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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CAC-InfoLogix--Tom Kruezberger

Tom's topic was mobile learning and the importance of building solutions to match the needs of the client.

InfoLogix follows a fiver step process to develop instruction which consists of:
Change Management
Knowledge Acquisition
Knowledge Application
Continuing Improvement

Tom talked about not everyone wanting mobile learning and gave an example of hand held devices being returned with screw drivers in them. (we were using them as a stylist and it accidently went through the screen.)

Some examples of people using mobile learning are:
Home Health Care Professionals
MBNA 4000 Marketing Reps

Tom underlined that fact that you need to find the WIIFM for the end user. (What's In It For Me.)

He found that for information acquisition, you need to use traditional e-learning methods. But use actual screen size on the actual hand held device. Make everything the same screen size as the actual application.

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CAC-Louis Biggie

We needed an ad hoc presentation and Louis Biggie stepped up to the plate and gave a great presentation on teaching conversational modeling which tells people not what to do...but how to do it. The learning modules provide different examples of a difficult conversation and provides people the chance to focus on practicing skills like empathy, dealing with negative emotions and other things that can't be automated or outsourced.

One question asked was "How do you teach someone to deal with "curve balls?" Louis indicated that the best strategy for that is to wrap the e-learning modules around coaching and instruction which tells learners that they will experience problems at some point and they need to be prepared but the e-learning module will help but is not the final answer to dealing with difficult topics.

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CAC-Panel Discussion-Consulting/Contracting

Next, we had a panel discussion called Working Collaboratively and Independently Simultaneously:Independent and Contractor and Small Business Forum. The panel consisted of Robyn Defelice, Jennifer Pearson, Brad Keller, Jonathan Jones and Phil Charron and had great information about being an independent contractor/consultant.
The discussion focused on non-compete agreements, intellectual property and other issues related to creating content and ideas for clients. The discussion also centered around how each person got started as a contractor.

A suggestion was made to set expectations with employers about when travel is possible and when travel is not possible, especially as related to family issues. The idea is not to suprise the company for whom you are working.

A discussion about scoping and dealing with scope creep gathered a lot of interest. Fixed-price and time and material issues are discussed as well. Advice was to give a really specific scope for the project and people that hire contractors look for contractors who ask questions to help define scope. You can also ask for a "learning curve" path to help you learn more about the processes and prcedures of your client.

A good discussion was occured concerning networking and finding business. It was mentioned that the best leads are generated based on the "good work" and performance that you have done. So good work is fundamental for getting more work. Also, the need for balancing work and life was discussed.


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CAC: Performance Development Group-Phil Charron

Phil showed a simulation, which you can view here. while talking about the development process and how it was designed to give specific feedback based on learner interactions with the simulation and how the simulation dealt with "failure."

He talked about building an environment in which people interact and make decisions while receiving realistic feedback such as a change in the attitude or tone of voice of other characters within the simulation. They are allowed to experience failure.

He talked about failure being a good tool for learning. He said that you should not blindly avoid negative consequences. So the design included the concept of experiencing consquences due to decisions and actions of the learner.
  • Challenge learners in a productive manner:
  • Make simulations difficult to win
  • Improve replayability
  • Leverage competition
  • Challenge learners constuctionly so they return
  • Model relevent aspects of reality
  • Highlight the role of failure
  • Trust Your Learner

He recommends asking the question, "Would you rather learners fail in a virtual world, or on the job?" And designing learning that challenges the learners and, when you challenge learners, at times they will fail but will learn from that failure.

He also recommended a simulationof an airport screener which is a great simulation.

Check out Phil's blog Learning Simulations.

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CAC: Penn State-Bart Pursel

Bart Pursel of Virtual Learning Worlds and an alumni of our program presented on Virtual Worlds.

He defined a Virtual World as a computer-based environment intended for users to inhabit and interact via avatars in a 3D represented world.

Bart gave a list of different 3D worlds and provided a great comparison between a Internet Service Provider and Linden Labs (the company behind Second Life.) For example an island is analogous to a server.

Bart mentioned that many people are doing prototyping and product development in Second Life, people are doing education and training, advertising, campaigning (politically) and, of course, many different types of business.

