Tag Archives: virtual trade show

Real Education in Virtual Worlds that Will Blow Your Mind

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?


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Intro, Twitterverse, and Virtual Trade Shows

In today’s Twitterverse we want content crunched into 140 characters and updated often; instant feedback preferably through a portable device.   So, it is in that spirit, I keep this post (and others) short & sweet.

As Strunk & White once said: “Rule 17 – omit needless words.”

An article from E-content, the Jan/Feb 2009 issue titled, Virtual Tradeshows: A realistic alternative to business travel? highlights the digital platform as a viable means for exhibiting products and services w/o leaving the comfort of wherever you are.

This is nothing revolutionary – Second Life hosted virtual gatherings for years (Harvard classes have been taught in the digital playground), but I am intrigued to see the potential for virtual events shifting to mainstream business in the current travel-restricted business economy.

The article does not call for an end to the Expo hall, but rallies for a truce between online trade shows wtih brick and morter “meat” experiences, suggesting that balancing the two serves everyone’s interest well.  Nigel Clear, of our own Reed Elsevier, said that meeting attendees at virtual shows is not the same thing as shaking someone’s hand, but it can allow you to reach the largest audience possible – “for every one person who can attend a show (in person), there are 10 who can’t.”

The most sensible answer in the virtual v. meat tradeshow debate echoes that of author David Thomson (Law School 2.0: Legal Education for a Digital Age) in speaking about a similar question in education.  In the paper v. pixelated textbook debate he said, “let print do what print does well and online do what online does well.”  This is good advice for anyone considering going binary: there are things we can do with a digital conference that can’t be done in person and vice versa.

What are your thoughts?


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