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Friday, August 31, 2007

One More Summer Reading Assignment

So Labor Day is coming up this weekend in the US and you are looking for one last beach read. I would recommend Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger.

It is insightful and very funny. In fact, he writes much as he speaks. I saw him present this past spring and was entertained and enlightened.

The idea behind the book? Explaining how the digital age now allows us (humans) to categorize information in as many ways as we could possibly imagine as opposed to older ways of organizing information which was restricted to one dimension because of physical space requirements.

As Wienberger writes in one of the chapters: "The remarkable fact is that we have built systems for understanding the universe using the same technique we use for putting away our laundry: Split the lump of cleaned clothes by family member, split each family members' lumps by body part, then perhaps split by work or play, by season, or by color." All very hierarchical and authority focused...there is one system for classifying plants and animals, one for the elements of the Earth. A single "authoritative" view.

Learning and development professionals view training and development the same way. We categorize by topic, chapter, lesson, objective, page (screen), etc. We have one path through information, we create linear lessons. But people (employees, learners) don't want to access information that way...they want to access it anyway they want in ways that we cannot possibly predict.

Again, Wienberger writes, "It's not whom you report to and who reports to you or how you filter someone else's experience. It's how messily you are connected and how thick with meaning are the links. It's not what you know, and its' not even who you know. It's how much knowledge you give away. Hoarding knowledge diminishes your power because it diminishes your presence."

Wow, isn't that what Web 2.0 is all about. Giving away knowledge to make the organization and the individual stronger.

Good read. You can order a copy below.


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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Think Like the Cavemen: Campaign Not Event

Too often learning and development professionals view learning as a one time event...conduct the class, create the e-learning module, craft the job aid...ok, now we are done.

Learning doesn't work like that. You can't create a one-and-done and actually expect people's behaviors or attitudes to change. Altering behavior and changing attitudes takes a concentrated effort, a CAMPAIGN. And if your training is not trying to change attitudes or behaviors than what are you trying to do? (you can inform or make people aware with a t-shirt or a memo)

Advertisers, who make a living influencing behavior and attitudes, know it takes a campaign. For example, check out the Cavemen campaign created by Geico. They have television commercials, now available on YouTube.

They now have an awesomely cool interactive web site called Cavemans Crib (thanks to Ryan Reilly for that lead).
And now they are getting a television show. No matter how many times you see the show, explore the adverts or view the commericals (on YouTube and OldTube ...traditional TV). You will be reminded of Geico in one way or another. They are constantly working on you to change your car insurance company to Geico. The name Geico is mentioned over and over again in the media supporting this campaign.

McDonalds has done it with the Big Mac, if you are my can probably recite all the ingredients of a Big Mac...why? did we all go to Hamburger U? No, we all heard the commerical hundreds of times and whether we wanted it to or not, it stuck.

Training and development professionals need to forget about classes, blended learning events and other one-time interventions and start thinking about creating training campaigns.

Want to increase sales? Don't just train about the one new product...conduct a new product training campaign with quick email "commericals," postings on a blog, a wiki dedicated to the product, testimonials from sales folks and customers, class room training, voice mail messages, text message reminders and even some old fashion e-learning. Think about creating an entire campaign, not one training class or e-learning module. You can't conduct an 8 hour stand up class, declare that the learners now know everything they need to know and then send them quote Bugs Bunny in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, "it doesn't work that way." Yet we continually conduct training as if a one time solution is the answer to performance problems.

Why don't more learning and development professionals conduct campaigns instead of one-and-done training events? Maybe its NOT "so easy even a caveman can do it."

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back to School Assignment

In keeping with the Back to School theme, his week over at the TrainingDay blog, my post is called Back to School Special. The post discusses what learning professionals should be thinking about as students head back to classes. As professionals, we always need to keep learning and the posting provides "homework" to help with the learning process.

Stop by the site and leave a comment, you could win a free book.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Celebrate Back to School!

Today, my kids went back to school. They were so wound up last night.. My oldest said, "I'm so excited its like a holiday...except I can't sleep in tomorrow and I don't get any presents."