Here is a link to resources supporting Bart's presentation at his blog called Talk at Bloomsburg University.

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CAC: The Phoenix Group-Cliff Sobel and Rhonda Dorsett

Cliff Sobel and Rhonda Dorsett presented on a companion website that The Phoenix Group created for the PBS television program "Travels to The Edge" hosted by well known photographer, Art Wolfe.

Rhonda Dorsett was the Creative director on this project. The site was so successful it was posted on Adobe's homepage because of its excellence in design and functionality (using Adobe's products). You can check it out here. You need to see the site and the beautiful artwork and photograph that went into the creation of the site.

The challenge was to create a fun and educational web site without promoting the product of the client, so the site had to be carefully crafted to feature Canon products without having them be "front and center."

The site is gorgeous and does a great job of promoting Canon without promoting Canon...if you know what I mean.

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CAC: Nathan Eckel

CAC kicked off with a presentation by Nathan Eckel (2006 alum) who presented on the process of "teaching ID" to a Subject Matter Expert (SME). The idea was to provide the SME with a basic understanding of ID. The project was originally intended to create Tobacco Cessation videos and during that project Nathan worked with the SME to help him learn about the ID process. Nathan coached and mentored the client to give him enough knowledge to properly design and deliver solutions.

The final product had a car dash board interface and a neat map showing a smoker the road to smoking cessation.

Nathan had five different concepts to keep in mind while working with the SME or any ID project.

Fluidity trumps rigidity (go with the flow, don't follow process without variation)

Pragmatism trumps idealism (sometimes you need to tone done expectations to be able to grasp what the client really wants.)

Progress trumps perfection (sometimes need to get project done rather than get everything "right")

Practicality trumps theory (set high standards but be willing short cut if necessary)

Mentoring trumps correcting (make sure you focus on the mentoring aspects and the growth aspects rather than "red inking" all the SME is doing)


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CAC Starts Today

Our annual Corporate Advisory Council meeting is today and it promises to be an exciting event with student and corporate presentations as well as a lively discussion on the topic of being an independent contractor. For those of you attending, here are some important links.

Panel Discussion Slide Show.

CAC Member Survey (for meeting attendees only big secret it just asks questions about the presentation and you, of course, need to be at the presentation to comment.)

Keep posted here for more CAC information and updates through out the next three days.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ready for my Close Up: Upcoming Television Appearance

Tomorrow on Wednesday, November 28, 2007 I will making my first ever television appearance. I will be appearing on local CBS television station WYOU and speaking guessed it..."Gadgets, Games and Gizmos." The live segment will appear at 11:00 EST.The idea of the show is to encourage interaction between the person "making the news" and the viewers so you are encouraged and welcome to call in.

Actually, for this segment of WYOU Interactive, I will be talking about the "Positive Value of Video Games"...just in time for the holidays. During the piece, anchor, Eric Scheiner, and I will be discussing the positive traits of video games and how children are actually learning valuable lessons from those games.

With Christmas on the horizon, many parents are confronted with buying video games while still believing that they are just a “waste of time” and are “rotting their kids brains.” But parents should consider video games in a positive light.

For example, with video games, kids actually learn business skills, problem-solving methods and how to react to a changing world. Skills that will be invaluable as they graduate and enter the information age workforce.

Check out previous episodes of WYOU Interactive.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Encore Presentation: Hello, You are On the Air with Karl Kapp

So I am listening to the radio today and learned that my radio talk show debut discussion on the topic of Video Games Are Good for Kids which originally aired in October is being re-broadcast tomorrow as part of a "Best of Series." (blush)

You can see my post about the original program at Hello, You are On the Air with Karl Kapp

So if you missed me on the call-in show "On the Mark" in October, you can join me for this "Best of" re-play tomorrow November 27, 2007 at 9:00am Eastern Standard Time.

Just click on the following at 9:00am to listen to the "live" re-broadcast via the Internet.

Since it's not live, you can't call in but leave a comment on this post instead and we'll carry on the discussion via the web.

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My Wife...Guitar Hero

So it is Saturday night, the kids are out of the house for a few hours at friends houses and my wife and I are sitting on the couch enjoying some peace and quite...she turns to me and says, "Let's go downstairs and play...Guitar Hero."

