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Friday, June 29, 2007

Don' Miss Presentation

In case you haven't seen or heard, Mark Oehlert is going to be giving a presentation titled Living and Working with Games and Gamers as part of the Adobe Luminary eSeminar Series: eLearning. Mark is a great speaker and expert on the topic, you don't want to miss it.

Here is the description:
With Gen X’ers and Millennials in the workforce, companies must face the challenges involved in integrating game and simulations into eLearning products and programs. Attend this session, presented by Mark Oehlert, to learn more about the technology and challenges that come with living in a gamer’s world.

You can register here. You will be both enlightened and entertained. Register today!
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So Far to Go: A Local School Board Candidate Armed with Mis-Information

I live in central Pennsylvania so I guess this is to be expected but...please.

Our school board was approving its budget for the next year and there was a line item of $327,000 for the purchasing of nine mobile laptop labs each having close to 30 computers. The district officials said:
...the investment is justified as more class materials are becoming available on computer software and more students can access laptops at one time, rather than sending classes to desktop computer labs with limited number of seats
So far, bravo to the administration.

Enter Dawn Koons-Gill, a district parent and school board candidate..."When I noticed the $327,000 budgeted for laptops, I saw a streak of red...[laptops will] loose effectiveness as the novelty wares off...show me the student achievement, and I'd be ecstatic. It's just not proven yet."

Laptops...a novelty? No evidence what so ever? Dawn, prepare to become estatic...

Dawn's web page sites two articles on the topic, one from AUGUST 31, 2006: from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL called Saying No to School Laptops and one from MAY 4, 2007 in the NEW YORK TIMES "Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops."

The WSJ article does not site peer reviewed research, instead it is a bunch of opinions of parents worried about inappropriate surfing...dah (And by the way, dreadfully awful reporting by the WSJ...no wonder print journalism is in such bad straights...I mean irresponsible reporting like this, the WSJ should hide its head in shame.)

The article itself even states "Anne Carson, a 49-year-old parent in Glen Allen, Va., says the laptop has helped her twelve-year-old son master critical professional skills like how to compile a PowerPoint presentation." What are we preparing our kids for...to take achievement tests while at work...?

Dawn needs to do more research...she needs to look at all the evidence that laptops are good...the other side of the story.

Here are some posts to rebut Dawn's statement, "It's just not proven yet."

Here is an article that says laptops help students. (Full Disclosure: consider the source for this article...but it does claim an independent research project) Research Finds Laptop Learning Yields Better Students and Better Teachers Through Anytime, Anywhere Access
Students who use laptops are more involved in their schoolwork. Students who use laptops explore topics on their own (80 percent of laptop students vs. 46 percent of non-laptop students), review and revise their work more often than students who do not use laptops, and work on long projects (80 percent of laptop students compared to 38 percent of non-laptop students).

Here is another article Impact and Results. (Full Disclosure: Apple sponsored)
Eastern Townships School Board revealed exciting results from studies on the impact of their 1 to 1 laptop initiative. After using Apple laptops for only one year, the number of third- and fourth-grade students who are reading at-level and above increased by 12 percent, while the number of those experiencing difficulty in reading plummeted by 13 percent. There was also a 100 percent success rate on the written component of the Response to Literature rubric, which tests the ability to read and understand text materials. The district also saw a 26 percent decrease in absenteeism.— Eastern Townships School Board, Magog, Quebec, December 2005

Here is another article about the positive impact of laptops...(not sponsored by a computer company)Learning With Laptops: An Urban School Shows Gains and a quote.
Not everyone thinks of Internet research as a third-grade skill. It is at East Rock Magnet School in New Haven, Connecticut, however. There, third and fourth graders are assigned laptops, and not only have test scores increased, but student motivation as well.


Here is another article...based on research States: Ed tech is raising student achievement
In Texas, a program that gave laptop computers to students and teachers in some middle schools has been shown to improve school communications, reduce discipline referrals, and level the playing field for students from low-income families. At least one of the participating schools has gone from being a "low-performing campus" to meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), and parents and staff attribute these gains to the laptop project


Here is a great article that you should read on the topic called Loving the laptops
While some school districts in other parts of the country are scrapping laptop programs, citing high costs and few tangible benefits, Mainers remain high on the machines. A soon-to-be completed study at the University of Southern Maine will give laptop advocates some scientific evidence to back up their claims that the devices can bolster learning...

