Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Virtual reality TV


We've seen a lot of Second Life content on TV recently (crime-solving in SL on CSI: New York, broken dreams on The Office, etc.). I read an article on Reuters Second Life today about TV moving into SL. For some time there's been a version of Big Brother in Second Life. It wasn't new, but it was new to me, and it got me thinking.
I have to admit that I enjoy Big Brother. It is so boring and so fascinating at the same time. I could do without the elaborate games they have to play for special privileges and immunity. I don't really care about the scheming that the players do, either. What's interesting, to me at least, is the dull stuff: the vapid conversations, the dish-washing, the everyday things. It's sort of like watching animals at the zoo: They eat, they sleep, they stretch, they yawn, and it's hard to pull yourself away.
When I first read the article about BB in SL, I thought it might be kind of cool to see the show from a different perspective, to control the camera. And I it would on another kind of show. If there were a SL CSI, you might watch the autopsy from the perspective of the corpse or a car chase from above. But what would even happen on BB in SL? You don't need to brush your teeth or make breakfast in SL. What's there to watch?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Exploring Social Norms in Second Life


As a relatively new community member of Second Life, I have been grappling with the idea of social norms and how they are applied "Inworld." Is real life actually that separate from Second Life when it comes to social norms? Should it be? How is etiquette defined? We are dealing with avatars from around the world, which brings in a cultural element (proximity, for example). Real people with real emotions, values, standards, cultural backgrounds, control the movements, actions, and speech of the avatars. Should those real world elements be reflected in our second lives? Why or why not? I would love to hear about your musings and experiences....



Check out this video from NPR on the topic of proximity in SL.

The Office

On Thursday night, The Office (the best show on TV) had a hysterical scene about Second Life. Its amazing to see so many TV connections with Second Life. It makes me wonder if these connections were always there and I never noticed it, and now its more evident because of this class?
One of the funniest parts that I couldn't find on You Tube was Philly Jim. You all must see this whole episode

SceneCaster

SceneCaster is a space in which people can build a variety of 3-D environments and avatars, and then share their spaces with one another via Flickr and Facebook.

While I explored SceneCaster's website, I have not played with it yet, but I think that there are definitely educational/instructional possibilities here!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Google Earth

San Diego, California Fires - See Smoke in Google Earth

While learning about the fires that are affecting my friends and fellow classmates in California, I found some very useful information provided by Google Maps*. The NOAA has provided many satellite images (events, web site). CNN has also been using Google Earth to show maps of the fires. NASA has also released new satellite images of the smoke.

And here is a great resource from the MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program and the US Forest Service - they have some great maps for currently active fires in various map formats - the one for Google Earth is particularly useful.

Also, there is a fire map being managed by radio station KPBS in San Diego with up-to-date information about the situation there. The fire map is available in Google My Maps (see below), and you can use the KML option to view the map in Google Earth . via Google Lat Long. Here is the map:


View Larger Map




*This article has been adapted from an original post at the Google Earth Blog.

Monday, October 22, 2007

CSI:NY in Second Life

CSI:NY is integrating into the world of Second Life on Wednesday, October 24!

According to an article by TechCrunch author, Duncan Riley, the upcoming episode of this already popular show should persuade millions of new people to check out Second Life. CBS has set up several inworld activities allowing users to play forensic games, win virtual prizes, and solve the murder in the episode itself (with the conclusion not airing until next year). A link on the CBS website will point viewers to their options.

A preview of the video is here.

I am excited for this type of technology integration. Imagine how thrilled all those forensic junkies (I prefer CSI:Las Vegas myself) will be to actually interact with the show to "solve" the crime. The potential for a wonderful learning experience is amazing.

Maybe I'll see you there!

~"Ann Losangeles"

MUVE interoperability?

October 11, 2007 |

Second Life + Google + IBM = Open Source Avatars?

By David Cassel



Second Life + Google + IBM = Open Source Avatars?It's like a science fiction story. Your avatar escapes Second Life, and prowls the internet, exploring new worlds and splurging its Second Life Linden currency on other online products.

It hits the other virtual worlds — World of Warcraft? Quake? Maybe it'll even stomp through Google Earth.

It won't happen today, but the first step was just taken: a call for interoperability.

Today Second Life and IBM announced they're developing an open standard for avatars that would let them roam from world to world. And according to the New York Times, it won't be just these two companies. After the announcement, the two companies held discussions with the biggest names in the industry at a virtual worlds conference in San Jose — including Google, Cisco, Sony, Intel, Microsoft, and Motorola.

