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April 01, 2008

Entry 2: Experiential Learning 2.0 ... A series of short entries about the nexus of collaboration technology and education

Today at 9:00 am, Larry Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium testifies in Washington, D.C. on virtual worlds like SecondLife as a platform technology and its potential impact on the future of education. Since the mid-80s when psychologists like Sherry Turkle offered insights into Life on the Screen, the convergence of the physical and synthetic worlds has been a reality for now two generations of learners. Learning environments like SecondLife provide those engaged with the unique perspective of 'being there' in a powerful yet playful way that can facilitate profound learning through faculty mentoring, peer learning, active learning strategies, time-on-task, and the communicating of high expectations that students will themselves participate in the making of their own education experience.

As Johnson points out in his testimony:

Over the past two years, an estimated 4,000 educational projects have emerged within Second Life alone, and of the 13,400 regions in Second Life that were active at the time of this writing, more than 1,400 of them were being operated by bona fide educational institutions. Add to this more than a hundred other projects on open-source platforms like Project Wonderland, Qwak, and Croquet.

Education is growing so fast in virtual worlds that it is no longer possible to maintain an accurate list of all the examples of education and training that exist. Immersive, high-fidelity examples can be found in dozens of fields and disciplines, and the list grows daily. Among the fields in which many examples may be easily found are these:

Emergency Response Homeland Security Health Care and Wellness Biotechnology Nanotechnology Government Outreach Civic Participation Cultural Awareness Global Warming The Environment and Ecological Action Civic & Economic Development Business Languages and Cultures The Arts

Here at Case Western Reserve University, we have embraced active and structured experimentation with SecondLife and the Virtual Worlds movement. As evidenced in the short video below, here at Case Western Reserve, in addition to embracing the opportunity to join the real world of the physical and the synthetic for purposes of traditional learning we are also committed to extending our educational technology investments to touch our community and institutional partners as part of the journey.

Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio
April 1, 2008

Posted by lsg8 at April 1, 2008 08:25 AM and tagged

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