University of Cincinnati


10
Nov 18

Weekend Report – Celebrating Accomplishments at Work

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It’s a chilly Saturday morning in November, and I’ve got three whole days off with no plans, no social commitments, and no agenda other than cleaning house this weekend.  It feels marvelous to have a stretch of free time after a very busy few months.


 

It’s been a long time since I posted about work related things on my personal blog, but we have had several big accomplishments to celebrate the past few weeks!

Creation of the University of Cincinnati Staff Senate

The first is the creation of a university-wide Staff Senate.  On October 16th, the UC Board of Trustees approved a resolution to create a Staff Senate to give staff a formal voice in the university’s governance process, and I was honored and excited to be involved in the process.  It took nearly two years to shepherd the idea from start to finish, and though I only played a minor role in the beginning, I’ve been very involved since the start of 2018 helping draft the bylaws and advocating for the Senate to university leadership.

Chris at the Board of Trustees meeting, celebrating passage of the Staff Senate resolution!

Smiling at the Board of Trustees meeting when the resolution finally passed!  Photo: Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services

When the resolution passed as few weeks ago, it felt like such an accomplishment to give the employees of the university a voice.  As someone who has worked at UC for going on 20 years, it has always seemed like an oversight that faculty and student governance groups were represented at the decision-making table, but staff were not.  I hope that the creation of a Staff Senate doesn’t add yet another bureaucratic layer to the already complex decision-making process, but instead becomes a a useful forum for staff to share their institutional knowledge and expertise with the other governance bodies on campus.

Members of the Staff Senate Advisory Committee

Posing for a picture with some of the other members of the Staff Senate Advisory Committee.  Photo: Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services

I’m sure more hard work lies ahead, but I feel proud of our team for persevering and working so well together, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter to get this thing off the ground and running well.  I hope we get lots of participation from around campus in 2019!

The University of Cincinnati Bicentennial Virtual Reality Experience

Another huge project that has been a main focus of our work at the UCSIM | Center for Simulations & Virtual Environments Research this year has been the development of the Bicentennial Virtual Reality Experience that will launch in January 2019 to celebrate the university’s 200th anniversary.

uc-magazine-2018-april_bicentennialVR_UCSIM

Article in UC Magazine highlighting the Bicentennial VR project.

The Bicentennial Virtual Reality Experience will allow visitors to go back into “signature moments” in the university’s history through five episodes, or vignettes, celebrating the history of research, the classroom experience, our Bearcat Spirit, the struggle for diversity and inclusion, and the changing architecture of the university.

It’s been a tremendous opportunity for our team to work with so many historians, experts, and university departments throughout the development process.  We are super excited to wrap up development and prepare for the VR exhibit launch in the coming months!  Stay tuned and check out all the upcoming Bicentennial events planned for 2019.

A New Grant Award with the College of Nursing

Lastly, just as the week was ending on Friday, we received notice that a grant proposal submitted by the UC College of Nursing to create VR simulations with UCSIM was funded!  I can’t even find any announcements or news on the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center website yet, but the Medicaid Technical Assistance and Policy Program Providers as Allies in Equity and Care RFA called for applications to create virtual reality experiences and patient simulations for Medicaid providers.

Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center logo

The goal of the grant is to advance, “..health equity for the Medicaid population by increasing Medicaid provider cultural competency and awareness of implicit bias. This will be accomplished through training composed of virtual reality and simulated patient experiences that will include direct interpersonal feedback related to the interaction of patients and families in a variety of challenging circumstances.”

This will be a major project through the rest of the academic year, and I’m excited to work with our partners in the College of Nursing and College of Medicine in the coming months.  What a terrific way to end the week before we headed off for a 3-day weekend!

With all of these exciting developments at work, it’s been a hectic fall semester for me and the whole UCSIM team.  I hope everyone is enjoying our long weekend off and staying warm as the leaves fall around us.  The next few weeks will be a sprint to finish things before the holiday season, but we’ve had many great accomplishments to celebrate in 2018!