They report that IBM's VP of virtual world technology, Colin Parris, laid out the case for interoperability. "Now, for every world I touch I have to build an avatar," he told conference attendees. "It's an obstacle to the development and spread of virtual worlds, both in the consumer and corporate space."

But not everyone's optimistic. "Such a virtual passport system may be years away," Reuters warned, "if it doesn't first fall prey to the kind of conflicting interests that occasionally bog down efforts to draw up standards in the fast-changing technology industry." IBM's Parris hopes to focus on the most promising niches for online avatars first, according to the article. "The nuts and bolts of how to make different software work together will come later."

Ultimately the years to come will see businesses and web developers grappling with two important about the future of the internet.

With limited hours in a day, can virtual worlds be made to be just as compelling as alternatives in the real world?

And perhaps more importantly — will people feel comfortable shopping there?

SOURCE

Second Life Humor

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Online worlds to be AI incubators

Online worlds to be AI incubators
By Mark Ward
Technology Correspondent, BBC News website

Screenshot of Second Life, Linden Labs
Artificial environments could be great places for AI's to learn
Online worlds such as Second Life will soon become training grounds for artificial intelligences.

Researchers at US firm Novamente have created software that learns by controlling avatars in virtual worlds.

Initially the AIs will be embodied in pets that will get smarter by interacting with the avatars controlled by their human owners.

Novamente said it eventually aimed to create more sophisticated avatars such as talking parrots and even babies.




LINK

Online worlds to be AI incubators
By Mark Ward
Technology Correspondent, BBC News website

Screenshot of Second Life, Linden Labs
Artificial environments could be great places for AI's to learn
Online worlds such as Second Life will soon become training grounds for artificial intelligences.

Researchers at US firm Novamente have created software that learns by controlling avatars in virtual worlds.

Initially the AIs will be embodied in pets that will get smarter by interacting with the avatars controlled by their human owners.

Novamente said it eventually aimed to create more sophisticated avatars such as talking parrots and even babies.




LINK

Online worlds to be AI incubators
By Mark Ward
Technology Correspondent, BBC News website

Screenshot of Second Life, Linden Labs
Artificial environments could be great places for AI's to learn
Online worlds such as Second Life will soon become training grounds for artificial intelligences.

Researchers at US firm Novamente have created software that learns by controlling avatars in virtual worlds.

Initially the AIs will be embodied in pets that will get smarter by interacting with the avatars controlled by their human owners.

Novamente said it eventually aimed to create more sophisticated avatars such as talking parrots and even babies.




LINK

Friday, October 19, 2007

Gaming as a Learning Tool


Just wanted to post some interesting sites I found that show a growing trend of gaming as a learning tool.


Games and examples
http://ww.acmi.net.au/games_lab.aspx

http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/games/

http://www.gamequarium.com/

Companies
http://www.kinection.com/index.html

http://www.muzzylane.com

Articles/Blogs
http://blogoehlert.typepad.com/eclippings/gaming_learning/index.html

http://popcosmo.org

http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showstoryts.cfm?Articleid=6799

Thursday, October 18, 2007

An Educational Exploration


Arctic Transect 2004, an Educational Exploration of Nunavut (AT2004), is an adventure-learning program that connected 3,000,000 students around the world.
College of Education and Human Development in University of Minnesota and Nomads Adventure and Education supported the learning program. A team of six educators and explorers traveled by dogsled from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada across the Nunavut, the newest territory in the Canadian Arctic, to their final destination at the north end of the Baffin Island, stopping at seven Inuit communities along the way. In the latest issue of Journal of Online Education, an article describes the learning project. You could learn how it provides students with opportunities to explore real-world issues through authentic learning experiences and what educational perspectives the project adopted from the article. AT2004 is not an MUVE game but it provides close-to-real life experience to students.


Susan
Note: The images were retrieved from a link to an article that was originally published in Innovate (http://www.innovateonline.info/) as: Doering, A.. 2007. Adventure Learning: : Situating Learning in an Authentic Context. Innovate 3 (6). http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=342 (accessed October 18, 2007). The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher, The Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Train For Success

Over the summer I had a great experience with Cathy Arreguin in her EDTEC 700 course on Multi-User Virtual Environments. During that class we had to find and attend an instructional class or session presented in Second Life. The learning event I attended was led by Anders Gronstedt, the owner of the Gronstedt Group which specializes in innovative and next generation training programs in marketing, branding, sales, and corporate communications. The Gronstedt Group continues to hold a weekly learning event at its "Train For Success" location in Second Life.


