Great intro video from the folks at Edutopia.org:
This morning I saw a message coming through my Twitter network that captured my attention from a fellow North Carolina educator and virtual world enthusiast, Rob Muhlestein. He shared a link to Metanomic’s write-up of the upcoming virtual world, Blue Mars. A teaser video for this new world has been released and is on YouTube:
Clearly, this is a stunningly rich environment. As with Second Life, the potential for education is great. However, there are some immediate concerns about accessibility that arise. I’ve been teaching an online course about Second Life’s potential for education and trying to push the overall potential of virtual worlds (and even game environments) for K-12 teachers and students. One thing that is a major issue for that course is the wide variance in the capabilities of teachers’ home computers. A typical “home” machine from many manufacturers with their integrated graphics cards has a hard time with Second Life. Second Life is far from being a graphically efficient environment and with settings turned way up can even make my video-gaming rig stutter. Blue Mars is built on the Crysis engine which was, at least recently, used as a benchmark of a gaming computer’s ability to perform. I wonder how many will actually be able to access it with acceptable performance.
I’m also very curious about user-generated content, which is the foundational philosophy behind Second Life. My number one plea to the developers, though, is that the interface be user-friendly, which is a huge challenge for newcomers to Second Life.
I’ll be watching the development of this virtual world closely!
Peggy Sheehy, an eductor, innovator, guildmate (“guilds” are online gaming groups) from World of Warcraft, and friend, recently released a powerful video featuring her students. It’s rather amazing:
Great work kids!
Suni Homewood, who works with design at NCSU, did a wonderful presentation at the NCTIES pre-conference session called “The Future Is Already Here” did a great presentation on Presentation Zen. A large number of folks were present at USDLC‘s Bookhenge in Second Life. Vicki “CoolCat Teacher” Davis was also present (and sitting in front of me during the presentation.
Hello teachers and folks in my PLN (Professional Learning Network) or PLE (Personal Learning Environment)!
A colleague, who also works in instructional technology had a fascinating discussion recently. We agreed that one of the most invaluable resources to each of us is our digital, PLN. Both of us regularly use blogging, Twitter, Skype chats, Facebook and other tools to connect with and learn from other professionals in our field. However, it seems that many in the K-12 teaching arena have yet to fully embrace these powerful resources. As we both reflected on why this may be, we reduced the issue down to a simple question:
“Do you have to be a ‘geek’ to fully utilize a digital, PLN?”
Here’s where I want feed back from you, the reader. For example, if you are an active Twitter-er, is there anyone whom you follow, and that regularly “tweets,” who’s not a “geek?” Do you know any bloggers who are not “techy” folks?
If you are a reader who doesn’t use these tools, what’s the number one barrier?
I look forward to the discussion!
If you haven’t watched the TED talks, you should check them out some time. Some of them are pretty good. Here’s one that I think has some interesting implications for technology and education:
Came across this great article in THE Journal today. It’s a great list of ten, very useful, web-based tools to use with students. Take a look!
Here’s another great online game that I found from my network on Twitter. It’s called Grammar Ninja and is a time-based game that helps you develop your skills identifying parts of speech. It’s pretty fun… and educational!
Oh yeah, did I mention it was developed by a high school senior as part of an independent study?
Here’s the latest gem to come through my PLN (professional learning network). JamStudio is a free, web-based music creation site. It’s very simple to use and would be great for creating royalty-free, copyright-clear podcast music and for teaching basic concepts of music composition. Want to try it out? Visit http://www.jamstudio.com.