Virtual immersive environments have been around for years, but only now are becoming nearly transparent. Emerging virtual worlds offer opportunities for active learning in a unique way. These "worlds" are populated with 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. Second Life and other virtual environments enable a kind of immersion in learning and engagement. See how the avatars interact directly with one another. The New Media Consortium is among the leaders in the use of Second Life for collaborations.
Deb Antoine (aka Vidorah Messmer) has built most of the UIS SL island - she takes us on a quick tour: http://webcast.uis.edu/impatica/danto2/VidToursUIS.html
A great look ahead in virtual learning environments: http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Review/LookingtotheFutureHigherE/47222
An incomplete list of colleges and universities who are using SL: http://www.simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Institutions_and_Organizations_in_SL#UNIVERSITIES.2C_COLLEGES_.26_SCHOOLS
Second Life is not the only virtual environment:http://www.virtualworldsreview.com/
Google is now into the virtual environment game:http://www.lively.com/popular