Districts adopting laptop programs outnumber the districts that have shelved them, said Matt Hoover, program manager for the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates for laptop learning in Bellevue, Wash. He estimates that a half-million laptops are being used in one-on-one programs around the world.
Maybe instead of throwing out laptops in schools we should try to make them work as author Pamela Livingston advocates in her book 1-to-1 Learning: Laptop Programs that Work.

Did I mention Dawn Koons-Gill is running for SCHOOL BOARD...
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Guild 360 Synchronous Learning Report Available




If you are interested in synchronous learning, here are some interesting statistics from the report:
  • 42% of respondents plan to expand their use of Synchronous Learning Systems

  • Respondents who offer synchronous learning through an LMS report better ROI and a greater level of satisfaction

  • The vast majority of respondents report that synchronous learning systems are essential to their organizations, and that, when set up properly, they rival the best instructor-led training

Not to mention an essay titled "Escaping Flatland: The Emergence of
3D Synchronous Learning
" written by Tony O'Driscoll and myself. Steve Wexler of the guild and coordinator and author of much of the report writes:
Karl M. Kapp, professor of Instructional Technology at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, PA, and Tony O’Driscoll, Performance Architecture Analysis and Design for IBM Sales Learning, immerse you into the next generation of synchronous learning systems. This is both a “must read” and a “great read” as Karl and Tony manage to bring the excitement of synchronous learning in a 3D virtual social world to life on the 2D written page.

Ok, so Steve might be a little "over the top"...but that's Steve. Tony and I just think the essay contains some interesting ideas and concepts for using 3D worlds in training and teaching environments.

You can read the abstract here.

Once again, it was a joy working with Brent Schlenker, Karen Hyder, Paula Cancro, Ann Kwinn, Tony O'Driscoll, Karl Kapp, Bryan Chapman and Steve Wexler who coordinated the entire report. The pleasure was all mine in this fun and interesting project.
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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"Getting" The 3D Synchronous Learning Environment


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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Monday, June 25, 2007

Did You Know Revisited...great use of graphics...text

Ok, so we all saw the original "Did You Know?" well here is a great revision, look at the graphics and see how they help to tell the story. Compelling in so many ways. Thanks to Miguel at Around the Corner v2 - MGuhlin.net for posting this revision.


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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Out and About: Upcoming Online Presentations

On Tuesday, June 26th at 1 pm (ET), I will be presenting on "Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning" in a lively online discussion sponsored by the great folks at InSync Training. You can go here to register and find out more about the event. Hope you can make it, it promises to be a lot of fun and very interactive. Register today it's not that far away!

In July (which is not that far away either) the eLearning Guild is having an online conference called Strategies and Techniques for Building Immersive Learning Simulations (ILS). This promises to be a great online learning experience/conference. Great speakers lined up and good information will be available to anyone thinking about how to create, design or develop Immersive Learning Simulations. Ron Burns, CEO of ProtonMedia and myself will be presenting on the topic of Fostering Informal Learning in a 3D Learning Environment.


We have developed some really great ways that you can foster informal learning in 3D worlds like Protosphere and even Second Life.

Among the other speakers at the event is Phil Charron of Performance Development Group (PDG) who's presentation is titled Failure Is Not a Dirty Word: Strategies to Effectively Use Failure in ILS

So come join us.
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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Great Project with eLearning Guild

Recently, I was fortunate enough to be tapped by Steve Wexler from the guild to work on a synchronous learning essay with Tony O’Driscoll focusing on the use of 3D environments for the 3D learning like Second Life, There and ProtoSphere. I can only say that the project was a blast, true collaborative work (we used Google Docs), true exchange of information and truly a lot of fun.

I really enjoyed working with Tony--he's got awesome insights and ideas on 3D learning. If you have a chance, you should work with Tony, he really understands the potential of 3D learning from so many perspectives.

Together, we've crafted a reasonable argument for 3D Synchronous learning within the learning and educational communities.

You can read Steve's comments about the 360 Synchronous learning report in two posts.
So be on the look out for a great 360 report on Synchronous learning in the near future by Brent Schlenker, Karen Hyder, Paula Cancro, Ann Kwinn, Tony O'Driscoll, Karl Kapp, Bryan Chapman and Steve Wexler who coordinated the entire event. It will be well worth the read.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Out and About: SPBT Conference Presentation

Just got done with a presentation titled "Games and the Gamer Generation: Realities, Myths, Traits and Training. Are you ready to engage, empower and educate this generation?" for the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers.