In the past I could never get my wife to play any type of video game, even my boys had trouble getting her to play video games...she always hated the controllers. But my son got Guitar Hero II and now she is addicted. She loves it.

She has been channeling her lost Rock Star! I've blogged before about women and games. See You Go Girl and I have been having an off and on discussion with Cammy Bean about girls and video games. See Games for Girls among other entries on her Learning Visions Blog.

I contend that women like video games and play video games just as much as men but don't think of themselves as "gamers."

Perhaps the real difference is not that women don't like video games (I think they do). No the real difference is they didn't like the interface.

As interfaces to computer and video games become easier to use, the games will be more accessible and more fun for everyone. That's the whole idea of the Nintendo Wii console. Make gaming accessible and more people will do it. And they are.

I witnessed first-hand the power of an easy-to-use, comfortable interface. It draws in players who do not consider themselves gamers...and gets them out Janice Joplin.

If you want to introduce someone to the power of an easy interface and a fun game, check out the Guitar Hero games and interface devices (guitars) below. They are a good introduction to video games for the video gamephobe.

If you are into an entire Rock Band, not just guitar playing...check out the latest in interactive fun...ROCK can sing, play drums and jam on the guitar. Talk about an easy-to-use interface and the disappearance of the idea of a computer...just jam'n on some realistic instruments.

Oh, and don't tell my wife but for Christmas I'm getting her...Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.


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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I won't be blogging on Friday due to spending quality time with my family and recovering from eating all that turkey.

So just, remember to be thankful for all you have, I know I am.

Enjoy the holiday.

And if it isn't a holiday you celebrate...take some time to just give thanks.


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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Acrophobia: Fear of Acronyms

Recently, I have been guest blogging in Phil Charron's (of Learning Simulation) class “Theories of Electronic Communication" which he teaches in the Philadelphia area.

Guest blogging has been a lot of fun as the students were assigned to read the first chapter of my book (available here) and then blog about their impressions of the chapter. What wonderful insights and ideas they have concerning the "Gamers" and the influence video games will have on the future. And how great is it for an author to get open and honest feedback about his work.

As I read their posts, many of them became nostalgic about games they had played while growing up. All of this reminiscing reminded me of a game I loved to play in the late 1990's (1997 to be exact). The game was Acrophobia...the fear of acronyms.

Here is a brief description of the game.(lifted from Wikipedia)

Acrophobia is a multi-round, multiplayer online Internet Relay Chat game. The game was originally conceived by Anthony Shubert and programmed by Kenrick Mock (aka Mach) and Michelle Hoyle (aka Eingang) in 1995. Players enter a channel hosted by a bot which runs the game. In each round, the bot generates a random acronym. Players compete by racing to create the most coherent or humorous sentence or series of related words that fits the acronym - in essence, a backronym. After a set amount of time expires, each player then votes anonymously via the bot for their favorite answer (aside from their own).

Points are awarded to the most popular backronym. Bonus points may be also be given based on the fastest response and for voting for the winning option. Some implementations give the speed bonus to the player with the first answer that received at least one vote; this is to discourage players from quickly entering gibberish just to be the first. Bonus points for voting for the winner helps discourage players from intentionally voting for poor answers to avoid giving votes to answers that might beat their own.

Usually, nonsense backronyms will score low and the most humorous sounding backronym which effectively makes a sentence from the initials will win. Some rounds may have a specific topic that the answers should fit, although enforcement of the topic depends on solely on the other players' willingness to vote for off-topic answers

The thing I liked about it was that it was a Social Networking game...even back then. You could chat with other players online and tell them how great or lame their acronyms were. You could chastize someone for being off topic and generally have a great game and discussion at the same time.

I loved the game so much I wrote about it in my book and how it might be adapted to a corporate environment. Here is the piece from Chapter 2:
With a little modification, this game is a great way to teach acronyms to new employees. This internet game was originally created by Anthony Shubert in the mid-to late 1990s and incorporates a chat room, voting on other players’ answers and the element of speed.