Tomorrow (Thursday, 9.00 AM SLT) at the "Train for Success," Jeff Corbin will be presenting to talk about the University of Denver's ambitious project to develop nuclear engineering training in SL. Jeff created SciLands, the archipelago of science islands in Second Life, and his team just received a $200,000 federal grant to teach nuclear engineering in Second Life.

Again, it is at the "Train for Success" tomorrow Thursday, 9.00 AM SLT.
Here's a link to the SL location: Gronstedt Group

If you are not able to attend tomorrow, try to attend another event at the "Train for Success."


SciLands Blog
Gronstedt Group

Friday, October 05, 2007

Where did the knowledge go?

Janet and I are Instructional Designers at TIAA-CREF. Each year we are engaged in training hundreds of financial consultants and advisors. Many companies are facing the same challenges as TIAA-CREF: training the gamer generation. This article is an eye opener. It came out around the same time as “Teaching Facts With Fun, Online Games”.

“The U.S. Government may face a true workforce crisis, as many of its employees will soon be retiring. The U.S. General Accounting Office reports that between 1999 and 2006, the following percentage of employees would be eligible for retirement:

  • 50 percent of the Agency for International Development
  • 45 percent of the Department of State
  • 41 percent of the Department of Transportation and National Science Foundation
  • 40 percent of the Social Security Administration”.

Taken from: The Maturing Workforce – Managing the Crisis Before It Hits By Eric Lesser http://www.learningcircuits.org/2006/January/

Here is an IBM report on the maturing work force.http://www-03.ibm.com/industries/government/doc/content/bin/Maturing_Workforce_IBM1291_07_FINAL.pdf

Where did the knowledge go?


Janet and I are Instructional Designers at TIAA-CREF. Each year we are engaged in training hundreds of financial consultants and advisors. Many companies are facing the same challenges as TIAA-CREF: training the gamer generation. This article is an eye opener. It came out around the same time as “Teaching Facts With Fun, Online Games”.


“The U.S. Government may face a true workforce crisis, as many of its employees will soon be retiring. The U.S. General Accounting Office reports that between 1999 and 2006, the following percentage of employees would be eligible for retirement:



  • 50 percent of the Agency for International Development

  • 45 percent of the Department of State

  • 41 percent of the Department of Transportation and National Science Foundation

  • 40 percent of the Social Security Administration”.

Taken from: The Maturing Workforce – Managing the Crisis Before It Hits By Eric Lesser http://www.learningcircuits.org/2006/January/


Here is an IBM report on the maturing work force.http://www-03.ibm.com/industries/government/doc/content/bin/Maturing_Workforce_IBM1291_07_FINAL.pdf

Defining and Understanding Virtual Worlds


Early 2006, Karl M. Kapp wrote an article titled "Teaching Facts With Fun." He talked about using simple online games to help new employees in corporate American and the government learn the fundamental facts about the company, the products, and services. Read more here http://www.learningcircuits.org/2006/February/kapp.htm


Recently, Karl wrote "Defining and Understanding Virtual Worlds" where he talks about using Second Life for learning. See the full article here http://www.learningcircuits.org/2007/0507kapp.html

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Visit to Second Life


Well, I decided to check out some music, but apparently 3:00 in the afternoon isn't the time to do that. I'll have to check it out later in the evening...

I also tried to go to a bunch of the sites listed in the beginner's guide, but I couldn't get into the Second Louvre...not sure it exists anymore, or maybe I just haven't been able to figure out how to travel properly.
Angie

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Addicting games as Learning games?!

One of my eighth grade students showed me this website. I checked it out and found some very fascinating learning opportunities. There are some violent games there and some games that seemed to be of an adult theme. Most of the games however, seemed safe enough. I played this game called 'Revenge of the Stick'. I see several learning applications there. First of all, it's fun to play as it is a rpg format. The player has to track resources, money and rewards to efficiently achieve a high score. Another cool aspect of the game is that you can post your high score and compete against other players. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. You can find it at http://www.ugoplayer.com/games/revengeofthestick.html and other games at http://www.addictinggames.com/ Tried to get some screen shots but couldn't figure it out, sorry.

Have fun!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Physical Therapy Game


Hi folks,


Wired Magazine's website has a great article about "therapy tiles" which provide patients with a game-like method for conducting their physical therapy. The article describes common physical therapy activites as "tedious" and "monotonous," but describes these therapy tiles as a method for engaging patients which actually achieves flow, thus speeding the patient's recovery with, apparently, less effort on the part of the patient.


The tiles provide feedback on accuracy, the pressure of the patient's interaction with a tile and the speed with which they pressed or stepped on a tile. The game aspect of this appears to provide greater motivation and gets the patient to achieve a state of flow, making the therapy more enjoyable and, surprisingly, more effective.