Education Faire and School of the Air

At The Metaverse Journal we’ve repeatedly discussed specific education projects in virtual worlds and also argued that Australian educators are key drivers in the adoption of virtual worlds in a widespread way.

Tateru Nino at Massively asks the question: does virtual education have to get dreadful before there’s widespread adoption by those who determine budgets in the education community? She uses the well-known Aussie icon, the School of the Air to demonstrate how education funding can be used in innovative ways. It’s generated quite a bit of discussion and links to our prediction that there’s unlikely to be a mainstream adoption by the tertiary sector this year.

monash_jan2008
Monash University’s Virtual Learning Research Project

Whilst the budget and policy-makers drag their feet, Linden Lab are holding their Inaugural Education Support Faire. Aimed at educators and those who provide learning support, it’s being held on the 25th-30th January this year. Linden Lab are inviting educators to present / demonstrate at the event as well.

Over to you: if you’re an educator, how do you see the barriers being broken down at the higher levels so that the self-evident opportunities of virtual worlds become clear to those not at the coalface?

Comments

  1. Nice post and I agree, with the American economy, I have seen eLearning budgets shrink in the US. There is a perception that SL needs to have a higher ROI than other technologies. Perhaps this is due to the intense media coverage last year and the perception that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread (which I agree with!). I argue that it should be treated similarly to the way the internet is treated. As a necessary expense, regardless of ROI.

    How many corporate websites generate money? Many don't significantly add to the brand or promote sales (I am not saying that they reduce sales). But companies will spend large sums to maintain websites and do not place them under as much scrutiny as a 3D web application.

    While there are phenomenal educational examples in Second Life (I do think SLOODLE rocks), for many corporate eLearning offerings, the challenges posed by Second Life are insurmountable. Such as firewall issues. Our clients are not permitted to open the ports needed to run Second Life. BUT . . .

    I use Second Life for education, not by bringing the user into it, but by bringing Second Life to the user. It certainly is not the same experience, however it is also an incredibly inexpensive tool for creating video.

    Not only is it cheap, but it is also easy to use (cheap and easy sounds terrible to say). I have done Blender 3D and the results are fantastic, but it also is a much more complex program to use and the render times can be in the magnitude of weeks.

    And, in my opinion, the results are comparable to CodeBaby which we could not afford during good times, let alone now (we are in international company serving eLearning to 70,000 users in 110 countries). I do think CodeBaby is a wonderful tool and has advantages over Second Life for localisation for example.

    Just my two cents and maybe some people will adopt it as an easy, inexpensive to use platform. I have spoken on this at the eLearning Guild's DevLearn08 conference and will be speaking on it during an online forum at the end of January for the Guild as well.

    Second Life is a great tool and if your learners, or your company are not ready to dive in, then maybe you can bring it to them. The results are well received and measurable. šŸ™‚

  2. Nice post and I agree, with the American economy, I have seen eLearning budgets shrink in the US. There is a perception that SL needs to have a higher ROI than other technologies. Perhaps this is due to the intense media coverage last year and the perception that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread (which I agree with!). I argue that it should be treated similarly to the way the internet is treated. As a necessary expense, regardless of ROI.

    How many corporate websites generate money? Many don't significantly add to the brand or promote sales (I am not saying that they reduce sales). But companies will spend large sums to maintain websites and do not place them under as much scrutiny as a 3D web application.

    While there are phenomenal educational examples in Second Life (I do think SLOODLE rocks), for many corporate eLearning offerings, the challenges posed by Second Life are insurmountable. Such as firewall issues. Our clients are not permitted to open the ports needed to run Second Life. BUT . . .

    I use Second Life for education, not by bringing the user into it, but by bringing Second Life to the user. It certainly is not the same experience, however it is also an incredibly inexpensive tool for creating video.

    Not only is it cheap, but it is also easy to use (cheap and easy sounds terrible to say). I have done Blender 3D and the results are fantastic, but it also is a much more complex program to use and the render times can be in the magnitude of weeks.

    And, in my opinion, the results are comparable to CodeBaby which we could not afford during good times, let alone now (we are in international company serving eLearning to 70,000 users in 110 countries). I do think CodeBaby is a wonderful tool and has advantages over Second Life for localisation for example.

    Just my two cents and maybe some people will adopt it as an easy, inexpensive to use platform. I have spoken on this at the eLearning Guild's DevLearn08 conference and will be speaking on it during an online forum at the end of January for the Guild as well.

    Second Life is a great tool and if your learners, or your company are not ready to dive in, then maybe you can bring it to them. The results are well received and measurable. šŸ™‚

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