The game play involves entering into a chat room and being presented with a series of randomly generated letters seen by all the players; for example ELO or MLAN. The players then type an acronym as quickly as possible matching those letters; perhaps Electric Light Orchestra or Enterprising Ladies Organization. After all the players submit their acronym and time has expired, the acronyms are displayed and the players vote for the best one. The winner is the acronym/definition combination with the most votes. During the game play, a chat box is available for the players to discuss the various acronyms and what they liked or didn’t like.

Now imagine this game with a few modifications for use as a training tool. Instead of randomly generated letters, the letters represent actual acronyms used in the organization. The players are new employees who compete with one another to see who recognizes the acronym the quickest. Instead of voting, the system determines the winner based on speed. The chat room is monitored by a veteran employee (boomer) who comments on the meaning of the acronym and how it is used within the organization. The gamers enjoy the game while learning acronyms used within the organization. Simultaneously they are mentored by a seasoned boomer monitoring the chat. Players don’t even have to be in the same building or state; they don’t even need to leave their desk.

As we think of the games we played as a child, what modification or change can we make to transform them into learning tools? What games did you play as a kid that could be modifed to be a learning tool?

Getting an online Associates degree in many, various fields is possible, such as English and more. As more colleges offer online degree programs you may be able to find a reputable school near you that offers a degree program online that will help you get your college degree online but still have a diploma from your school of choice.


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Tuesday, November 20, 2007 Announces New Electronic Book...Kindle has jumped into the hardware a big way. Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of Amazon, aims to do for the book and publishing industry what Apple and Jobs have done for the music industry...make the digitalization of content cool.

Here are some features from Amazon itself:
  • Revolutionary electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
  • Simple to use: no computer, no cables, no syncing.
  • Wireless connectivity enables you to shop the Kindle Store directly from your Kindle—whether you’re in the back of a taxi, at the airport, or in bed.
  • Buy a book and it is auto-delivered wirelessly in less than one minute.
  • More than 88,000 books available, including 100 of 112 current New York Times® Best Sellers.
  • Top U.S. newspapers including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post; top magazines including TIME, Atlantic Monthly, and Forbes—all auto-delivered wirelessly.
  • Top international newspapers from France, Germany, and Ireland; Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine, and The Irish Times.
  • More than 250 top blogs from the worlds of business, technology, sports, entertainment, and politics, including BoingBoing, Slashdot, TechCrunch, ESPN's Bill Simmons, The Onion, Michelle Malkin, and The Huffington Post. (Not sure why Kapp Notes was not mentioned...I'll have to call Jeff.)
  • Lighter and thinner than a typical paperback; weighs only 10.3 ounces.
  • Holds over 200 titles.
  • Long battery life. Leave wireless on and recharge approximately every other day. Turn wireless off and read for a week or more before recharging. Fully recharges in 2 hours.
  • No monthly wireless bills, service plans, or commitments—Amazon takes care of the wireless delivery so you can simply click, buy, and read.
  • Email your Word documents and pictures (.JPG, .GIF, .BMP, .PNG) to Kindle for easy on-the-go viewing.

Others have tried to create a digital book with the ability to call up any book, article or other traditionally hard copy item and read it as if it was on paper but they've never taken off, Sony's Digital Reader is one such example.

...Bezos claims Amazon has done it this time.

If this is really as good as is claimed. If it really is an easy-to-use realistic tool for storing and displaying up to 250 books and you can download them wirelessly at night and then pick up your Kindle and go, then what a revolution for training and for schools. If it catches on, what will happen to the backpack industry which has thrived on huge bulky books?...oh, and publishers.

I've written about the cost of books vs. the cost of electornic devices before in MP3s for Everyone. Ultimately, the cost of books is far more than the cost of electronics like Kindle.

I watched an interview with Jeff Bezos last night. He was asked, "Why the name Kindle?" He responded, "It was named after the idea of a fire. You kindle a fire. Kindle means to cause to start burning. So we wanted to convey the idea of starting an intellectual fire with books." He also said that he doesn't think we are at the end of the idea of "book" and that it will continue to evolve as it always had from papayus to paper to pixels. He also said he sees the return of serialized novels since it can now be done inexpensively.

I immediately thought of my book which would be a great work to update and revise on a yearly basis. I could add things to it like the release of the Kindle and the iPhone.

You can bet the Kindle is on my Christmas list.

