During my recent conference in San Francisco (shown above), Gordon Snyder, Jr. the Executive Director and Principal Investigator of the National Center for Telecommunication Technologies (NCTT) gave a great presentation on MMORPGS and how they can be used in community colleges and training programs.
He mentioned a number of uses of Second Life and how it can be used to help teach math and science concepts. During the subseqent discussion, someone mentioned that she did not like avatars or see the point of learning in an environment of avatars.
In some ways, I agree.(yes, frequent readers might be shocked but read on).
Having a bunch of people virtually sitting in a classroom is not the best use of Second Life or any other metaverse. The real power of the metaverse concept is when we use the platform to do things we could not otherwise do in a classroom.
Here are some examples of the power of a metaverse.:
- Shrink down and walk through the human body
- Fly above a cityscape to see patterns or green space
- Become another gender or race
- Manipulate financial markets and observe the outcome.
These are innovative uses for a metaverse. As educators, we can't simply reproduce the classroom virtually (like many e-learning courses attempted to do), we need to construct educational environments that reach beyond our current classrooms into the student's or trainee's imaginations. We need to reach beyond our current paradigms into new educational frontiers.
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