Back when Pixels and Policy was just starting out, I wrote a piece about the United States Army's ambitious Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge, a program designed to find new and innovative methods for military training and research built in virtual environments. Now the Army has announced its finalists, and the non-government winners are surprising.
As it turns out, the list of non-government finalists (conveniently provided by Virtual Worlds News) samples heavily from universities with robust virtual worlds and Second Life programs. As I've reported in the past, large-scale adoption of virtual world degree programs is significantly reshuffling the power structure in American colleges, and the Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge provides the best evidence yet that universities needn't be Ivy League to grab major kudos from Uncle Sam.
Let's take a look at what the Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge results mean for the future of virtual worlds both in higher education and the traditionally tech-phobic public sector.