The presentation went well. I used the Turning Point audience response system. It worked pretty well and gave me a great tool for determing the make up of my audience during my presentation. It allowed me to be interactive with the audience, gain information from them and allow them to participate in the presentation. I really enjoyed using the technology. I was also able to expose mis-perceptions that would not be visible in a typical presentatoin. Here are some examples.

I learned that my audience consisted of people born between 1960 and 1980 (and even some born before 1960 since I received a rather nasty comment on the post-presentation evaluation about failure to include people born before 1960, they are pre-gamers according to my definition and so not in the chart, but I will include next time.)



I also learned that most of the audience thought the Hottest Selling Kid’s PC Game from May 2004 to June 2006 was Roller Coaster Tycoon. It wasn't. The correct answer is Princess Fashion Boutique (for which someone commented on my evaluation that I was sexist in my categorization of video games and the gamers...I really thought I was covering male and female gamers equally.)



I also learned that most people thought the average US retirement age is 70. The right answer is 59 and the age has been trending downwards from 1910.


I enjoyed the presentation and hope the audience did as well. I got some good feedback on the presention as well lest you think it was all negative. (recommending I come back next conference, informative, eye opening, best presentation of the conferece...etc....however, the negative comments always stick with one longer and, in many cases, are more instructive for improvements.)

And, I got to meet in person fellow blogger Tom Crawford. It is awesome to meet people in person whom you've interacted through blogging.

So all-in-all enjoyable and the interactive technology is a great way to engage the gamer generation (male and female) as well as other learners (those born before 1960 included.)
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Monday, June 18, 2007

Where is Everybody?


Here is an interesting article called Virtual World Marketing: Lots of Companies, Few Vistors (So Far). One of the most interesting things about the aricle was that it stated "despite entering Second Life to much mainstream media fanfare, companies like Sears, Sun Microsystems, Dell, Coca Cola, Reebok, and Calvin Klein have so far failed to attract even 500 weekly visitors." So are these ventures failures? I think it depends on your perspective.

The real value of being in Second Life or any 3D synchronous learning environment now is, as one comment stated:
Companies aren’t getting into Second Life because of what it is today but what it will become in the very near future….and because of the head start/lessons learned they are betting they will be in a position to benefit from getting involved now.
As learning and development professionals, we need to be in this space as well even if an immediate payoff is not seen. I really believe it is like the early days of the web...or even the blogosphere. All of the sudden, one day the new technology makes sense...are you going to be part of that or left out in the cold? The time to make the decision is now...if you wait until the fad has "caught on" it will be too late.

Plus a problem is that some of these stores do not have any one with whom a visitor can interact. Hey, it's a social software...store owners need to have people in the stores to speak with the visitors--to socialize...empty stores are not attractive to people in virtual spaces. And neither are empty training rooms or other empty spaces. People like to be with other people.

UPDATE:
Well, you can't believe everything you read. As I posted about a certain company that was listed in the article as not getting many visitors, a person from that company corrected me (I have removed the error from my post but it is still in the original article). He then pointed me to another source showing how popular the site is. It just goes to show that with the internet one has to continually be vigilant about sources of information. Here is a link to a chart of the 25 Brand Dwells in Second Life. I thank Dave for the correction. At least the internet allows for fast corrections and updates...as opposed to waiting until tomorrow for a newspaper to print a retraction (where nobody sees it.)
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Blogosphere Welcome to Ben Hamilton

Bloomsburg University Instructional Technology Department alumni Ben Hamilton has joined the e-learning, learning, learning technology blogosphere.

Ben calls his blog Hamilton Notes because the "name was simple enough to cover a range of my musings on topics as the field continues to grow." I think that is a great name and that it will be a great blog to follow. Ben is working on his dissertation which is focused on the motivational impacts of simulations and games--a great topic.

And finally, we need to thank Tony Karrer because, as Ben states:
At the recent ASTD conference in Atlanta, I attended Tony Karrer's presentation on "eLearning 2.0". He discussed several technologies I had heard about, but have not had time (due to dissertation writing) to interact with. More importantly, he challenged everyone in the audience to become an active blogger...

