Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Prediction: Sticking Around

VWER 11-29-2012  
Location: VWER meeting

Photo credit: Wrenaria

Today, the VWER meets to discuss its future under our new leader, SL's Kali Pizzaro. I hope that the group branches out to discuss more than virtual worlds, since there is a lot of action in education regarding technologies, both established and emerging. There is also a lot of progress to be made because many faculty are still struggling with technologies that seem second nature to me, such as Google Drive and similar cloud-based applications.

I hope to make a plea for appropriate technology. Too much of the educational community is still driven first by technology. No where was this more apparent to me than in educators trying to bolt educational uses onto World of Warcraft and Second Life, instead of starting with pedagogy. On campus, with more traditional technologies, I am seeing that healthy change.

And as for this blog, despite Tenchi's wise advice on focus, I will broaden "In a Strange Land" to talk more about other aspects of educational technology. I think readers will find less about the social and economic aspects of virtual worlds here, though coverage of the technology will continue as events merit it. I doubt this will become a prognostication-free zone.

So before I stop, here are some 2013 predictions about virtual worlds:
  • Continued evolution, albeit slow evolution, of non-SL alternatives. Focus will be on Unity 3D and Cloud Party. Most of the growth will be non-educational.
  • Continued slide, perhaps plateau, for Second Life's loss of private regions.
  • More attention to violence in gaming and, perhaps, SL. The latter will be held up in the US Congress for a place where immorality, even sexual slavery, is present. A right-wing ignoramus will wave around a battered copy of Slave Girl of Gor and show a Powerpoint with slides from SL in 2008 to make his belabored point.
So see you all around in this space, once in a while. My new blog Tractorpunk, on rural life and sustainability, with my usual punkish edge, will launch soon. That and my forthcoming anthology about online communities will keep me more than busy in 2013.

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