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Friday, August 24, 2007

SALT Conference: Great Presentations

This past week, I had the good fortune to be able to present at the SALT conference. SALT is the Society for Applied Learning Technology.

I presented on Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning(of course). My session was well attended and had I had some great interactions with the group and some really good questions. The moderator was even kind enough to pass around a copy of my book so attendees could see what it looked like (I only had one copy and only because I was giving to Peter Rizza who I owed a copy)

Here is a picture of the attendees at my session.

Face-to-face conferences are great, I got to meet, in person, Natalie with whom I've only ever worked virtually. And I got to know a little better Brian from Merck with whom I'd only spoken one time before. He is very knowlegable about e-learning.

Also got to see Peter Rizza of the Princeton Center who I've known for years and even participated on a panel discussion he arranged (and gave him the signed copy of the book I promised.)

Here he is in action
hI also saw a fascinating session given by Christopher Chambers, Director, America's Live Fire Program, Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis, Gamechambers, Inc. He showed how the Army game Project office is implementing a live-fire virtual training program that combines projector hardware, video game screens and heat sensitive walls to provide a simulated urban combat environment that combines elements of live fire practice with virtual targets that are fully engage-able (they move and react to the soldier.)

Basically, the soldier is placed into the video game, only they are using real bullets and shooting at the walls of a "shoot house" and then the heat sensors on the walls react to the real bullets (friction) and register hits or misses and then the life-size video game bad guys react appropriately (falling if wounded or killed or shooting back if the soldier misses.)

Christopher Chambers talking about improving live fire combat training with virtual targetry.
It got me thinking of ways to combine "real world" experience with training (in non-combat situations.)

As designers we need to combine tools. Use multiple tools applied at once to achieve the desired performance of the learner. Obviously reading about shooting an enemy doesn't work but neither does shooting at a static target, shooting a laser gun at an animated target or playing a video game...what worked best to simulate real combat, the chaos, the live firing, the unexpected elements was to immerse the learner into an environment that contains as many realistic elements as possible and that can only be achieved through a combination of approaches.

We need to consider combinations of training tools and solutions not just one or two method but multiple methods.

Great conference, if you get a chance attend the SALT conference. They have one in DC each year and one in Orlando.
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1 comment:

Natalie said...

It was great to meet you as well, Karl. I enjoyed your lecture a great deal. Your talk on working with the 'Gamer' generation actually sparked some thoughts on what makes a good teacher now that students have quick and easy access to so much information. The internet requires teachers to be a little bit more 'on top of things' in a sense but it also requires teachers to take a more active role as guide in teaching students how to figure out what's good/bad when it comes to all the information that they are taking in.