defined, VRML 2.0 will not run satisfactorily on AppleTM or MacintoshTM computers.

Our programs utilize HTML-coded pages for the text portion and VRML-coded worlds for the virtual reality portion of the experience.  Both supply interaction, and each type of information source is linked to data in the other (e.g., from the text, users may hyperlink to other text or to virtual worlds; and from within virtual worlds, visitors may jump to other worlds or to explanatory text). 

Our materials are viewed using the Netscape browser on files mounted locally at your school in a manner that best suits your particular situation (e.g., the files can be mounted on machines in a media laboratory, over a school-wide network, or on individual machines in several classrooms).  The material is presented using Netscape's frame features, with virtual worlds and text available and independently scrollable at all times.

The Package
LEARNING SITES will supply you with our instructional materials, which include the virtual worlds, lesson plans, teacher guidebook, and student worksheets, as well as direct access to the latest Netscape browser and Cosmo PlayerTMfiles.  Bonus features are provided on a case-by-case basis depending on the situation and the type of field test.  Our educational package is available for downloading off of our Web site; much of the background information is also available in hard copy.

If you think your school would benefit from using virtual reality-based learning modules, providing near first-hand experiences of ancient cultures and supplemental instructional data for ancient history, archaeology, geography, world cultures, architecture, and problem-solving techniques, we invite you to apply for inclusion.

How to Join
Email your request to info@learningsites.com

Please use the words "beta test application" in the subject line of your message, and tell us a bit about your school, your use of the Internet or virtual reality for teaching, and your curriculum.

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