Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Virtual Worlds and Social Networks at HandHeld Learning2008

An interesting panel discussion involving danah boyd, Ian Hughes, Dave Taylor, Kurt Squire, Kathy Trinder, Ron Edwards and a representative of Disney online (Club Penguin)-followed presentations by 5 of the group which ranged from the 'soft sell' of Disney's virtual worlds ( not really doing a whole lot to break down gender issues with Disney Fairies which is highly unlikely to attract many boys....!)through to Dave Taylor using the Virtual World training doctors in safe simulated environments and Ian Hughes from IBM and Ron Edwards ( Ambient Learning) with their recreations of ' realworld' spaces for work based training and work with hard to reach disaffected kids.
The discussion developed from the initial issues around access to some of this technology in a school setting and moved more interestingly into the field of how we can use these spaces in new and novel ways.....getting away from as Ron Edwards would say 'the sage on the stage'. I have attended 'in world' presentations of this kind, and while for me this feels comfortable ( back to lectures with good visuals) and the chance to interact with colleagues many miles away, this style of experience will need to change for the 21st Century.
I was pleased when Ron, Ian and Dave Taylor showcased how we can use the 3d nature of the environment to model 'realworld' situations.
Ron showed how in his examples from Ambient showcased their in world peer mentoring within a safe and secure area and also the fusion of mobile phone and virtual world with the Virtual Worlds London project. Ian took us into the work that IBM took us into the world of 'inworld' staff training and also IBM's virtual Forbidden City. Dave showed us a little of the work that he has done with SciLands in Second Life......
All excellent stuff, tomorrow my main focus will be looking at affordable implementation and sustainable development of mobile technology with the Sottish LTS group including Ian Stuart from Islay.

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