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Settlers of the Shift

New World Order 2.0

I like conceptual maps –tools for illustrating the relationships among ideas– and, Tero Heiskanen created an interesting one. It’s huge. Without any further commentary:

Settlers of the shift is an open map of experts, organizations and ideas that are scattered around the globe. It’s for people whose work is shifting us towards a better tomorrow – a New World Order 2.0. This map aims to encourage people to connect across sectors and enable you to tie partnerships with like-minded individuals.

And:

Six values are suggested as a common backbone for the partnerships:

  • Justice: fair and honest treatment of everyone involved
  • Co-creation: synergistic dialogue and collaboration
  • Meaningfulness: solutions to problems worth solving
  • Generosity: giving time and resources for the sake of giving
  • Dignity: acting in a respectful and ethical manner
  • Abundance: denying artificial scarcity and limitations

(Thanks to Pekka Ihanainen for sharing this find!)

"Tomorrow is yesterday"

“Tomorrow is yesterday,” Skyped an attendee at today’s Networks & Neighborhoods in Cyberspace conference at the University of Minnesota today. “Even worse – yesterday is tomorrow.” The irony is that this conference is supposed to be related to a Minnesota Futures grant project.

networking-in-cyberspace.jpg

This conference is highlighting a key problem at the University of Minnesota that I am sure is endemic elsewhere: higher education is full of technology followers, but few leaders. In this conference on the virtues of innovative technologies in education, one panelist admitted to not using Web 2.0 in his work. Others complained of the obstructions and limitations presented by WebCT and Moodle. A few others admitted they have no idea what Facebook is, but feel obliged to promote it because their students use it.

At a Research I university, you think we would discuss the new technologies that we will create rather than try to describe the technologies that already exist that we don’t know how to use … or would prefer to not use. Instead of forming a Facebook or Moodle support group, can we start to talk about what we will create next?

Minnesota: 1998 called.  They want their educational technologies back.

New AERA SIG: Applied Research for Virtual Environments for Learning

Brock Dubbels is looking for more people that belong to (or that can soon join) the American Educational Research Association (AERA) – for a Special Interest Group (SIG) especially for 3D Virtual Worlds, such as Second Life.

http://www.simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=ARVEL

The Applied Research for Virtual Environments for Learning (ARVEL) special interest group at AERA, “is a community of educators, scholars, and practitioners dedicated toward research in and on virtual environments. Using a variety of research methods, we support a diverse approach to understanding the optimal use of virtual worlds and environments for educational purposes. We’re interested in developing a comprehensive research agenda, intended to encompass the breadth and scope of learning potentialities, affordances, challenges, and shortcomings of immersive virtual learning environments.”

eLearning Games and Simulations workshop

For those of us in Minneapolis/St. Paul, this looks good:

May 24: 8:30 – 4:00

Normandale Community College

Learn what your students already know
Games and simulations are powerful tools – changing the way we learn

Hands-on Instruction Enables You to Play the Games Yourself
Seated at your own computer, with an instructor as your guide, you’ll be taken into virtual worlds and 3-D environments where you become

The newly elected President of Chimerica, responsible for stabilizing the country’s troubled economic and social situation, changing public policy and forming a new administration.
(Hidden Agenda)
  A 21st century student traveling back in time to a town besieged with health problems. Working with others, you track clues, form and test hypotheses, and make recommendations.
(River City)
A rookie newspaper reporter for the Harperville Gazette whose job is to write an article on the health and environmental implications of a toxic spill.
(Behind the Message)
  Leader of a pharmaceutical company’s research team. You must determine the product’s features, estimate demand, and set price and production levels.
(SimSeries Business)
A $100,000 investor in the stock market,
using real Internet research and news updates to determine how to build and grow your portfolio.
(Stock Market Game)
  and more

Integrating Games/Simulations into Education
Now that you’ve played the games, the afternoon sessions address key issues that will help you take the next steps, topics include:

  • How Games Improve the Learning Process
  • Preparing the New Learner for the New Economy with Games
  • Breathing Virtual Life into the Classroom
  • Integrating a Game/Simulation with eLearning
  • Like a Rock Star: virtual character development

Virtual teachers and virtual ecophagy

Two articles surfaced recently regarding Second Life.

First, CNN reports that over 60 educational organizations are using Second Life to explore how to promote learning in the virtual world. Whereas there is a concern that mainstay online education providers do not provide a sense of community or social interaction, virtual, three-dimensional online communities may fill the need:

John Lester, community and education manager at Linden Lab, the creator of “Second Life,” echoed that view. “There is a real human being behind every avatar — the people are very real. It’s just the medium is different,” he said.

Second, New Scientist reports that a flood of self-replicating objects in the online world have created a “grey goo” that overwhelmed the servers:

The trouble began with the appearance of a virtual gold rings in several areas of the virtual world. As users touched these rings, they starting replicating wildly and, eventually, the servers on which the game is hosted began creaking under the strain of the additional activity.

Virtual doomsday, anyone?

goo.jpg

The "great Singularity debate"

ZDNet is running a blog story on the Singularity Summit at Stanford University. Particular attention in the article is focused on the debate between Ray Kurzweil and Douglas Hofstader on utopian versus dystopian futures:

Kurzweil acknowledged that Singularity could lead to an unappealing or cataclysmic future, but he believes his vision will have a soft landing. If the technologies were considered too dangerous, it would require a totalitarian society, would deprive people of the benefits of technology innovation and drive it underground. In his view, narrow relinquishment of dangerous information and investing in defenses is a morely likely, or hopeful, outcome.

Meanwhile, Hofstader:

expressed the ‘human’ concern of uploading ourselves into cyberspace, becoming software entities inside of computing hardware as our destiny. “If that’s the case how will the entire world, enviroment in which we live be modeled,” he asked. “What does it mean for humans to survive in cyberspace, and what is the core of a person. It’s not clear what a human being would be in such an environment.”

Read the full post on ZDNet.