26
Apr 11

TeachU Presentation: OpenSim – A New Alternative to Second Life

I gave a TeachU Seminar this afternoon that managed to go on even though I never did get my headset working for some reason (I blame a flash update that I unfortunately installed yesterday AFTER we did the test run).

Here are the slides from the presentation:

Thanks to all the attendees for coming and for putting up with the technical glitches!


16
Jul 10

Interview posted – Discussing Social Media on WVXU’s Impact Cincinnati!

Chris Collins & Chris Brewer in the WVXU Studios

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Brewer from Northern Kentucky University on WVXU’s Impact Cincinnati show with host Maryann Zeleznik.  Our topic was how new communication tools are impacting our lives and we discussed all the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. in addition to the changes iPhones and Android smart phones have brought to the scene since our last show back in July 2009.

From the Impact Cincinnati website:

Topic: How new communications tools are affecting our lives

Millions of people each day now access Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other social networking sites, using home computers as well as a rapidly growing array of sophisticated mobile devices that allow anywhere, anytime internet connections.

Guests include:
University of Cincinnati Instructional & Research Computing department IT Analyst Chris Collins
Chris Brewer, a social media consultant for clients such as Apple and the New Media Consortium, Director of Online Technology for NKU’s College of Informatics, and the developer of GrooveRiver.com, a niche social network for Cincinnati musicians.

Listen to the Program

It’s always fun to get a behind the scenes look at our local NPR station studio and I hope we encourage Cincinnati listeners to try out some of the social media offerings that can help expand your personal and professional networks.   Check out the recording here and many thanks to Chris and Maryann for a great conversation about social media!


27
Mar 10

Governance in Virtual Worlds

On Friday, March 26th, I participated in the Governance in Virtual Worlds 2010 conference sponsored by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and World2Worlds.  The conference description:

Virtual worlds and online games are used by millions of people around the world for recreation, corporate and academic conferencing, formal education, research, training and charitable work. These worlds have given rise to public-policy issues, both ancient and cutting edge. Governance in Virtual Worlds will provide an exploration of these issues by professors, journalists, corporate managers and community activists. Learn what it means to be an active citizen, a creative producer, and a savvy customer, and meet the people shaping policy for the worlds of the future.

Now, I’ve attended a LOT of conferences, conversations, symposia, discussions, and other such things revolving around virtual worlds, but I must commend John Carter McKnight, Adjunct Professor of Law at  Arizona State University for putting together a truly excellent group of panels.  (And I’m not just saying that because I was on two of them!)   Though the conference was plagued with technical issues at the beginning, which happens sometimes, the panels sparked good conversations (and sometimes heated debate)  and it was the first time in a while I heard some new ideas that made me stop in my tracks and think, “Oh, yeah.  Why aren’t we talking about that?”

John Lester (formerly Pathfinder Linden) Gives Keynote Opening Address

For long time SL peeps, one of the highlights of the conference was John Lester‘s keynote opening address.  Formerly known as Pathfinder Linden, who did much to promote the education and health care communities in world, John appeared as his original avatar from the SL beta (the first one!) days, Count Zeeman.  John’s keynote was unfortunately one of the ones marred by the technical challenges, but he talked about the biological responses that humans have to our virtual experiences.  He gave an example of a teacher who brings her students in world and right off the bat has them jump off a mountain.  The students feel fear, vertigo, and all these physical reactions, they don’t know if they’re (their avatar) is going to die, they don’t know what to expect.  The physical reactions we experience in virtual spaces are due to our brains having evolved to think in, navigate in, and respond to 3D data, we have entirely natural responses to 3D cues, it activates our lymbic system just as if we were standing on a physical mountain.  Ok maybe to a lesser degree, still.  🙂

Of course, we’re missing key components of physicality in virtual worlds, particularly the non-verbal cues of body language, posture, etc.  John reminded us Snow Crash fans that in Stephenson’s novel, the thing that made the metaverse take off was when it incorporated the natural body language of those who were jacked in, so we’re not yet at a point where I yawn in real life and my avatar yawns as well, but that’s where we’re headed.