Looks like Ben took Tony up on that challenge. So Welcome Ben and thanks to Tony for encouraging great people in the field to join the blogosphere. If any other Bloomsburg alumni are blogging, please let me know so I can post on Kapp Notes.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The "Gamer's" Learning Style

Kids who have grown up with video games, Gamers, are self-educating. They seek out and learn from the information that is available to them. They do not rely on formal educational settings for their learning. The gamers’ learning style:
  • Ignores any hint of formal instruction. They are self-directed learners.
  • Includes trial and error and approaching a problem from different angles.
  • Relies heavily on learning from peers with a distrust of information from authorities.
  • Focuses on small, focused bits of information
  • Demands just-in-time information. They don’t want to learn about what they might need.
  • Is not focused on books and reading.

So while they may look lazy and self-absorbed while sitting in front of the TV playing a video game, they are actually learning valuable skills for the information age. We should all be paying attention.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Out and About: PREP Weekend Conference

This weekend, I spent my time in Hilton Head Island at a conference evaluating a National Science Foundation (NSF) project called Plastics Resources for Educator's Project. The PREP project, as it is called, was started over 10 years ago to develop Reusable Learning Objectives (RLOs) in the area of plastics education. The project has since spurred a book, additional web site and great collaboration among plastics educators across the country.

Here is Rick Wilson presenting on a plastics certification program.


At the conference, the topics of for credit plastics education, non-credit plastics education and the future of plastics education was discussed. The plastics industry in the 3rd largest industry in Pennsylvania but some schools are having trouble recruiting because it is not as glamorous as other professions but the industry is high-tech, well entrenched in the United States and in need of energetic new employees.

One initiative they are considering is to create an interactive web site for youngsters and placing videos on YouTube...they are reaching out to where the potential students hang out. They have huge industry demand and light student interest...the biggest programs...forensics because of the CSI shows...what they need are some Plastics shows.

Here is Elizabeth Webster talking about Plastics SourceNet.


The emphasis on the need for new students is just another sign of the boomer exodus from the workforce and the need to get "gamers" interested in manufacturing and other industries traditionally thought of as old or not glamorous.
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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Podcast Interview: 10 Questions for Karl Kapp

Two colleagues of mine from the world of National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technology Education (ATE) grants and funding, Gordon Snyder and Mike Qaissaunee, interviewed me for their weekly podcast. They both work with the National Center for Telecommunicatoins Technologies (NCTT) for which I serve as the external NSF evaluator. They do great work and you should check out the NCTT web site.

The interview is called, simply enough, 10 Questions with Karl Kapp. Once on the page, click on the title to listen to the Podcast (its about 38 minutes long.) In our discussion, we talk about my new book, the instructional technology program at Bloomsburg University and technology in general.

Mike and Gordon are great guys and I really enjoyed the interview. Have a listen.
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Friday, June 08, 2007

TrainingDay: Summer Reading List

This week at the TrainingDay blog, I posted a list of semi-learning related books you might want to pick up and read on the beach. They are all less than $10 US dollars and are great fun and good reads. Check out Summer Reading Suggestions (only semi-learning related) and leave a semi-learning related book of your own in the comments. Remember, leave a comment on the TrainingDay blog and you could win a book (those are fully learning-related...not as much fun!)
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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Show Me the Examples! ASTD Big Question for June



This month the question is "Where are the Examples of eLearning?" and we are supposed to consider both good and bad examples as well as give some thoughts on why the example should get some attention.

I've decided to look at several different types of "e-learning."

Traditional

Here is some learning sponsored by Environmental Protection Agency. It is called the EPA Watershed Academy. It is a web site that has a number of e-learning courses which are very text focused. They are not really exciting or very interactive. Here is an example called Principles of Watershed Management. You can see an entire list of courses at the Introductory Page.

Here is one sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration called Tour of the FDA. It is what I would call first generation e-learning. It has a lot of good interactions and chunks the information well.

Here is a tutorial on how to use e-learning modules. The module is text intensive and not really interactive. It just provides a demonstration of how to navigate the e-learning modules. E-Learning Tutorial for PA DEP. On the left click on Interactive Course Tutorial.

Games and Simulations

Here is a link to a number of casual games, simulation software and general learning games. It is on the Games and Simulations page of the web site for my book Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning . If you scroll down you can see simple interactions that can "spice up" your e-learning. Take a few minutes and browse the content.

Clark Aldrich's blog entry for the big question has a great list of games and simulations that you need to check out.