Whether you want info on new computer parts so you can upgrade your computer to play a new game, or you're just looking for stuff online to do while you're bored, it can be fun to go and try a new online music site to find new artists or use an online gaming to play free games.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Commercial Games with Educational Value

Often, it is too expensive to build a game or simulation from scratch for use in the classroom. However, some very clever teachers are using commercially available games to achieve educational goals. Here are three examples.

First example is Kurt about what he has done in the article Let the Games Begin. Here is a sample from the article:

Packed with geography and history, yet exciting enough to keep teen and adult players engaged for hours, Civilization III was, in many ways, already an educational game before Kurt Squire, an assistant professor of education technology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, decided to try it out on groups of 11- to 15-year-olds at an inner-city Boston school. "You might think of it as a map in a history book come to life," Squire explains. Players choose a geographical region and develop it using only resources available 6,000 years ago. Slowly but surely, they obtain agriculture, architecture, knowledge. Trade routes are forged; diplomatic ties with other players are established. Civil unrest and natural disasters pose formidable challenges, as do invading forces from neighboring countries, especially when the invading force is also your playground nemesis.

What I like about the article is that it gives a balanced account of trying to add a commercial game into the mix of a classroom.
Still, integrating a game designed to entertain adults into a classroom full of teenagers wasn't easy. In his study, Squire discovered that the advanced vocabulary and complicated rules frustrated students, while teachers struggled to manage 25 kids doing 25 things at the same time. Also, because Civilization III teaches the underlying principles behind history, rather than names and dates, it didn't do much to help teachers prepare students for testing. Although Squire says the teachers he worked with were overall very positive, he adds, "This is not something I would throw on unsuspecting teachers." Squire has since published curriculum support and is developing an online network to aid teachers who wish to use Civilization III in their own classrooms.

Another example is that of Tim Rylands. He uses the computer game Myst in his classroom to inspire creative writing, speaking, listening, music and art appreciation. He has taken the idea of using games and interactivity in schools and made a career of it. Check out his story in an article titled Reading, writing and playing The Sims which has several great examples of using commercially available games to teach kids in addition to the information about Ryland.

Or, check out this YouTube video of how Ryland inspires kids.

Also, check out Tim Ryland's web site especially the Story So Far section. Interesting approach.

Another example is using The Sims to teach foreign language in the classroom. Check out Language Learning with New Media and Video Games for some ideas on using The Sims to help students learn a new language.

So, on this Monday morning, I'm thinking...we need more computer games in the schools. And, it turns out, I'm not alone. The National Science Foundation, the Federation of American Scientists and the Entertainment Software Association got together in October 2005 to talk about the value of video games for education and have the following to say...
Games offer attributes important for learning—clear goals, lessons that can be practiced repeatedly until mastered, monitoring learner progress and adjusting instruction to learner level of mastery, closing the gap between what is learned and its use, motivation that encourages time on task, personalization of learning, and infinite patience.

Read more about what these three groups had to say about video games at the Summit on Educational Games web site. They have a report, a highlight sheet and a presentation you can view.

So get out there and play some video games...

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Teaching/Training Across the Generations

Recently, in two different contexts, I've been asked about some methods for teaching when the audience is comprised of different generations who have different preferences for learning.

Here are somethings you can do to work across the generations.

Acknowledge to the class that their are multiple generations within the class and that each generation may have a different preference for learning and different expectations. Often people aren't aware of what causes generational differences...they just know that the "kids have no work ethic" or that "he expects me to stop my life to work on this project." So, one of your jobs as an instructor is to let all of your learner know that there are differences and that some of them are related to the different experiences of each generation.

You might even want to show a generational chart, something like the chart contained in the article Mixing and Managing Four Generations of Employees. This article is a nice overview of generational differences.

Another technique is team up the learners based on generation. Team a Gamer/Millennial with someone from the Silent Generation or from the Boomer Generation.

Mix up your own approach. Chances are, you teach or train based on your own preferences. Get out of your comfort zone and begin to involve other techniques that appeal to different generations. Have some online assignments, group assignments, in class games and don't forget a little lecture. Also, have the learners teach each other (using guidelines you create.) Try to mix things up every 10 minutes or so.

