Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 in Second Life: The Educators Reflect

Location: Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable
photo courtesy of Ponderosafish at Flickr

On Jan. 5, a distinguished group of educators and technologists took the stage at Montclair State's virtual campus. While the entire transcript of what they said/predicted/opined can be found here, I've pulled out several salient points. Note that the presenters spoke in voice, and these transcriptions approximate their remarks:

Awareness of virtual worlds in education
  • "I no longer feel my job is justifying edu in VWs. . .not that VWs have reached mainstream adoption decision-makers are convinced they are worthwhile in terms of investigation even if they don't understand all the implications. We're no longer justifying, now focusing on scalability, integrating w/campus data systems." (Fleep Tuque)
  • "It is quite possible that 2010 be the year that virtual worlds learning comes of age." (Wainbrave Bernal)
  • "Part of my belief that this could be the year of non apology. This is a relatively no cost place for education." (Kenny Hubble).
  • Wainbrave Bernal talked in some detail about his beliefs that "the mobile, the virtual, the haptic will converge" soon.
How much does Linden Lab listen?
  • [At the Second Life Community Convention in 2008] "one session was a group of educators giving feedback. we talked about bringing in our students, faculty, administrators, asked for better registration APIs, easier group [management], etc. As I read the blog post [by M. Linden, with predictions for 2010 and beyond], I realized nearly none of it was addressed on the list and I am disappointed." (Fleep Tuque)
  • "a little pessimistic [that] the 2008 needs were not answered. The long term user(s) are going to get a bit fed up with being ignored and not getting heard." (AnthonyFontana Chevalier)
Improvements needed
  • "I think they lose a lot of people still in the orientation process and they want it much improved." (Wainbrave Bernal)
  • "Content protection has been hammered of late." (Buddy Sprocket)
  • "I hope LL will look at the low-hanging fruit & address some of our needs even a little. That small amount could have a big impact in what we can do in edu." (Fleep Tuque)
Possibilities of Open Sim Worlds
  • "Can SL remain a player in the field of VW's, and what do they need to do?" (AJ Brooks)
  • "I'm amazed at the progress of Open Sim even in the last 12 [months]. When I first tried it it was blank, you were ruthed, couldn't move. . .I'm surprised more educators aren't jumping to Open Sim." (Fleep Tuque)
  • "We're thinking about it." (AnthonyFontana Chevalier)
  • "I can see faculty member making curriculum in their own VW. . . and when they want community, they go into SL, do research, and come back to locally run Virtual environment that looks like SL without all the restrictions." (AJ Brooks)
  • "We are not meeting in open sim tonight so there is a place for SL it is the common ground." (Buddy Sprocket)
It was far from a "bash Linden Lab" meeting. As Kenny Hubble reminded us, "Are WE doing as much as we could do to make this as much of a success for our institutions?" Fleep replied, "Ken's an optimist & reminds me to be grateful for what we do have."

As, one hopes, are those who build virtual worlds that include educators. Our short-term investments may pale, in total spending, when compared to social users. But higher ed has deep pockets and, when we invest, it's for the long term.

With that in mind, I'll let Jeremy Kabumpo, not on the panel but well known for his work with SL, close this post:

"Second Life in the form we see it here has an 18-month lifespan going forward. [CEO Mark] Kingdon has essentially stopped the company in its tracks technically and also melted its core value - its community. But the learning models and teaching methods we have designed and tested in Second Life will map onto new platforms. After OpenSim, Flash in the browser and location-based wireless apps need our attention. The tech press think of Facebook apps like Farmville as virtual worlds."


Viv Trafalgar said...

so very sad I missed this one.

Iggy O said...

You should have heard us tonight at VWER, Viv. Jokay showed up for the meeting, too!

I think Linden Lab needs to pay more attention to educators. Our schools have deep pockets, even with the Recession. We pay BlackBoard ungodly sums of money each year; you'd think that LL would realize this and go after long-term investors by, say, doing some more marketing instead of chasing the Gothic Barbie and Ken market. But maybe that's just my crankeh thinking at work :)

educational resources & SL stuff said...

Excellent blog, Ig. As always you are spot on.