Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Day 3--Second Life and Much More

Best laid plans, ya'll.

Began the day working toward a planned connection with "Gaming and Learning in Second Life" Google Groups manager Jeremy Koester in San Antonio. Jeremy had planned to meet us online and "inworld" at 9:00 am, but briefly after that I received a cellphone call that there were significant flooding issues in San Antonio and his Internet Service Provider, Time-Warner, was "not even answering the telephone." We dropped back into a demonstration at the LCD projector of certain facets of the MUVE (Multi-User Virtual Environment), the educational ones, or at least some of them, and then we talked a bit about Social Networks. I ventured a commentary about how "social networking" is tainted terminology--not my original thought but one voiced by blogger Vicki Davis (coolcatteacher blog) at a recent conference in Atlanta--and that we should be using the terms "student networking" and "professional networking" instead, even though it's all the same sort of thing.

Maura yesterday voiced a remarkable comment about how her two grown sons won't use the telephone to communicate with her--they text chat via cell phone regularly--and how that used to really frustrate her, until she realized that it wasn't them withdrawing from communication; it was how they chose to communicate, normal for them, their "language." Once she relaxed into that, creating templates for "I love you" and "Are you okay?" and the like, realizing that text chat isn't the only way her sons communicate, just one way, it became a very acceptable to way to hear from them, perhaps much more often than she might otherwise. I find that scenario applicable to many other 2.0 developments--it's not all they do, just one tool they use to keep in touch, be it MySpace, Facebook, or text chat.

Our "expert" today was to be Peggy Sheehy, a pioneer in the Second Life Teen Grid, and I finally got in touch with her at lunchtime. I recorded part of our chat with the FlipVideo, filming my laptop, and I'll put that up on the wiki, but in short she was in her final day of her own workshop with 20 teachers, "from brand new teachers to those of nearly retirement age" and since her school was undergoing asbestos removal her Interactive Videoconferencing unit was down. We decided to meet in Second Life, at the ISTE Island. What had been a GE (Good Enough) connection over Skype during lunchtime deteriorated into unintelligible broken audio and the pandemonium that resulted from having 30 or so avatars in Second Life became VERY frustrating for everyone, until we all drifted offline and back into our respective workshops.

All that said, it was still a great day, as my call to my participants to multi-task resulted in significant gains for everyone. See the wiki for new links, new videos, new wikis, new blogs, and new "report out" pages...


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