Also, when making a point or presenting examples of concepts or ideas you are teaching, use multiple examples. Try to think of an example or metaphor that would cover several generations or pick on per generation. Have your learners develop these types of metaphors that meets their own preference. Learner creation is a power tool for retention and recall.

Expand the classroom, provide opportunities for the generations to mix and mingle in a less focused forced environment. Encourage sharing of information and stories outside of the class environment. One medical device manufacturer even set up a room with a fireplace and everything for "fireside chats" after workshops and before dinner so information could be informally exchanged.

Finally, don't forget to use sound instructional strategies for teaching, facts, concepts, rules, procedures and problem-solving. Many of the strategies work across the generations, so the first rule for reaching everyone is to start with well designed instruction and then try some of the techniques.

If you have other techniques or ideas, please add them to this post. Also check out this Generational Presentation by Cam Marston of Marston Communications for additional information and ideas.

Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Office in Second Life...CNN in Second Life

Here is a very funny video put together by a grad student of mine about the tv show The Office and Second Life...The Office is a really funny show and this clip is funny. Check it out. It is very "LOL" as the gamers would say.

As you may or may not know...CNN now has an office in Second Life. You can read all about it in the article CNN enters the virtual world of Second Life

As the article states;
Just as CNN asks its real-life audience to submit I-Reports -- user-generated content submitted from cell phones, computers, cameras and other equipment for broadcast and online reports -- the network is encouraging residents of Second Life to share their own "SL I-Reports" about events occurring within the virtual world.

"The thing we most hope to gain by having a CNN presence in Second Life is to learn about virtual worlds and understand what news is most interesting and valuable to their residents," said Susan Grant, executive vice president of CNN News Services.
So if you have something happening in Second Life, you just might want to give the folks at Second Life an I-Report via IM or a Notecard.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Arming Kids with

In an effort to eliminate the "digital divide" between wealthy and poor students, Maine public schools in 2002 and 2003 distributed 36,000 laptops to seventh- and eighth-graders across the state.

Many critics wondered if this was just technology in search of a problem or if the kids would actually benefit from the use of technology. Some of the results are in and...they look good for the advocates of giving every child a laptop.

The article explains that student writing scores have improved on standardized tests since laptop computers were distributed and that the students' writing skills improved even when they were using pen and paper (how quaint), not just a computer keyboard.

Check out the article School laptop program begets writing gains for more details. So the issuing of technology to students helps with learning...imagine that.

In a related move, Electronic Arts announced plans to donate the original version of the SimCity computer game to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

The article quotes Don Hopkins, the man responsible for the original multiplayer Unix port of the SimCity game as saying:
"The goal is to enable the open-source community to renovate SimCity and take it in new educational directions, by applying Seymour Papert's ideas about constructionist education, Alan Kay's ideas about interactive user interfaces and object-oriented programming, Ben Shneiderman's ideas about direct manipulation and info visualization, and many exciting ideas about multiplayer games, blogging, storytelling, game mods, player created content, and lessons learned from World of WarCraft, The Sims, Spore, etc,"
All the Web 2.0 ideas and the usage of video games to teach...what an exciting prospect.

Imagine the possiblities and interest that will be generated by allowing thousands of young minds to explore the possiblities of expanding and enriching the game through their innovative ideas and concepts. Technology providing the opportunity for growth not possible with other means.

Check out the entire article Games that can educate: SimCity donated to OLPC project.

With this focus on making technology available to everyone, educators, trainers and academics need to seriously consider the best methods of deploying these technology so they are relevant and exciting to the upcoming generation of gamers.

Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Friday, November 09, 2007

Second Life...Its Synchronous

Second Life has come under a lot of attack recently because "it's empty." One especially hard hitting article How Madison Avenue Is Wasting Millions on a Deserted Second Life complained that "there's the question of what people do when they get there. Once you put in several hours flailing around learning how to function in Second Life, there isn't much to do."

Then the Yankee group made a statement that the average person in Second Life only spends 12 minutes a month in world. Although Linden Labs disputs that finding.

See The Metaverse Hype, Decline and Realism Cycle--We've Seen It Before for my take on the hype and "decline" of the interest in SL.