As I think about my kids getting a year older and going back to school after a short summer. It reminds me of thoughts about technology within schools and it makes me sad they are growing up so fast:(

Negative View of Technology in Schools

A few schools still have a long way to go in terms of technology. The article Duncanville schools will fine $15 for cellphone use tells how students will be fined for having a cell phone in school. Students cannot have them at all in the school.
Tammy Kuykendall, a district spokeswoman, said teachers and principals had reported some disruptions during the school day last year when students would use cellphones or other electronic devices during lunch periods, in between classes or in the restrooms...Ms. Kuykendall and DeSoto schools spokeswoman Beth Trimble said the goal of the policy is not to cut off communication between student and parent. There are plenty of campus phones inside offices and in classrooms if the student needs to contact a parent immediately, they said.
So, authority to child communication...good...peer-to-peer communication...bad.

I really question this policy. I think it is a great example of one school showing just how out of touch it is with modern day reality of technology...sad. And, I think irresponsible. Text messaging is being used as a new security measure in many college and even some high schools, how else can a large scale message get to kids?

I've written about the concept of schools banning iPods and other technologies before in Hire that Kid! Instead of banning the technology or fining students for possessing it, we need to figure out better ways to integrate it into the classroom. Cell phones have calculators, web browsers, texting and other tools that can serve educational purposes. A blanket, blind use of technology is not appropriate either...but neither is a blanket banning of technology.

Here are some positive uses of cell phones in the classroom from an article titled Cell Phones: Nuisance or Necessity
Calculators. Although most schools have them in math class, other classes that don't have them on hand for students can benefit from number crunching. For example, social studies students studying elections can quickly determine percentages of electoral votes or other scenarios. Science classrooms can use them to perform calculations related to fieldwork.

Digital cameras. Not all schools or classrooms are outfitted with digital cameras, although many can benefit from them. For example, students can use them to document a variety of things for multimedia presentations or reports. Fieldtrips can be documented and incorporated into digital travelogues.

Internet access. Some phones have wireless Internet access, thus opening up a world of possibilities for class use. Science students might conduct fieldwork and submit their observations or data to either an internal or external data gathering site.

Dictionaries. Students in literature and language arts classes can benefit from being able to quickly query the definition of a word. Additionally, students who are English learners especially can benefit from translation dictionaries which are becoming available on cell phones.

It is not only school policy we need to rally against, sometimes it is school board members who are mis-informed. In a past post titled So Far to Go: A Local School Board Candidate Armed with Mis-Information I write about a school board member who found two negatively slanted articles about technology and is now using them as her platform for school reform.

Positive Use of Technology in School

However, it is not all bad news, some schools are being very progessive with handheld technology. An article on the Palm web site reveals how students in Arlington are using handhelds in the classroom.
"We decided to implement Palm handheld computers last year to support our K-5 writing program," says Camilla Gagliolo, Arlington instructional technology specialist. "We thought handhelds would allow students to complete the entire writing process using technology in their own classrooms, instead of in the computer lab. And now with the many options available for publishing their work, the project has become even more exciting."

Finally, you can listen to some student podcasts done at the Sidney Central School District as an example. The web site states;
Did you know that you can download podcasts developed by our students and faculty? Click here for an updated list of special presentations
Listen for yourself at SCS Educast System.

Final Comment

So, let's celebrate going back to school and all the positive work that thousands of school districts are doing around the world to help integrate technology into the classroom!

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Contrasting Different Learning Expectations

If, while playing a video game, the player waits for instructions or information, he or she will fail. Decisive action must be taken immediately. The gamer generation has learned this and expects speed in answers and learning. If a gamer needs information, he or she inputs a question into a search engine and then demands accurate, up-to-date results. They seek rather than wait for information.

In contrast, Generation X, Boomers and older generations are more used to receiving information in a formal, hierarchical sequence. Television, the medium of boomers, is linear, one way and delivered in 30 or 60 minute chunks. Books are divided into sections, chapters and sub-chapters. Academic classroom sessions last anywhere from one to three hours. Corporate training classes are often 6 hours long. Content is provided in a formal context with introductions, carefully parsed lessons and all encompassing summaries.