I’m not sure if this was just my take or John’s, but there was some conversation that augmented reality is likely to top into the mainstream before virtual worlds, since handheld devices are already ubiquitous and the super-smart-phone genre like Droids and iPhones are becoming more commonplace and affordable.  John mentioned the augmented reality windshield GM prototyped that I tweeted about the other day (woe the day our windshields get hacked!) and we talked about a future where our HUDs were not just on the screen but in our contact lenses.  Good stuff!

In terms of governance of virtual spaces, the issue is that our current system of laws and courts are processes that move so exquisitely slowly, and yet the pace of technological change is accelerating at an ever faster pace.  How are we to govern spaces that our current systems are not even remotely equipped to understand, let alone arbitrate?  And that, of course, was the key question of the conference.  It was great to see John and despite the audio glitches, it was great to see him in world again.

Keynote Panel:  The Politics of Virtual Engagement

Next up was the keynote panel, which also had a rocky start on the technical end (again, not the fault of the conference organizers!) and I didn’t get to show my slides so I’ll embed them here:

I’d hoped to talk about how we can look at the small scale governance issues already cropping up at the institutional level, like in higher education, and then extrapolate how those issues will affect the larger ecosystem of institutions participating in virtual world spaces, but the tech issues got our timing and things off to a rocky start, so I’m not sure how much came through.   In any case, the “Politics of Virtual Engagement” at my university are just one example of many, but I think there are lessons to be learned.  For example, virtual world evangelists and people like me trying to introduce the concept of virtual worlds to academia have to have a deep knowledge of our institutional culture.  The needs of our student population are different than the needs of faculty, which are again different from the needs of administrators and staff.   The trick is trying to weave those needs together into virtual spaces and experiences that tap into what can only be done in virtual worlds or that virtual worlds do better than other platforms. People have to see how this technology meets their needs before it can scale up.  This is as much true for every other domain – business, non-profits, online communities – as it is for higher education.

And the questions and issues raised by the students, faculty, and staff at the University of Cincinnati are likely to be echoed across the spectrum of institutions who move into virtual worlds.    This technology forces us to renegotiate long standing and entrenched boundaries that DO exist in the physical world, but are highly permeable in the virtual world.   What can we learn from early adopters who are already negotiating these shifting boundaries to make it easier for the early majority?

I also think virtual worlds expose the limits of our creativity and imagination in ways that are.. somehow less obvious in the physical world.  Give a teacher the freedom to work in any kind of learning environment they can imagine rather than a traditional classroom, and you’re bound to get some blank stares.   And who can blame them!  They aren’t accustomed to having that kind of freedom and flexibility, and conceptualizing the actual SPACE in which learning takes place is not in their knowledge domain because in the physical world, someone else designs the classrooms.  And it isn’t just teachers, students, staff – it’s also me!  The plasticity of virtual worlds gives us tremendous freedom to create settings and experiences that can’t be replicated in the real world, but our imaginations are not yet caught up to the possibilities this technology makes possible.

I feel that way even after participating in virtual environments for over 15 years at this point.  Every day something new shakes my world and hints at possibilities I hadn’t even considered.  It’s fascinating stuff.   And I think in the long term, all the other issues – who owns your data, privacy issues, conflicts over copyright and IP – these issues don’t have simple black and white answers, the inter-relationships forming between individuals and individuals, and individuals with institutions, and institutions with institutions, and scaling all the way up to encompass the global digital community and ecosystem, these things are so complex, and emerging and evolving so quickly, I just can’t imagine that our existing institutions will survive in anything resembling their current forms.   I guess we’ll see!

