Multi-user Virtual Environments (MUVEs)
My experience in the development of the use of the Internet for foreign language education goes back to 1993. I have concentrated most heavily on email and Multi-User Domains (MUDs) like MOO and VICs, but have used and created email forums, websites, and a variety of chat environments for my students and those taking my workshops.
I was the founder/director of MundoHispano, the MOO for native speakers and learners of Spanish. This was the first significant social network for Spanish speakers. It had over 4000 user accounts representing speakers of Spanish from over two dozen countries. I was also an administrator at MOOfrancais and used schMOOze University in my ESL classes, presenting frequently at international TESOL conferences on MOO use and its language learning pedagogy.
I have several times used Skype to teach English pronunciation to professionals at a distance. This is amazingly effective and accurate given today’s excellent technology.
I developed for Heinle & Heinle Publishers a Virtual Interactive Community (VIC – a multi-media MOO-like environment) called PuebloLindo. This second-generation MUD is the predecessor to Dyvic Innovation’s “Frontierra,” developed to fully-functional prototype stage before funding dried up.
I had my eyes opened to the possibilities of MOO for the disabled when I used Grassroots MOO as a site for coaching at a distance. The sophistication of this MOO belies the fact that most of the wizards there are impaired in some way. This experience made me more sensitive to the issue of accessibility to websites. Few sites bother to put a ramp for the disabled to their front door.
Finally, I was also a co-manager of the international “Student Lists” for ESL/EFL learners, a set of eight listservs through which learners of English can discuss a variety of topics in a friendly online environment.