Gamers have a different expectation. They desire instant (or almost instant) learning delivered in an informal manner.

They do not want to log into the corporate Learning Management System (LMS), navigate to the desired course, and then page through 40 screens to find that one desired piece of information. It takes too long. Nor do they have the tolerance to sit in a classroom and be lectured at for hours on end about information they “might”
need later.

The gamer expectation of "instant learning" may explain why drop out rates for e-learning corporate training courses are as high as 50-60%. It seems that many training and development organizations have lifted the classroom paradigm of long hours of instruction and simply placed it online assuming the paradigm will work in this digital format. Many e-learning courses are as long as four hours, require the learner to progress screen-by-screen and provide little interactivity. These long, linear e-learning events are too boring and tedious for much meaningful learning to occur.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Software Training

If you do any kind of software training, you need to check out the discussion going on in the comments field of Tips for Teaching Software to Others. Just some great stuff.

Also, see

Design: Creating a Scenario to Teach Software Procedures and Wendy Wickham's In the Middle of the Curve: How am I Gonna Use This? for additional ideas.

Please add additional ideas.

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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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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Changing the Weather (in Second Life)

Here is another great student produced video from the "Learning in 3D Class." This one deals with controlling your environment within Second Life. If only it was that easy in Real Life. Enjoy.

Watch, Changing the Weather.

Also, note that it is posted in TeacherTube so that teachers have a better chance of accessing the video.


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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tips for Teaching Software to Others

In spite of all my work in metaverses and virtual worlds, I do spend time in the real world and, in fact, do a lot of real world training.

Recently, I was asked to give some training to a group of software developers/analysts and others who work with software and then train others how to use that software. They wanted a "train-the-trainer" course.

During the course, I gave some suggestions for effective learning sessions, first teach three things
  • How to exit out of the software entirely. Learners HATE to be stuck in a software program that they cannot escape from.
  • How to "go back" a screen or to the main menu. If a learner gets lost, he or she needs to go to the first screen or main menu screen to get re-oriented.
  • The HELP key. Not enough time is dedicated in software training to teaching the learner how to find help and information on his or her own. I suggest in every software training class you spend an hour teaching the Help system. Why? Learners tend to overlook the information in help and tend to use it in the most cursory way.
Next, the complaint arose that many learners, who bring their own laptop, or sit at a work station...check email and other web sites.

Combat this by teaming learners up in groups of two. Learners will not want someone looking over their shoulder when they check email, so team them up and have them do exercises together on the aids learning via collaboration and cooperation and it avoids email checking.

Finally, give learners plenty of time to practice on with the software. They should have hands on experience using the software for 90% of the class. Weave the background information, concepts and other information into the spaces between the various scenarios you should be asking them to perform while learning the software.

Telling someone how software works is never as effective as letting them try the software and then guiding them to the proper steps.

Please, add some suggestions of your own for teaching software in a stand up training classroom environment.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Out and About: Community of the Blogosphere

One of the great things about being involved in the training/education blogosphere is the great interactions you get to have with people that you've never meet or that you only see once or twice a year or that you've only been introduced to once but now stay in touch due to blogging.

Of course the above statement is rather obvious...but a number of recent postings around the blogosphere has brought this to the forefront of my thinking.

First, Mike Qaissaunee, an Associate Professor of Engineering and Technology at Brookdale Community College who blogs at Frequently Asked Q who I get to see in person only twice a year has an interesting blog entry titled Don't Know Much About History where he talks about a timeline program called Xtimeline. He explains how it works and even timelined (is that a word) my blog. It would be great to see more of Mike, he always has the latest gadgets and is constantly finding cools stuff on the web. I met him through my involvement on a National Science Foundation grant and am glad we can keep in touch through blogging...much better than email since it is like he is sharing ideas with me (and all his other readers) on a regular basis. It's good to keep in touch via blogs. Thanks Mike for timelining my site (although, I'm still not convinced of its historical significance)