However, what these complaints reveal is that the people getting into Second Life don't understand it. Second Life is a Synchronous tool which means, you need more than one person to make it work. It would be like having a Web Ex or Adobe Connect session by yourself. Sure the technology works but its not productive or fun with one person.

Second Life works best for learning when the following elements are in place:
  • An instructor or facilitator is present to guide the activity
  • Other learners are engaged in the activity
  • The activity is supported by the 3D environment (meaning the environment matches the activity, like teaching security checks in an environment in which the security guard will be working)
  • Teamwork is an essential element for a learner's success or a one-on-one role play requiring an expert is critical
For tips on on conducting an effective class in SL see: Designing a 3D Learning event


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Content Guide

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fun at the PA/DE/NJ Conference

Great audience for the Keynote at the PA/DE/NJ Distance Learning Conference. We had over 100 attendees at the keynote. They were engaged and active. We had fun with the subject and they recognized many of the traits I discussed in both incoming employees to their organizations as well as their own kids.

Here I am discussing the traits of the gamers....Multi-Tasking, Confident, Problem-Solvers, Social Resilent...

I was even able to sell and sign a few books at the event. Here I am signing a book for Stephanie who has two someone with two sons myself...I wished her luck:)

Here I am discussing the age differences in usage of the web. And refering to the graph What Are People Doing? This is a great resource and a real eye opener in terms of looking at what different age groups do on the web. (I've posted this before but it deserves another posting.)

The conference is a good event. I was able to see a number of alumni from the program, see some old friends and make some new friends as we all discussed how to create engaging, interactive learning for the upcoming generation of techno-savvy employees.

For a list of resources related to the presentation see my posting Links Related to PA /DE/NJ DLA Conference Keynote or just scroll down to the next entry on this blog.


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Content Guide

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Links Related to PA /DE/NJ DLA Conference Keynote

In the spirit of broadening my keynote address and in providing a dialogue with audience members of the 5th Annual PA/DE/NJDLA Conference & Expo. I have pulled together a number of posts that may be of interest to attendees at the keynote who are looking for additional information. This post also provides a place where attendees can feel free to comment and add to the discussion

Here are links to web sites and whitepapers mentioned in the keynote:

Whitepaper on Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Tools for Bridging the Boomer/Gamer Knowledge Gap.

Teaching Facts with Fun, Online Games

Graphical Music Database: Liveplasma.

3D Virtual World: Second Life

Corporate 3D World: ProtoSphere

Finally, you can check out the web site, Gadgets, Games and Gizmos.

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Much Happening in Second Life

Yesterday, I presented with Tony O'Driscoll at the DevLearn event virtually. Assisting us expertly was Matt Monahan my graduate assistant who has been helping me with many Second life tasks. Neither Tony or I could make it in person so we presented virtually. Which, of course, was a perfect use of Second Life.

We provided a little tour with Brent Schlenker discussing the uses of Second Life for providing learning solutions.

I also kicked off my Basics of Second Life workshop as part of the Live and Online Learning series. It was a great class. The students ranged from no experience to a great deal of experience (like so many classes).

We opened the class with information about Second Life, we talked about the hype and reality of the software and we then entered the world and learned to communicate, fly and establish landmarks. I hope the learners had as much fun as I did, it is a great group and I look forward to the next session.

Discussion in Second Life

The thing I like about Second Life is that I learn so much every time I teach a class, it keeps it exciting. For example, this time when the learners started to fly, they were in a dome so they couldn't fly too high, they just flew around the dome. Other times, I have taught people to fly in an open space and "off they went!" So, if you are teaching the basics of Second Life, it might be good to teach the art of flying within a relatively closed space until everyone gets the hang of it. The closed space allows you to keep everyone together and maintains some form of order and keeps the new learners from getting frustrated.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Consider Generational Learning Styles and Tools

Teachers, trainers and other educators tend to teach in the same style and format in which they have been taught. For the Greatest Generation, the Boomer generation and much of Generation X, this included a linear step-by-step approach with little technology in the classroom or room for discussion. The teacher or trainer was right and everyone else was an empty vessal to be filled with the wisdom of the instructor. Students were placed into rows of seats and the teacher in the front of the room held all of the knowledge and presented to students who were assigned to memorize and repeat the information provided to them by their teachers.

