When I say “virtual world,” what do you think about? To me, images of Star Trek’s “Holodeck” or the X-men’s “Danger Room” come to mind; in the “real world” I might point to World of Warcraft or Second Life (“SL”). Most of us would say those are just “games” and conclude that “virtual world” = video game, but as the videos below will show, there is a whole new pedagogical (strategy of instruction) approach to using virtual words to learn in the real world. Applications run the gamut of teaching a class about history, art, or science, to training a sales team about a new product. I want to give a shout out to eLearning blog for posting about these videos in the first place – check ‘em out:
Overview of educational use and applications – shows how universities can use SL to teach history, art, psychology, drama, and social science.
Science learning - shows an exercise where students can enter a cell, explore, and then find the exacitic vesticle to exit the cell. It also shows an interactive tour through an anatomic model with a real beating heart (wonder what they could do with the brain after the brain map project is complete in 2011?).
Sales Rep Training - shows how a company can train sales reps on the intricacies of a product, in this case a drill. Best feature of all? You can tell when participants aren’t engaging in the learning activities of the demo or following the speaker b/c their avatar will “fall asleep” – what a useful thing for law school classes!
Edtech.Boisestate.edu - shows a training ground for educators who want to get started in virtual pedagogy, (I definitely want to check out learning a new language – here they show French).
There is so much potential here, especially as worlds like Second Life become easier to build in and more accepted as a medium for communication. What can publishers, educators, students, and others do to make this a meaningful tool and not just some gimmick?
True to the progressive platform he pimped to get into office (I say that with love), Obama is taking a different approach to the “fireside chat” instituted by FDR from 1933 to 1944. Gone is the one-way radio broadcast that US citizens huddled around to be told about their country’s future from its fearless leader. The Interactive Age demands something more … well, interactive.
Whitehouse.gov runs a different kind of chat. For the past few weeks citizens were invited to submit and vote on questions for the President. This process ended today at 9:30 am with the following stats:
91,498 people have submitted
3,562,315 votes have been cast
Whether Obama’s intimate-Internet approach will work or bring much needed calm to the American people remains to be seen. Today at 11:30 am he will deliver something seemingly different: a digitalogue with citizens about the issues they care most about right now. On a personal note, I’ve been to town halls in my large corporation with only a few thousand employees on the call at once – these are not the most intimate, relevant, or current dialogues – in fact they seem mostly like infodumps until someone asks a hard question that ruffles the CEO’s feathers (but even these questions just seem like complaining most of the time). If Obama wants something completely different let’s see him hold a Twitterside Chat – that would be really impressive – we’ll see if this truly is something different.