Episode 45

"Stepping into Virtual Worlds"

Duration 00:23:21      Recorded on June 04, 2008

Susan and Dan talk with John Walber and Jonathan Finkelstein of LearningTimes (LT) about virtual worlds. This is an update from a prior episode on Second Life (SL).

Show Notes:Susan and Dan talk with John Walber and Jonathan Finkelstein of LearningTimes (LT) about virtual worlds. This is an update from a prior episode on Second Life (SL). Susan mistakenly described LearningTimes' involvement in virtual worlds as 'creepin'g, when in fact, they've been establishing a presence for almost two years.Susan recently read ... "Second Chance for Second Life", which stated: 'In reality, Second Life doesn't work. As the firm itself admits, the system crashes constantly and the steep learning curve for anyone entering Second Life puts off all but the hardcore.'

LearningTimes comes from a background focused on live interaction and how that relates to learning and asks the question, 'When is it supposed to be live?' Jonathan says we are starting to see a tipping point of more meaningful live events online in webcasting, but we're not quite there in the 3D virtual worlds.

John humorously describes online SL conferences; Susan admits those sleeping avatars might be her!

Recently, Lancelot (online language learning) took a series of museum field trips in SL with John and Jonathan.

Virtual Starry Night (VanGogh) International Spaceflight Museum

If you are an organization, how much do you want to spend for land, development, sims, etc.? This has led them to look at stand alone 3D environments.

Susan describes the challenges for income-challenged part-timer, and John points out the community nature of SL. LearningTimes.org maintains Squirrel Island, a SL location members can use for free. The Green Room has its own space!

A new world to consider: Open Croquet movement, a way to do stand alone worlds that can launch off your web site (kind of like the Moodle of virtual worlds). LT is finding all sorts of ways to use tools. For example, Jonathan describes the use of Google Sketch Up as the New York Transit Museum and Center for Architecture asked students to develop a new museum entrance that is handicap accessible.

Qwaq first commercial application of open croquet.

LT is working with Qwaq to offer live demos every other week. To learn more about demos, co-sponsored with Alliance Library System (out of central Illinois), go to http://www.learningtimes.net/3d.

What are some ways LearningTimes would encourage educators to use virtual worlds? Jonathan gives the example of mock trials. Anything that involves exploring something you can't do or see from your desktop. John describes the use of immersive environments for using languages, going through customs, interacting in a town, and so on. He then tells about training for homeland security.


About Us

The LT Green Room is a podcast for Renewal, Retooling and Conversations about Learning. It is co-hosted by Susan Manning and Dan Balzer and its show topics are often drawn from members of LearningTimes.org, a free online community of education and training professionals from across the globe. The LT Green Room gives listeners (and ourselves) an opportunity to reflect on what they're doing behind the scene that results in an effective learning experience.


Co-Host & Producer
Susan Manning
Co-Host & Producer
Dan Balzer
Executive Producer
Carl Heine
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