Virtual representation of information

Watching Twitter (as you do) I was quite taken by this quick post from Michael Wiebrands about the use of Unity 5 Personal Edition, to test out an information idea in a virtual environment – I mean really virtual, not just online!

So the first test combining Trove and Unity, resulted in a cool looking Virtual Archive Using Trove API. The idea was to represent the data in a similar way to the visualisation scenes in the 1995 movie “The Hackers”. The content is Curtin University JCPML images pulled in realtime from Trove via their API and animated on the servers/buildings.

Pretty cool video of the virtual outcome to my non-IT eyes!

The Virtual World of Gifted Kids

Following my last past on virtual worlds and their place in the learning environment in our schools, I was pleased to learn from James Corbett about  an Irish initiative in primary schools that also provides a source of inspiration to us ‘downunder‘.

Daynuv is  an Irish social enterprise working in partnership with GiftedKids.ie in  primary schools  to bring virtual worlds into education. Not surprisingly, they are seeing some tremendous results.

At the Gaelscoil Eoghain uí Thuairisc in Carlow, Ireland where lessons are taught in Irish they are implementing the use of 3D technology for the learning support of gifted children. This is the first time that this technology has been used in Ireland to teach part of the school curriculum. The interactivity and detail of the 3D technology means that anything you can do or build in the real world can be replicated in this virtual world.   The Virtual World of Gifted Kids.

Now that their pilot program has been a success they are  planning on rolling the project out nationwide in 2011 and  will be  looking to make links with schools internationally. They use Opensim too,  which has the  advantages of the Hypergrid protocol which makes possible the option to teleport ( have  virtual field trips) between schools. Using Opensim, schools can safely collaborate with each other, and grow their virtual networks at a pace that suits their student’s own learning needs.

It’s  great to see groups and organisations helping to promote virtual worlds learning environments!

Virtual Worlds are genuinely real spaces for learning

The school year is rushing to an end. Amazingly, we’re soon closing off the first decade of the new century that was going to be our hallmark of innovation and change. We promised ourselves we would put industrial models of schooling behind us.

For some this leap into new modes of learning is more than they can take on. For others it’s the natural extension of what learning has to be for our connected, mobile-enhanced learners.

I hope the next decade brings magical things for us all.

One thing we know is that we need to bring ‘out of school’ gaming and virtual worlds activities into the daily learning cyles of our students. We need to bring back the connections between school and home, and be prepared to provide environments that are authentic to the technology use of our students.

Here’s an article titled Virtual Worlds are genuinely real spaces for learning which I’ve had published in the recent issue of Access, the national journal of  the Australian School Library Association.   Have a read!

Thank you to my various friends and colleagues who so willingly shared their knowledge and information about their own explorations of virtual learning environments.

Learning in a changing world series is out!

It’s been rather slow in the making, but finally the new series commissioned by ALIA and ASLA is available to order from the ACER shop online.

The Learning in a Changing World series addresses how the process of learning is evolving – including the array of resources available in the digital age, changing curriculum, and the different teaching strategies needed in order to use new media and technologies.

The Learning in a Changing World series presents the core areas for teacher librarians and school leaders to consider for 21st century learning: the digital world, virtual worlds, curriculum integration, resourcing, and the physical environment. All are essential elements to enable and empower our students to be lifelong learners and active participants in our society.

I was lucky to work on the first two books in the series with my good friend Dean Groom.  Books like the two we worked on can never stay completely current – but then they are not ‘how to’ guides so much as ‘why you should’  and ‘why you can’ guides. There is enough thought provoking information for readers to leverage and  help innovation and change in their own schools.

Connect, Communicate, Collaborate

Our students are involved in an ‘architecture of participation’ – creating, adapting and sharing content. While for them this learning is a comfortable multimodal conversation, for us this change is revolutionary. Schools and school libraries have many challenges to address to create a renewal of pedagogy and technology work practices. As we begin to understand the importance of these seismic shifts, we come to the realisation that we are being challenged to un-learn and re-learn in order to grant students access to 21st century learning.

Connect, Communicate, Collaborate is written to provide the knowledge, inspiration and motivation to get you started.

Many thanks go to  Michael Stephens for generously  contributing the Forward to this work.

Virtual Worlds

Each year there are more and more avatars in rich virtual environments. These immersive worlds – where the world within the screen becomes both the object and the site of interaction – are on the increase, matching the promise of technology with the creative minds of our students. Educators, keen to incorporate the evolving literacy and information needs of 21st century learners, will want to understand the opportunities provided by MUVEs, MMORPGs and 3D immersive worlds, so as to be able to create more interactive library, educational and cultural projects. The challenge is to accept that these interactive environments are here to stay and that schools can, and should, embrace learning in virtual worlds.

Virtual worlds will provide the knowledge, inspiration and motivation to get you started.

Many thanks to Peggy Sheehy for generously contributing the Forward to this work.

Join us in the Second Classroom: Educators Learning in Virtual Worlds and share your virtual learning journey!

Others in the series

Other volumes in the series include Curriculum Integration , Resourcing for Curriculum Innovation, and Designing the Learning Environment.

Enjoy!

A new look to your Second Life

Second Life Viewer 2, now in beta, is the next generation of Second Life viewers that makes it easy to explore and socialize in Second Life with a familiar, browser-like experience, enhanced search, and fully integrated web-based media capabilities. Test Drive Second Life Viewer 2, Now in Beta by downloading here.

Web 2.0 in Libraries – 2D and 3D

Thanks to Sheila Webber for providing a constant flow of information related to libraries. Her Information Literacy Weblog provides real up-to-date gems year after year – she saves me time I must say!

I have also always enjoyed Sheila’s photography that provides a nice contrast to the steady information flow.

Two recent posts to worth picking up on:

2D Libraries

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) launched two new guidance toolkits at the annual SLIC Further Education Conference, on 3 December. One of them was A Guide to Using Web 2.0 in Libraries. Add this to your report collection/bibliography!

3D Libraries

Event in the virtual world, Second Life.

When: Monday 14 December 2009, 8am-9am SL time (for

times elsewhere see http://tinyurl.com/yff6e96 )  (oops, I’m not likely to make a 3am meetup!)
Where: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Infolit%20iSchool/127/244/21/
You need a SL avatar and the SL browser to participate

Kim Zwiers (Kim Holmberg in RL) “Researcher, lecturer, entrepreneur” from Abo Akademi, Finland will give a presentation (in voice) and lead a discussion (in text chat).
See http://kimholmberg.fi/tag/library-2-0/
http://www.slideshare.net/kholmber/presentations

Mixed Reality Presentations

I’ve just picked up some information about Mixed Reality Presentations that might be worth checking out. The [Zone] Touch Screen Media Television with Searchable YouTube and Fl… is worth testing.

What’s special about this in-world media TV?

James O’Reilly explains:

“You can substitute the uploading of Powerpoint texture slides into Second Life for L$10 each, and stream a Flickr slideshow into Second Life for presentation purposes for free. When in standby mode, the default screen can be replaced with your own picture by dropping a texture into the contents of the TV. This thus enables mixed reality presentations using Flickr as repository”.

That’s cool!