This paper describes premises of a video, Zircus, presenting a design for a virtual environment. The video is a basis for discussion—a sketch, rather than a specification, of a virtual playspace and interactions that can happen there. The playspace is conceived as a learning environment in which constructive activities can focus thinking on certain sets of ideas. Conversations within the multiuser environment can also be conducive to learning, as well as to developing an online community. These actions and conversations would depend on a future system combining technologies in networked graphics, speech, AI, various input devices, and high-level software for constructing animations and audio/video sequences. Taking the ideas in Zircus from sketch to implementation will require contributions from researchers in a range of disciplines, including architectural design, film media, learning theory, and computer science.

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