Across the country from Abraham Lincoln School, researcher Randy Jackson is studying the effect of collaboration and learning in a virtual reality environment on both sixth- and ninth-graders for his dissertation at the University of Washington.

Jackson said he "looked at how people communicated and collaborated to solve the problem of global warming."

Wearing a head-mounted display and holding a joystick-like wand, students entered a computer-generated model of Seattle to accomplish the task of ending global warming.

"We don't try to model the real world," Jackson said. Instead, students at the University of Washington's Human Interface Technology...

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