PowerPoint Based

Here is a presentation I did called Parts of the Stove. The reason for this presentation is to show what can be done with PowerPoint and a digital camera. Imagine, instead of a stove that it is a piece of equipment or machinery. It is a little crude and could use some interactions but the concept of simple design and capturing content with a camera can be expanded upon for a number of e-learning designs.

Avoiding Death by PowerPoint. This presentation is not an e-learning presentation per say but it is a presentation using e-learning technologies to quickly get information to learners or people who would be interested in the topic. I think it is a good use of e-learning tools to develop "rapid instruction."

Informal "e-Learning"

The best example (and I am sure many of you have seen it) is the Learning 2.0--23 Things created by Helene Blowers. Brilliant e-learning or rather Learning 2.0.

Here is a quick tutorial on How to Build Tiny Prims in Second Life. I view this as e-learning since the person watching the video is getting instruction on how to build in the world of Second Life. This can be used for many different training applications using the world of Second Life as a platform for creation of the learning.

Here is a link to a blog entry (another form of informal learning) by my friend Mike Qaissaunee called Web 2.0: Wikis Explained. I consider both the entry and the video as a learning package.

Podcast

I consider e-learning podcasts e-learning and I know Mark Frank would agree with me on podcasts as e-learning as he wrote about it in his entry, Two examples of eLearning.

Check out Gordon's & Mike's Information and Communications Technology PodCast very informative in the areas of technology. Scroll down to the entry Airport Security, RSS Explained, Bluetooth Marketing and Updates
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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bad News for Employers...Retirement Age is Dropping

When I speak and consult with corporations, I often bring up the concept that the retiring boomers are going to be leaving the workforce in a few short years taking with them years of invaluable experience. Experience that cannot easily be replaced, I raise this alarm so that companies can begin to think about capturing all that lost knowledge before it disappears and using some of the tools of the gamers to do it.

Inevitably, someone will say, "Don't worry, Karl. We boomers are going to be healthy and strong and we are going to work well past the 'traditional' retirement age so, at our company, the boomer retirement exodus is not going to hurt...we are going to work a lot longer than people think."

Unfortunately for those companies and many others, the statistics do not support that view. In fact, the retirement age is consistently getting younger and younger. Check out this post Retirement Changes Dramatically Over the Years.


This chart and the post clearly indicate that boomers are not going to work as long as they think they are. Therefore, your company needs to think seriously about transferring knowledge from the boomers to your incoming gamers before it is too late. Do you have a plan?

Read David DeLong's book Lost Knowledge for some great information about the looming boomer retirements and subsequent shortage of knowledge in the workforce. It will scare you a little. After you read that book and you want some practical examples of how to transfer the knowledge, read Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning. It'll supply you with the tools you need to transfer knowledge successfully.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Great Leads and Misc Information...tying it all together

Sometimes, things just all seem to come together at once.

A number of alumni and friends of Bloomsburg University's Instructional Technology program have sent me some great links and they are all about wildly different things but all are related to the gamer generation. Check them out.
  • Here is one titled Most-Praised Generation Craves Kudos at the Office from Alison Stone. It talks about the gamer generation and their desire for feedback and praise...a desire, that I believe, comes from the immediate feedback from video games. Nothing provides faster, more constructive feedback than a video game. You know instantly if you are on target or wrong.

  • Here is an article Swedes open embassy in Second Life of course it is about Sweden opening an Embassy in Second Life courtesy of Katie Rebilas. If you still don't think 3D worlds are important, you really need to look at what is going on. Even if Second Life does not become the learning platform of choice for 3D interactions, there will be an on-line 3D component to training programs in the very near future.

  • Here is short piece on Cigna's efforts to educate young cancer patients about their disease through the use of a video game from a 2002 alumni Brandon Beaver. The article, Cigna offers free video game for young cancer patients explains about the disease and tries to take some of the mystery out of what happens to the patient in a way that they can relate to...video games.
A lot is happening in terms of using games to teach about a serious, life-threatening disease, using a 3D world to set up an embassy of a country and figuring out how to work with the new generation of employee. The gamer generation is hitting the world stage and impacting everything it touches.

Are you ready? If you want to be more prepared, pick up Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning

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Training Day Blog: Virtual Surgery


This week over at the TrainingDay blog, my post is called Surgery Anyone? Virtual Surgery That Is. Stop by the site and leave a comment, you could win a free book.

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