Virtual Tour of Fallingwater

The video below is a virtual tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Fallingwater house, built on a waterfall in western Pennsylvania. If you're doing a unit about Frank Lloyd Wright... or anything relating to archetecture for that matter, you've got yourself a virtual tour of the building.

What is most impressive about this video however, is how it was made. The designer used floorplans and images that he found online in order to map out the space, and then he created the entire video using the "half life engine".

In other words, he made it in a video game.

Recently, I've been finding more and more articles about the integration of video games into classroom learning, starting with this Wired Magazine Article about the educational advantages of gaming:

Gaming tends to be regarded as a harmless diversion at best, a vile corruptor of youth at worst. But the usual critiques fail to recognize its potential for experiential learning. Unlike education acquired through textbooks, lectures, and classroom instruction, what takes place in massively multiplayer online games is what we call accidental learning. It's learning to be - a natural byproduct of adjusting to a new culture - as opposed to learning about. Where traditional learning is based on the execution of carefully graded challenges, accidental learning relies on failure. Virtual environments are safe platforms for trial and error. The chance of failure is high, but the cost is low and the lessons learned are immediate.

As I posted about earlier, virtual worlds offer the potenial of creating art in a world with no restrictions. What is fascinating to me about this example is that people are already seeking out these opportunities in ways that people who manufactured the gaming platforms never even imagined. Half Life is an adventure-type first-person shooter game. Doesn't sound too educational until you find out that someone has used it to faithfully reproduce a Frank Lloyd Wright building.


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