Real Laws in Virtual Space

There were two speakers in the next panel who made a lasting impression on my overwhelmed brain.  Joshua Fairfield, Associate Prof of Law at Washington and Lee School of Law, and Gregory Lastowka, Professor at Rutgers School of Law.   This post is already getting long, so I’ll sum up quickly.  Joshua’s main point was that we are spending an awful lot of brain cycles worrying about how RL law is going to impact virtual worlds, and not enough time thinking about how the rules of virtual worlds would be horrific if implemented in RL. Good point!  From my quickly jotted notes as he was speaking:

Imagine IP licenses embedded in our toaster, our clothing, our cars, as we do have constraints on our use of virtual property. What then?   On privacy, we all know from the Bragg case sued Linden Lab, LL has ALL communications from people in world, all IMs, they were able to pull up IMs from years before.. All of those convos can be sometimes must be made available without a search warrant, no probably cause required. The essential irony – we go to escape and are under constant surveillance. Cell phoen tracks you through GPS whereever you go.  So the question is, are we losing our personhood?  Personhood, once property and privacy are in trouble, personhood will follow. We are a social network in our selves, the social networks we use are coming to OWN that tangle of connections that we are. We will hand over our personhood when all aspects of our behavior, posessions, creations, and communications are owned by .. someone else.

Gregory Lastowska’s talk was also good, again my raw notes:

Virtual Worlds as a separate jurisdiction.. virtual law as separate rules of physical jurisdiction. Play spaces are governed by a separate set of rules, we can look at different human societies, say the rules pertaining to education, religion, or family, they are sort of “special spheres” of human interaction, so there may be some precedent for game worlds, but that isn’t the trend we’re seeing, the courts are treating them just like web sites, so not seen as separate sites of jurisdiction which may not always be the right way. David Post, Jefferson’s Moose, hypothesize different laws for cyberspace. If we were to look at the internet and copyright law, we never would have developed our copyright law as we did because much of it doesn’t WORK as applied to the internet, the net is constant copying, every microsecond there are violations, and when it comes to financial importance, lawsuits, Napster etc. you see the general trend is to limit the growth of the technology in order to serve the copyright law, and that seems ,.. not good.

SO – if this were a separate space, what kind of law would we have?

Second the point on augmented reality, separate from VW issues? We will see some issues from VW will also be issues with augmented reality, primarily the difference between the customer/client and the owner/server operators, as we move towards cloud computing, balance between tech and law, Lessig’s Code..

Got interrupted, work phone call.  Then a meeting and I missed some of the next panels.  Bummer.  🙁

Virtual Self Governance

The last panel was about how communities existing in virtual worlds govern themselves, and I was really excited to talk about my own virtual community, Chilbo, in this setting.   Here are my slides from that presentation:


Now strangely, it seemed that one of the other panelists was upset that I had slides, that I talked specifically about how the Chilbo Community formed and was governed, and especially that my last slide invited people to visit and explore our town.  Frankly, I thought that’s what everyone on the panel was going to do, per the instructions I received from the conference organizers, so I’m not sure exactly where the miscommunication occurred.   If I wasn’t supposed to talk specifically about Chilbo, then I’m not sure what the point of the panel was!  Further, the other panelist also seemed to disbelieve my statements about our experience.  I didn’t expect any of the content I presented to be .. inflammatory or controversial, rather I thought the point of the discussion was to talk about some of the specifics of how different in world communities form, govern themselves, and use the tools and platforms to self-organize.

Perhaps I misread the tone of the other panelist, but I felt distinctly defensive after a bit.  As hard as it may be to believe, yes, we do actually mostly govern by consensus and no, acrimony, arguments, and strife are not very common – in fact, it’s quite rare.  That isn’t to say there are never any disagreements, just that differences of opinion or conflicting interests seem to be resolved with little fanfare and few fireworks.  I confess, I know very little about the inner-workings of CDS.  I’ve very pointedly made an effort to let the structure and processes of governing Chilbo evolve out of our specific culture, community, and needs, rather than trying to emulate or model it after something else – because in some sense, though human communities are obviously not new, the thing that IS new is the who’s, why’s, and how’s of how we have all come to be together in this particular virtual world, in this particular region, at this particular time.   Though as Rose Springvale said, we don’t want to reinvent the wheel (a good point!), I think we also have to give ourselves the freedom to imagine new ways of self-governing to break out of systems of governance that were developed in a pre-digital age.