Next, Cole Camplese is an alumni of Bloomsburg University's Instructional Technology program but I never had the good fortune to have him in class since he graduated before I began teaching in the program. Cole blogs at Cole Camplese: Learning and Innovation. He is only about 1 1/2 hours away at Penn State and we have corresponded a number of times but we never seem to get together face-to-face. He has a posting titled Second Life in Bloomsburg, PA where he discusses the Second Life class done at Bloomsburg this summer and gets some great reactions from some of his readers. Hopefully Cole and I can get together sometime this fall, he is doing great stuff. Cole, thanks for the posting and let's get together in person!

I've never met Cammy Bean in person or even have any connection to her at all but through the blogosphere. Recently Cammy and I have been having some discussions about Second Life some cases, we didn't always agree on the conclusion (friendly discussions mind you) so we arranged a tour of the MSIT Second Life island and we had a great time! It was a lot of virtual fun. You can read about her experience in Plodding Along in Second Life. I managed to grab a snap shot shown below.The experience reminded me of how much I take for granted within Second Life...a good experience for me and I hope for her as well. Thanks, Cammy, I had a great time, we'll have to do it again sometime.

Phil Charron works at Performance Development Group, a great design and development company, in the area of simulations. I've worked with a bunch of people at PDG and always enjoy it. We'll I sent a bunch of them copies of Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning and Phil is blogging about it on Learning Simulations. You can read what he has to say at Games, Gadgets and Gizmos for Learning and GGG4L. Phil, thanks for sharing your thoughts about the book.

There are countless other examples but I just want to end with a shout out to Christy Tucker at Experiencing E-Learning. She was kind enough a few months ago to engage me in a discussion about my standard presentation for Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning. She provided some straight forward advice and ideas about how to improve the presentation, I've incorporated her suggestions into the presentation and it is now much stronger because of it. Thanks.

So, the blogosphere is a wonderful community in which ideas, thoughts, innovation and, most importantly, friendship can be shared. Take full advantage of this unique opportunity and, if you are blogging, take a moment to thank some of your fellow bloggers. Together we make a great community...thanks.

(ok, tomorrow's post will be a little less sappy, I promise)


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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Books to Consider Reading for the Gamer/Boomer Knowledge Gap

Currently, I am working a course looking at the net-generation and how teaching and training can be crafted to more effectively reach that generation through the use of collaboration tools, integration of technology into the classroom and leveraging of Web 2.0 technologies to foster self-discovery and peer learning as well as the use of cutting edge technologies like 3D learning environments. (I call them MMOLEs)

The focus of the course involves exploring methods of bridging the gap between traditional teaching methods and those necessary to reach the digital learners.

So in the course of preparing to write that course, I have begun to gather some literature and, if you still have some vacation time this summer, here are some books that you might consider reading that are related to the topic.

This is by no means a comprehensive's just a start. But if you want to get some good last minute summer reading done on the topic of the upcoming baby boomer brain drain and the need to transfer knowledge to the gamer generation then this list will give you a good start...more recommendations later.

Finally, if you'd like to have me conduct a workshop at your organization on this topic, please let me know. Many organizations are beginning to explore this issue and I have been speaking quite a bit on methods for bridging the boomer/gamer knowledge gap.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tear Down The Walls: Web 2.0 Extends Class

Just completed the Learning in 3D Class in which students were able to experience Second Life, ProtonMedia's ProtoSphere and several Web 2.0 tools. Graduate students in instructional technology were required to post on this blog, contribute to a wiki and post a machinimia project on YouTube and TeacherTube.

One of the most amazing things to me is the reach of the student's work through the Web 2.0 tools. The reason I wanted students to put content into Web 2.0 tools was really just to give them experience working with those tools, I believe a professional going into the field of instructional technology should have experience using the latest tools and have some level of understanding about the leading edge of instructional technology.

At the time of the initial assignment I really gave little thought to who else would be viewing the material and the potential value it would have to others, I just wanted them to be familiar with the tools.

