I’m still chewing on all that I heard, saw, and experienced at the Immersive Education Summit (#iED) this weekend at Boston College. While my earlier blog posts on the conference were written while I was there, reflecting during the events, this one is written two days after (nod to Chris Briggs at Socialens for that insight). An attempt to synthesize things… and so, here are my take-homes from the weekend:
- Intriguing to consider the fundamental difference between place-based virtual worlds (like Second Life) and toolkit virtual worlds (like Cobalt) – what implications does that distinction have for communities of practice?
- The importance of the new WebGL web standards which, according to folks at the conference, will be available in most browsers in the fall 2010. This will allow for one click (no plug-in) entry to immersive 3D spaces.
- The significance of 3D to education – on the radio, listening to James Cameron (director of the movie Avatar) describe the importance of 3D to movie making, he said, “it allows the director to fill the space around the movie viewer so that they are completely immersed in the experience.”
- The vital importance of storytelling when constructing an immersive experience for students – a traditional tool/skill in a new world
- The value in blending 2D and 3D worlds
- The value of a synchronous, distributed experience
- The importance of being nimble
- We need to move beyond plumbing, pipes, and objects and think more in terms of constructing experiences for students
- The need to develop habits of mind with regard to this new media, as opposed to being a tool-thinker. That is, learn to be a smart innovator. If we can develop good thinking habits about immersive education possibilities, we will be able to approach any new technology that comes along with a smart experimental method – and harness it.
And, for me, the grand poobah lesson of them all is recognizing the risk of totalism. With a full banquet of possible virtual worlds at this meeting, I was able to remind myself that strict adherence to one vw or another is not productive. The speakers and participants at the conference who were zealots for one platform/one choice sounded shrill and scary. While those that advocated exploration, investigation, and multiple solutions sounded sensible and compelling. It’s not going to be easy to effect change in education with virtual worlds (it’s never easy to effect change in education) but if we insist on a single solution (Cobalt or ReactionGrid or Wonderland), we will lose before we even begin.