In any case, I’m not suggesting that the Chilbo model is perfect for everyone and maybe wouldn’t work for any community but our own, and it isn’t even as if I understand exactly how or why it seems to be as successful as it is at constraining the discord that often appears in online communities, but for whatever reason, it seems to be working for us on a lot of levels, and so my goal was to share about our experience.  That really shouldn’t have offended anyone’s sensibilities, I don’t think.

Overall, I felt it was a great conference and I was sorry to have missed a couple of the panels, but I hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did and many thanks to all the folks who organized, attended, and participated.


19
Oct 08

Conferences and Projects and Articles – Oh My!

Since the start of school in September, it’s been a whirlwind of activity! Like Dorothy, I’m trying hard to stay on the yellow brick road, but the poor blog suffers when I get too busy. Here’s a quick update though on a number of exciting things..

University of Cincinnati Galapagos Islands Project

Progress continues on the Galapagos Islands project, and I have to give all due credit to my student assistant Ferggo Pickles for his truly excellent work in creating the sculpted animal models! News of our project is spreading and we’ve gotten very kind mentions in EDUCAUSE Review, the Chronicle, and even Virtual World News! Another blogger discussed our work too, but I wasn’t sure if it was positive or negative considering we don’t have any plans for visitors to pull the tails of lizards. =)

Chilbo Community

Incredibly, the Chilbo Community marks its two-year anniversary this month! We held a Chilbo Town Hall Meeting this afternoon, and I managed to complete the 2008 CCBP Annual Land Census and am preparing to distribute the 2008 Resident Census in the next few weeks. A note to any Chilbo residents reading this – you’ll have to complete the survey to keep your house or store in Chilbo, so be sure to read that email when it comes! Aside from all of the professional opportunities I’ve had because of Second Life, I must say Chilbo – the place and the people – is my favorite spot in the Metaverse. Whatever serendipity led me to meet such great people, I’ll never know, but I continue to be grateful that I did.

Connectivism Course

The Connectivism & Connective Knowledge course continues into Week 7, and I have fallen woefully behind on the readings, and even missed the last couple of meetings in Second Life! Still, the Connectivism Village continues to receive a high amount of foot traffic and I keep getting emails that people really enjoy the resources we’ve provided there, so I’m hopeful that the sometimes asynchronous nature of our connections in online networks doesn’t dilute the usefulness of the space. I hope things will be a little calmer this week and that I’ll get to attend the next Second Life cohort sessions!

EDUCAUSE 2008

I have the privilege of working with AJ Kelton (SL: AJ Brooks) from Montclair State University and Joe Essid (SL: Ignatius Onomatopoeia) from Richmond University again this year to stream in the EDUCAUSE 2008 Virtual World Constituent Group Annual Meeting into Second Life in a few weeks. How often do you get to work in an evening gown! Looking forward to the conference itself, and the Second Life interaction. Are you coming to EDUCAUSE this year? Leave a comment and let’s meet up!

What: EDUCAUSE 2008 Virtual World Constituent Group
When: Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
Time: 4:55pm to 6:10pm EST (1:55pm to 3:10pm SLT)
Where: Orlando, FL and in Second Life
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Montclair%20State%20CHSSSouth/129/158/22

Learning, Libraries, & Technology 2009

Another symptom of the “too busy!” syndrome – I almost missed the opportunity to put in a proposal for the Learning, Libraries, and Technology 2009 conference! Formerly called the Ohio Digital Commons for Education, the new name didn’t ring a bell when I saw the Call for Proposals in my in-box – doh! Thankfully, my good friend Brenda Boyd (SL: Stargazer Blazer) at Miami U gave me a poke with a sharp stick about submitting something – thanks Brenda! This is without a doubt one of the best educational technology conferences I attend all year. Ohio educators especially should go to meet and network with great colleagues, learn about what’s happening in the state, and to get new ideas to bring back to your home institution. In the years that I’ve attended, I don’t think I’ve ever come away from it without learning something new and immediately useful. Will cross my fingers on the proposals!