I was not thinking about (duh) the potential reach of the student's work. The excellent videos they have created have been viewed hundreds of times, the work they have done has been tracked by the blogosphere and individuals outside of the class have given feedback and input to the students and the class(in fact the idea to place content on TeacherTube was from a blog comment by Kurt Paccio. Thanks Kurt, great suggestion)

People like Alan Levine from CogDogBlog commented on the student work.
Let me add another note of congrats for an excellently produced intro to SL video. It even speaks more to the power of a user generated world that this was a student created production.
We've added it to our NMC Video Jukebox at

And people like Cole Camplese...who blogs at Learning and alumni of the program who commented on the student's work. And Bart Pursel another alumni who blogs at Virtual Learning Worlds presented to the class in Second Life highlighting the work he has done in-world. And Hilary Mason, Assistant Professor, New Media/Computer Science Johnson & Wales University in RI contributed to the class by giving us a tour of virtual Morocco. She blogs at 3greeneggs.

The educational implications are staggering.

The 4 walls of a classroom and the virtual 4 walls of educational learning management systems (where only those with a password can get in and view the intellectual contributions of the students) have been shattered. We need to rebel against the confinement of a contained course. Shatter the LMS walls with Web 2.0.

The student's work will live well past the class, it will be shared by hundreds if not thousands a people...well beyond the 34 who are officially registered and it will be judged not only by the instructor but by people who need and want the information. Videos will be rated, postings viewed, value obtained...or not depending on the work (although it was universally high quality...but I am not the ultimate are).

The difference of using Web 2.0 for class administration and coordination is so dramatically different than an academic LMS in the reach of the content. This class was shared and influenced by a community. The students did not work in isolation, they worked under the watchful eye of a community. I am convinced that it altered (for the better) the quality of the work and the focus of the learners.

This "open course" concept using Web 2.0 tools not only has an impact on academic classes but has a huge potential for the sharing of user created content in a corporation. If academic and corporate institutions are not looking at Web 2.0 tools to expand the educational reach of their employees/students and to share knowledge...then they are, sadly, missing out on a huge opportunity.

Here are the blog postings from the class and the wiki address, also you can go to YouTube or TeacherTube and use "Kapp Second Life" to search for student created videos.
Class Related Posts:
Second Life Assignment Has Life of Its Own
Try Before You Buy

So thanks to the blogosphere and to everyone who commented, lurked and viewed the videos...your contributions were a large part of this class and learning community and have made the class a success beyond the walls of Bloomsburg!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Metaverse Hype, Decline and Realism Cycle--We've Seen It Before

Meeting in Second Life with some folks from Learning Times to discuss the learning potential of the space.

Over at Learning Visions, Cammy Bean has an interesting post called Second Life Backlash and Controversy. I can't help but keep relating the whole 3D web and especially Second Life to the birth of e-learning...way back in the late 1990s (I'm leaving out CBT and other attempts at online learning on purpose.)

In the early days, e-learning was way over-hyped as evidenced by the valuation of e-learning companies, conferences set up exclusively for e-learning, entire online universities springing up overnight. And money being poured into e-learning efforts. Why? Because e-learning was the cost-saving and efficiency dream of organizations. It was the start of something huge...revolutionizing how people learned.


The backlash. E-learning was expensive to build, complicated and boring. The ROI wasn't worth it and several high profile online universities closed their was the end of e-learning. Many companies folded and people thought it was dead. Another fad...see, we were right said the wise pundits, e-learning doesn't work. Told you so!

However, a small group of dedicated people, university departments and companies where never influenced by the hype, never went over the top, they were realistic about what e-learning could do and what it could not do. These people plodded along.

Then, several years after the bubble burst, e-learning was BACK. But this time it was more targeted, less-hyped, tools were easier to use and people as well as organizations had more realistic expectations. The people who never bought into the hype and were realistic became successful.

Today, the 3D web and specifically Second Life (as it is the most visible example) is following the same hype, decline, realism cycle.

