Wednesday, December 09, 2009

ReactionGrid Opens Up New Vistas for Teaching and Learning


If you follow my blog Oh!VirtualLearning! you may already know that I have been appointed facilitator of the new ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Special Interest Group for Virtual Environments. Certainly you know of my interest in this amazing, complex, fascinating (and enabling on so many levels) development in online communcation. As SIGVE "Poobah," I enjoy the company of a great many educators more capable than myself in our effort to help make some sense out of all the myriad virtual worlds out in the metaverse, to assess their value (or lack of it) for learning and teaching, and to collaborate on innovative efforts that leverage their functionalities toward the betterment of education.

At last year's National Educational Computing Conference, or NECC, in Washington, D.C., it was announced that future conferences held by ISTE would do away with the NECC name, that the next annual conference would be named "ISTE 2010," establishing the new naming convention for future years, and that it would be held in one of my favorite cities in the world, Denver, Colorado.

I am excited to be planning already for ISTE 2010, and even more so that I received in my email this morning the notice that my Presenter's login is now available, along with a link to it and to my presentation, the Virtual Environments Birds-of-a-feather session, so that I could provide a description for the program. Another email contained news that friend Jan Zanetis's proposal for a "panel of experts" on Distance Learning has been accepted, and she's somehow managed to add me to that panel. I truly do always tell people interested in virtual environments that there is no such thing as an expert, and if you are talking to someone who claims to be one, the best course of action is to run screaming from the room. Still, I'm flattered, of course, and it'll be fun to join Jan, Kecia Ray, Scott Parks, Howie DiBlasi, and Cathi Swan for an hour of fast talking about the future of distance education, and to do it for a target audience of school and district administrators.

If you've read this far, you deserve a little "Easter egg," and here it is: I've entered OpenSim's ReactionGrid by purchasing a region of my very own, and I'm calling it "Scottsperiment."
Here's a SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Scottsperiment/128/128/26 . Note that you must be logged into ReactionGrid to make that link work. Visit ReactionGrid's website to download a viewer that is compatible with OpenSim and come explore. I'll be posting more information as soon as I've finished my initial terraforming and land parceling. It's going to be fun...

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