I’m sure there’s something else I’m forgetting, but that’s it for today’s updates. Hope everyone else is having a great quarter or semester so far, and maybe doing a better job of keeping up with everything than I am!

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19
Sep 08

EDUCAUSE Review: Back to (Virtual) School

I’ve been a bit deluged this week with last minute preparations as the start of the new school year approaches, but I wanted to take a moment to post about the September/October 2008 issue of EDUCAUSE Review.

EDUCAUSE Review

If you have any interest whatsoever in virtual world technology and how it is being used for education, I highly recommend taking a look at this issue. I felt so honored to have been asked to contribute an article (Looking to the Future: Higher Education in the Metaverse), but feel even more so now that I’ve had a chance to read all of the contributions by my colleagues. They write about theoretical and practical questions we all should be asking, describe a wide variety of use-cases across many disciplines, and give us thought provoking glimpses of what the future may hold, as both teachers and students, individuals and institutions. It’s good stuff!

land iguana

I should also mention the web bonus section that includes several examples of works in progress, including a spot about the University of Cincinnati’s Galapagos Islands project in Second Life that I’m working on, as well as projects that I frequently tour with faculty in my workshops, such as the NMC Campus, Genome Island, and the University of Michigan’s Wolverine Island.

It’s really great to see the work of so many friends and colleagues highlighted – especially when I know how much effort, thought, and preparation has gone into their projects – and I hope it will inspire other educators to take the plunge into this fascinating and complex space.

Many thanks to all who lent their support and advice when I was wrestling with my contribution!

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31
Jul 08

UC Galapagos Project in Second Life

I’ve been so busy in the evenings working on the planning for the Second Life Education Community Conference 2008 that I’ve neglected to mention the really cool project we’re doing at work!

On July 1, 1859, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace presented their paper about natural selection and their theory that this accounted for the variety of species and evolution of life forms on earth. In celebration of this 150th anniversary, the University of Cincinnati is holding a campus wide celebration and exploration of its implications and impact. As part of the celebration, my team is re-creating the Galapagos Islands in Second Life and it will eventually be opened to the public.

Galapagos Islands in Second Life

We’re just in the stages of getting the DEM data into Second Life to recreate the landmasses as accurately as possible (it’s trickier than you might think!) and still somewhat navigable by avatars. (You can see our original island in the background in this image.)

UC Second Life Galapagos Project

The website for the project hasn’t been launched yet, so I’ll have more info soon, but we have several exciting things planned, including using the Second Life Galapagos Project in conjunction with several courses in a variety of disciplines, and also to incorporate images, video, and reports from the field as student groups take trips to the REAL Galapagos Islands and bring artifacts back for us to display on the virtual islands.

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I’m really looking forward to seeing how this all works out and I hope it will make biology class a lot more fun!

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8
May 08

Weblins – another transitional step to 3DWeb?

I was hanging out with @malburns and @tarayeats yesterday evening in Chilbo and we were having a wide ranging discussion of all things Second Life, Web 2.0, and virtual worlds more generally, when Malburns mentioned this cute little program at http://weblin.com. He was describing how it gives you a little avatar and you “teleport” from webpage to webpage, but I couldn’t quite grasp what he was saying until I tried it for myself.

Weblin.com homepage

This is a screenshot of the Weblin.com website, and you’ll notice along the bottom of the screen that there are a bunch of little avatars down there. Mine is in the lower right corner and hey presto, it’s actually an image of my Second Life avatar.

So in effect, you download this program and install it (doesn’t work with Macs yet), and then as you browse the web, you are represented by this little avatar and you can see the avatars of any other Weblin user if they happen to be on the same page as you. Which means, of course, that the solitary and isolated experience of browsing the web is transformed into a _social_ experience. I can pop over and see who else is checking out the CNN homepage. I can start a spontaneous conversation. I can add friends and invite them to view the web page I happen to be at. I can hang out on my OWN webpage and see who stops by for a visit and say hi.

I think this is something of a paradigm shift, and another transitional step to the fully immersive 3D Web or whatever you want to call the evolution we see happening with online social networks and virtual worlds technology.