For a while Second Life was it! The future of learning has arrived. The press loved the online world and wrote about it enthusastically every single chance they could. They were in love with it (and their own avatars). This would revolutionize training as we know it.


What do I do here? This isn't a's not fun. Hey there aren't as many people here as I thought....where is everybody? This is all adult content and gambling (until recently banned). So why are we re-creating a classroom in 3D, let's just use current synchronous course delivery packages...not as complicated. The backlash.

However, a small group of people will continue to plod along in Second Life (or other 3D metaverses) because they see the potential. They see through the hype and understand the potential as well as the limitations of these worlds for learning. To them, Second Life is a tool to be included in the toolbox of instructional designers...not the solution to every learning challenge...just another tool. This helps them see through the hype and avoid unrealistic expectations.

Eventually, 3D worlds for learning will be as common place as simulations and e-learning...we just have to ride out the cycle and wait for the realism part.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Week Six of Learning in 3D: More Tech problems and Virtual Morocco

So, I thought only technical problems could occur in Maine (see week five post). Not true. Here in my hometown the internet failed me. Luckily after some frantic struggling I was able to get online. No wonder they call it the "bleeding edge."

After the technical difficulties, the class took a wonderful tour of Virtual Morocco led by none other than Ann Enigma (AKA Hilary Mason). She is a pioneer in SL and a professor of New Media/Computer Science at Johnson & Wales University. A great tour and a wonderful learning experience. She described how the place was built, the group's trip to real Morocco and the issues they have run into while doing pioneering work within SL...such as not having a back up to the island...make a mistake and you could destroy the entire island.

Ann (SL Name) also described how she and her group created the Info-Fez that provides factual data to anyone wearing the Fez as they walk around. The Fez is open source and is being used on a number of islands. It is a great way to inform learners without handing out a bunch of Note Cards all the time (that can get lost in inventory.)

Here is a photograph of our tour guide and one of her students.

And what is a visit to Morocco without a little belly dancing? Here some class members try it out...(notice the instructor is just watching, even in SL he's not really that good of a dancer.)

So thanks to Ann/Hilary who I met at a conference and thank her for her generous time. Her blog is 3greeneggs. Check it out.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Try Before You Buy

Over at, they have a great article called Real $3.1M mansion causes a virtual stir.

To quote the beginning of the article "Flipping through the real estate section is so yesterday -- touring an exact replica of a home for sale in Second Life is what's in store tomorrow."

Is your training so yesterday? While instructor-led training will always have a place in corporate and academic institutions...isn't it time we seriously looked at other alternatives like 3D worlds, including gadgets in the classroom and figuring out how to automate simple process that we train people to do daily? The goal of designers of instruction is to design environments, experiences and instruction that is realistic, efficient and effective...3D worlds offer some of these advantages.

Let's not have the learning and development folks be the last ones to miss out on this new direction in learning. See some examples of how to use Second Life for education in this video created by some of the students in my Learning in 3D Class. I think it tells a compelling story.

Finding the right college degree program for you is important before you enroll in an online degree program. Getting your college degree online is something many people have used to help save money on a degree, especially if you're just getting an online Associates degree from home.


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Friday, August 10, 2007

Games and the Gamer Generation: Keynote

Here is the video of my Keynote address from the 2007 NCTT Annual Summer Conference. The topic is Games and the Gamer Generation. It provides information and some facts about the boomer/gamer knowledge gap and what can be done to bridge that gap. It is conveniently broken into four learning chunks for your viewing enjoyment.

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:


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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Week 5 of Learning in 3D Class: Instructor Technical Problem

Ok, so one assumes that technology is easy to use and that it is everywhere. I was going to Maine for a few days, check out internet cafe's and places to get online. I found one, scouted it out the day before, scouted it our 2 hours before class in teh parking lot to make sure it would work. Then went in right before class, it worked for the first 1/2 hour and died. No internet...the local provider COMCAST wasn't providing signal to the store...nice.

So, we couldn't have class....however, it reminded me of some lessons to always keep in mind with technology.

