Lively Google (second) life – don’t miss this!

Have been saying for some time now that our online experiences are going to become more and more 3D. Yes, we need to explore all the options – which is why we are looking at Teen Second life as a co-curricular learning experience for our students ‘in world’ at Skoolaborate. Another option for our Year 7 students will be Quest Atlantis. But kids will get into anything that is going, so I am going to watch this closely!

Like the beginnings of the web, when we first learnt about ‘www’ searching, and visual interfaces, it is time for us now to turn our educators thoughts towards emerging 3D environments. No, we can’t put it off any longer! There are many options of course, but the most recent entry into this from Google Labs (for PC only at this stage) is Google Lively.

Second Life requires users to download and install a separate “client” software package that taps into the online world. Lively also requires a download and installation–Windows only for now–but then people can use Internet Explorer or Firefox to enter the virtual world.

Integration with the ordinary Internet takes several forms. For one thing, you can pipe in content hosted elsewhere on the Internet, including photos or videos. For another, you can embed your Lively area into your blog or, using widgets Google has written, on MySpace and Facebook Web pages. And you can e-mail your friends a normal Web address to get them to join. You can set up you own online spaces–rooms, grassy meadows, desert islands, and you can change the clothing or form of your avatar. And of course you can chat, do backflips, or whatever takes your fancy. Check out the rooms, apparel and accessories at the product catalogue. Read more about it from Ars Technicha (the art of technology).

Guardian Tech says:

At the moment, Lively doesn’t support user-generated content, so you’re stuck with whatever is available in the Google catalogue (click the “Shop for more” button),,,,,it’s another step in Google’s plan to achieve world domination…..

There are already a couple of systems like this around, such as Pelican Crossing, SceneCaster, Imvu, Meez and RocketOn (still in a closed alpha). But Google, like Microsoft, can use its market power to get Lively in front of a lot more eyeballs.

So, is this an important part of Google’s mission to “organize the world’s information”? Or is it just a cheap knock-off that will be binned by Christmas?

This is definitley another 3D thing to check out. Truth is, if it is a Google product, students will grab it and play with it, as they did with Sketch-up and Maps. Watch out world!

Google for newbie Web 2.0 teachers

I like to point out obvious tools to teachers to discover – and challenge their thinking about Web platform tools. So here’s a little reminder to keep an eye out for good Google tools.

Too many teachers know about ‘googling‘, but don’t know enough about what else is worth using for Google tools.

googlemore.jpgSo remember, when you go to do a Google search, look up at the top left-hand corner and discover a few other tools – the magic one to follow is the little word “more“.

Most teachers are already know about images, maps, Gmal…but more?

Yes, there are a few other very useful goodies. But then what about “even more“?

That’s a page that all smart 21C teachers should visit and come to grips with! Not necessarily to use them…but to be aware of what these represent..the required pervasiveness of Web 2.0 tools in our daily educational practice.

Check out Google Notebook, and Google Scholar - if you haven’t already done so. There are many Google tools that deserve attention and discussion. How could we use them? What other ‘brand’ tools might be a better choice? What are the tips for good pedagogical integration?

What you’ll also notice on the full listing page is that sometimes a new tool appears with the label New! right next to it. Google Notebook has that right now.

Did you know that this doesn’t really mean ‘totally new‘ but rather that the tool is no longer in beta phase?

Indeed!

Google Labs are the place where the up-and-coming tools can be found. Checking out Google Labs is a great way for teachers to find out about some of the future trends.

I wanted to highlight this information about Google because Google is everywhere – especially where teachers haven’t moved beyond the “go and do some research on the internet” phase of online instruction.

Google is more than a search tool or email facility. Know what else Google actually is, and then develop a good sense of discernment – so that you can determine whether a Google tool or another tool is the best for your particular learning and teaching need!

That’s a fun series of PD sessions for you to try out?

Hmmm, might do that myself later in the year too :-)