How could this be useful for education? I’m glad you asked!

Weblins at the UC Blackboard page
University of Cincinnati Blackboard homepage, with little Weblins hanging out below.

Imagine students going to their course website to get information about an assignment, but instead of being there “by themselves” they run into a classmate who happens to be there at the same time. The visual representation of an avatar, something that indicates co-presence, opens up all sorts of opportunities for spontaneous dialogue, greater engagement with the course material, and additional network building. Imagine if the instructor popped in and was available to answer questions about the assignment on the spot, or even held “office hours” at the course website at specific times.

But wait, you’re saying, this is already possible with Instant Messenger or an embedded chatroom or any number of other tools, and of course that’s true, but the sense of _co-presence_ we keep talking about in relation to 3D immersive environments is simply not replicated in a text based chatroom environment. I can’t _SEE_ you in a chatroom. I can “see” you with a weblin. Beyond that, the chance encounter aspect, the ability to meet random other people who happen to be, for that moment, reading the same webpage that I am reading, wherever they are in the world, is something that intentional entry into a chatroom can’t replicate.

Co-presence, immersion, deeper engagement, serendipity. These are some of the keys, even if I’m not sure exactly what we’re unlocking.

Want to try it for yourself? Click this link which should take you back to my website, but this time with a little demo Weblin of your own. And maybe I’ll be around here to say hi. 🙂

(With thanks to twitter friends @iAlja and @iYan for stopping by the UC Blackboard page so I could get a good screen grab!)


2
May 08

MetaTrends, EdTech, and the Changing Role of Educators

I came across a couple of great thought provoking things yesterday, all come from Twitter friends – @gsiemens, @Larry_Pixel, and @lparisi.

First up, George Siemens shared his presentation from the Pacific Northwest Higher Education Teaching & Learning Conference in Spokane, WA. When thinking about where all of this digital connectivity is heading and what it means to teachers, it’s sometimes difficult to grasp just how much information is out there. George’s slides gave some much needed perspective.

And speaking of the Big Picture View, Larry Johnson of the New Media Consortium is seeking our help tagging relevant information about the MetaTrends in technology that they have seen running throughout the Horizon Report series, which takes a look at practices and technologies likely to impact education in the near to mid-term time frame.

Horizon MetaTrends

The data from these reports have shown some emerging metatrends, which Larry lists as:

* communication between humans and machines tags: hzmeta + humanmachine

* the collective sharing and generation of knowledge tags: hzmeta + collectiveknowledge

* games as pedagogical platforms tags: hzmeta + games

* computing in three dimensions tags: hzmeta + 3d

* connecting people via the network tags: hzmeta + connectingpeople

* the shifting of content production to users tags: hzmeta + user_content

* the evolution of a ubiquitous platform tags: hzmeta + ubiquitousplatform

Have a peek at the wiki and start adding your delicious tags to help with this effort.

Finally, Lisa Parisi sent out a tweet last night about a live podcast show called Teachers Are Talking hosted on the EdTechTalk site. I’m a big fan of listening to good podcasts while I’m working, they’ve pretty much replaced live radio these days, and these podcasts are directly related to my work.

(I’m listening to EdTechWeekly#74 as I type this, have a listen..)

Yesterday’s TAT episode had K-12 educators discussing their experiences with using blogs in the classroom, everything from how to implement a safe system to fears and worries that they have, as well as parents and administrators. Since I work in higher ed, it was good to hear the perspective of folks in the K-12 arena. The archive isn’t up yet, but check the Teachers Are Talking feed to subscribe to the podcast.

Thanks to my twitter buds for keeping me thinking…


30
Apr 08

Hey! I’m on (Draxtor) TV!

Life4u reporter Draxtor Despres just sent me an IM about his latest report on the past week’s vBusiness Expo and Federal Consortium of Virtual Worlds in Second Life. I was a speaker for the Education track at the vBusiness Expo and Draxtor interviewed me afterwards. Look ma, I’m on virtual TV!