Tuesday, July 13, 2010

AJ Brooks on Education in Virtual Worlds

Feb 9_VWER_017
Location: Virtual Office

I talk to AJ Brooks more than anyone else in SL, with Viv Trafalgar running a close second. Yet while Viv and I often prognosticate about the future of virtual worlds, AJ is usually engaged in moderating the weekly Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable, so our chats tend to be on the topic of that day.

Using as my point of departure AJ's article "Virtual Worlds? Outlook Good," from the September/October 2008 issue of EDUCAUSE Review, I asked AJ to visit my office on Richmond Island and revisit his topic. A great deal has occurred since then.

When I asked AJ what had changed the most since he published the article, he noted that "the virtual world gird is beginning to become more distributed."

For Linden Lab, AJ is not optimistic about the future of their virutal world. "I think SL's future is in their own hands right now," he said. "They can continue to be an island unto them selves, and miss out on being part of a larger grid effort - truly putting them into the 'AOL' type position I've been talking about for a while now....OR they can work with those pioneers who are designing the true metaverse, one that is not proprietary. My guess is that they will NOT do the latter."

While Brooks is "cautiously hopeful" about the return of Philip Rosedale to the CEO's chair, "I think this ship is headed in a direction, and Rosedale is probably not inclined to change that direction."

Brooks detects a gradual departure of educators leaving SL for OpenSim-based worlds, since "educators are pioneers, and they've seen their community attacked over and over again."

AJ's answer to my question about one thing he'd change in SL, if he could: "I'd build in a creative commons type permissions structure so we would not have this issue with content creations and ownership issues (or at least not as dire)."

That's my #1 wish as well, since it would free up content for out-of-world backups, something I'll easily be able to do in OpenSim.

The entire text of our interview can be found here.

1 comment:

iliveisl said...

unfortunately, imo, SL has lost its grip on the education market. things like slapping Jokay in the face don't bode well with educators

there is no way to do education for elementary school. the teen grid is a disaster to try to use as an adult parent or teacher

and the cost of OpenSim is almost nothing since many schools have server space to spare

so many schools and teachers are using OpenSim and figure that the hassle of it not being as solid as SL outweighs the cost and sometimes flakey policies

i taught high school and college and my other virtual half, subQuark taught secondary school for 3 years and college for 7

he has been invited to 11 conferences to speak about eLearning with Second Life but no longer recommends SL to any teachers

the latest TOS from Second Life would tend to keep away any institutions wanting to invest serious time into creating campuses and learning experiences

i know that the 16 sis worth of stuff i am working on in OpenSim would never get built in SL because i want to be certain that they are 100% mine and mot subject to being granted a license to them

my two cents

(ener <- masters in science ed from UT-D)