Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Lately, I've been working with Tony O'Driscoll and the folks at the eLearning Guild on some research and thought leadership around the idea of using 3D environments to teach in a synchronous environment. You'll want to read the 360 Report when it becomes available and listen to a webcast on July 10th about the findings of the report.
Simultaneously my oldest son has become interested in Second Life and now is on the Teen Grid, he was using my character but he is fascinated with trying to earn money...so he was going door-to-door selling stuff I had gotten for free. One avatar said "Wow, you are the first door-to-door salesman I've met in SL."
It was time for him to get is own account. He is not going door-to-door any more but is still selling stuff he got for free...or trading it...in fact he is virtually looking for work. Talk about a Personal Learning Environment...all the business courses in the world couldn't give him the experience he is gaining just "playing" on the teen grid. He is negotiating, bartering, cold calling, strategizing, building and partnering to accomplish his goal...not doing that sitting in school in a single file row listening to a lecture about economics.
Anyway, as part of my work with Tony, we created a large giant drill and a scenario describing how a salesperson could navigate around the drill to learn about the functionality and various features of the drill. Explaining this concept to people, for some reason, has been difficult. "I don't get it? Why a giant drill?" or "Seems like a waste of time, just show me the parts." or "Why do I want to be an avatar?"
I showed the drill and learning spaces we developed to my 13 year old son. Immediately he says, "That's neat, I could see how that would be useful." Immediately as in...I didn't even need to explain.
Sorry, I know some people don't believe in a technology gap between boomers/Gen X/Greatest Generation and the gamer generation...but come on, he got it immediately, no prompting, I've spent hours explaining that concept to many older folks and...crickets....nothing.
While much of the generation gap might be the typical stuff...some of it is due to technology and its rapid rate of change.
According to an interesting Business Week graphic called What are People Doing? only 12% of young boomers (41 to 50) and only 7% of older boomers (51 to 61) and only 5% of 62+ people are creating content on the web.
Meanwhile, 34% of young teens (12 to 17) and 37% of youth (18 to 21) and 30% of Gen Y (22 to 26) are creating content (check out the chart). There is a trend showing a difference in how the web is used among different ages.
While not absolute with plenty of exceptions (look at the average age of Edubloggers in our space...35-50. The opposite...but that might be due to the fact that there are not many 22-and-under trainers or teachers...they are more likely blogging about non-education stuff...hey, at 18, I wasn't really thinking about education stuff either).
I think the ages and amount of participation is telling. If you are a Young Boomer trainer or teacher are you able to use the tools that as much of 30% of the youth are using to learn, communicate and create? Hey, that 30% gets the giant drill.
So my personnel challenge is to convey the message that a trend is happening and that we need to dial into the trend to make our training/teaching more relevant and accessible without offending...and thanks again to Tom Crawford and especially Christy Tucker for their insights into the issue.
Might these trends even impact the conference formats that Tony Karrer is discussing in his blog? I am sure they do.
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