1) Always have a back up plan. Luckily a student called me on my cell so I had some way of reaching my class.(but really, I had no formal plan)

2) Have a back up non-instructor lesson plan. So if you can't facilitate the class, you can at least provide some instruction.

3) Don't assume that just because technology worked one day or one hour before your will work during your class.

4) Don't panic and roll with the difficulties.

5) Don't leave students hanging for more than 30 minutes while you trouble shoot.

If you can think of any others, please add below.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wake Up Karl, the Meme has you...Again

Christy Tucker over at Experiencing E-learning has tagged me for another meme. First I will refer to the last meme in which I was tagged for 5 exciting facts about me. Then I will add three additional facts for the required total of eight random facts. Enjoy these little known tidbits...

Here is a link to my first five called Wake up Karl, the meme has you.

First, the Rules:

1) Post these rules before you give your facts

2) List 8 random facts about yourself

3) At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them

4) Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged

Now, in the spirit of this meme, here are the other three.

1) I am not a coffee drinker, I like tea with milk and sugar. I usually start the morning with one or two cups. I think it started with my grandmother on my mom's side...I understand it is very British.

2) I spent approximately 5 years as a one-man training department for an ERP Software company. I learned an awful lot about training development and delivery as well as thinking on my feet as the software wasn't fully functional for the first year or so in which I was conducting the training...I did a lot of dancing...eventually the software caught up...then it got boring:)

3) One of my favorite TV shows of all time is the original Iron Chef. It was awesome camp. The excitment of the announcer over something like boiling water or a coupe of spices was far the best example of enthusiasm where none was needed I've ever seen. Trully inspiring.

Here is my list of four people (I know should be eight but most people I know in the blogosphere are already tagged)...I am picking on former students primarily:)

Joe Mendrzycki
Rachel Vazquez
Justin Sentz

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Book News

Over at Learning Simulations, Phil Charron has written an entry about Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning.

You can read what he has to say in his entry by the same title of the book, Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning. I do some work with his company from time-to-time and so I sent him an autographed copy. Check out what he has to say...and consider picking up a copy to finish out your summer reading. I had a lot of fun writing it and hope you'll have fun reading it.

For a sneak preview, go to the book's web site. You can read about the book, glance over the first chapter and play some of the games highlighted throughout the book.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Designing a 3D Learning event

Here are some thoughts I have about designing a 3D learning event...please add other thoughts...I am working on a paper about designing learning events for 3D worlds and welcome input from others concerning the proper design for these types of learning events.

Prior to Class
  • Make sure everyone can access the 3D world prior to the actual event...have a "dry run" exercise.(technical specs, fire walls and other requirements need to be addressed for all learners to be engaged during the event.)
  • Send plenty of advance notices about when and where to meet.
  • Set up a site outside of 3D world for correspondences and messages (like a wiki).
  • Make sure learners have an avatar prior to class.
  • Encourage learners to explore the 3D world prior to class so they are somewhat oriented to class.

  • Make sure everyone can do basic navigation. Start with an orientation exercise.
  • In Second Life (SL), make sure avatars are off of the Orientation Island.
  • In SL, provide a SURL to transport students to place for instruction
  • Regardless of the instructional exercise/archetype, create a gathering place for learners for pre or post briefings.
  • Establish some method to speak (or text) to the entire group.
  • In SL, consider whether or not you want to permit flying.

During the Class Activity
  • Make instructions are clear (vague instructions are hard to follow, provide them in written format if possible…in SL, use a note card.)
  • Provide a time limit for the instructional exercise.
  • As the instructor, go group to group to see how the learners are doing and to answer any questions specific to a particular group (if a group exercise).
  • If the setting is more classroom-oriented, provide a mechanism for hand raising and for developing an orderly method of call on students.
  • Establish rules of behavior in terms of gestures, sounds, building.

After Class
  • Conduct a debriefing.
  • Make future assignments clear so everyone understands.
  • Assign in-world activities outside of class to keep learners involved with 3D world when class is not officially meeting.
  • Provide opportunities for after class, informal, peer-to-peer learning and exchange of information.


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