In the mid-1960s and early 1970’s efforts were made to have open classrooms and more group work within the learning environment but by that time, the majority of baby boomers had graduated from high school and moved onto college. Those at the end of the boomer generation had some exposure to these techniques but they were short lived in many school districts and subsequently, not many Generation X students experienced the chaos of the open classroom either.

In terms of technology, computers and even calculators were not available for much of the educational life of the boomers and only in middle or high school for much of Generation X. In fact, many boomer teachers can remember using slide rules instead of calculators even in college. Affordable hand held calculators didn’t become widely available until the late 1970’s when Generation X just barely started to use them.

A primary emphasis during most of the formative years of the baby boomers was the space race between the United States and the former Soviet Union. The goal was to be the first country to put a man on the moon. The race began when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 in October 1957. The impact the space race had on schools was to focus the teachers and the students on learning and memorizing information so they could be “smarter” than their rivals. Shortly after the launch the United States, through the National Defense Education act of 1958 poured large sums of money into science and technology education.

Another influence over schooling at the time boomers were going through the educational system was the creation of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in 1947. The establishment of this organization sets a foundation for standardized testing as the basis for admission to higher education. The ripple effect of this is down into the high schools was that the educational system began to incorporate test preparation as part of the educational experience of the students.

Teaching styles and methods become almost invisible to the teacher, trainer or educator who adopts those methods almost without thinking. Applying those same methods and approaches to subsequent generations of kids (like the gamers) just doesn’t work. As our learner’s experiences change, our approaches to transferring knowledge have to change.

What teaching or training style are you using? Is it the same one you have always used? Is it the same one that was used to teach or train you? Is it time for a change?

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Upcoming Keynote Address: Are Your Ready for the Gamer Generation?

If you are in the Philadelphia, New Jersey or Delaware area, you may want to stop by to hear my Keynote address to the 5th Annual PA/DE/NJDLA Conference & Expo held by the PA/DE/NJ Distance Learning Association. Learn more by clicking here and then click here to register. Details below.

11/7/07-Wednesday from 8:00a to 5:00p

Penn State GV in Malvern, PA

Here is a brief description of the event:
There will be 3 tracks, totaling 15 concurrent sessions, presented by some of our region's top Distance/e-Learning practitioners. These sessions will feature "real world" case studies, proven best practices, and "state-of-the-art" solutions. The sessions will conclude with our e- Learning Excellence Awards presentation, honoring our region's pioneers and leaders who delivered significant results by designing and implementing Distance/e-Learning programs for their organizations. In addition, throughout the entire event there will be a Vendor Expo showcasing some of the top companies in the Distance/e-Learning field. A continental breakfast, lunch, and snacks will also be provided.

Here is a brief description of the keynote:
Karl's keynote address sets the stage for the conference and for the next decade of training and development. He defines the "gamer generation" and explains how these incoming, techno-savvy learners will turn the traditional online training programs of the baby boomer generation upside down. He will present practical and innovative solutions to the impending boomer/gamer knowledge gap and outline how gamer values such as the use of cheat codes, the love of gadgets, the need to play games and the desire to be constantly connected can be used as methods for moving information from the heads of the retiring baby boomers to the fingertips and gadgets of the gamers. As your organization begins to think strategically about how to attract, retain and train new talent, this keynote will be an invaluable source of information. Come and discover what drives and motivates gamers and how to create engaging learning experiences to appeal to their gamer ethos.

There will also be a book signing, so if you are interested, please register for the conference and don't miss the keynote.


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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Face Lift for Our Second Life Space

Old Classroom Space

In honor of the Second Life workshop I will be starting next week (still time to sign up, click here for more information), we have given the MSIT Second Life classroom space a little make over. You can see some of the "before and after" screen shots.

New Classroom Space from the Student's Perspective

New Classroom Space from the Instructor's Perspective

Old Classroom Space from Instructor's Perspective

Once again, I am going to be discussing how Second Life can be used from a corporate perspective and how designers need to leverage the strengths of the space. We have even included a "first responder" obstacle course teaching the concepts of team work and coordination within the 3D world all on our island...quite an upgrade.

Special thanks to Matt Monahan and Heather Gee! Great work!

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