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Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Reflections on What Could Be Isolation, But Isn't

I'm experiencing an ongoing therapeutic program designed to promote resilience in this time of societal retreat. Thankfully, my school district is footing the bill, and I admire that in an employer. Thank you Metro Nashville Public Schools.

The online platform is called Tiatros. I haven't done my research to understand the etymology of that word, but I should. Heck, let me pop out right now...

Hmmm. Makes sense. You can read the founder's story of the digital startup for yourself. But here's a  definition, thank you Google, from Wiktionary:

From English theatreFrench théâtreGerman TheaterItalian, and Spanish teatroRussian теа́тр (teátr), from Latin theātrum, from Ancient Greek θέατρον (théatrona place for viewing).
teatro (accusative singular teatronplural teatrojaccusative plural teatrojn)
  1. a building where theatrical productions are performed, theater (theatre(building)
  1. everyone related to such a building, collectively (its actors, set designers, administrators, etc.)
  1. the art of theater
Derived terms See also
  • kinejo (movie theater)
Like I say, it makes sense: Essentially, the core concept of the therapy, which includes some lecture video, some meditative audio, and some reflection in answer to questions about one's life, is that telling and sharing one's story is a healing process. I tend to agree. Anyway, I want to share one part of my story that I shared in answer to a question about a difficult effort in my life, one that has not yet been fully realized and may never be. Here it is, copied and pasted from my online response:
 I have been advocating for being "together at a distance" through virtual worlds for nearly all of the twenty-five years I have been a teaching. I had elementary school students in a space called Quest Atlantis twenty years ago, and I recognized the value of immersive synchronous learning environments so strongly that I founded ISTE's Virtual Environments Network with at its core a network of educators primarily meeting in Second Life, a massive online avatar community where I have met many thought leaders who have become cherished colleagues and friends. That work still goes on, as the PLN's mission has expanded to all digital realities. I lead a daily get-together in a range of virtual spaces as we speak, today in Engage, which offers a platform on computer but primarily on 3D goggle devices, to watch educational TEDTalks and discuss them. A handful of educators from all over the world have spent two weeks in Second Life, then two in VirBELA, then these two in Engage, experiencing being together at a distance in different ways. We'll be in AltspaceVR the next two weeks then lord knows where after that. There are over 70 virtual synchronous worlds at latest count. Maybe we'll see them all. Getting the Education mainstream to pay attention has been a challenge but  I'm still plugging away, with a little help from my friends. Yes, it's been difficult and confusing, until it's not. Google all that. It's a thing, and in this time when we should be exploring and considering new alternatives for learning, it's a powerful thing.
There. I got that off my chest. Now I'm sharing it with you, emphasis added in post-production. I just laughed a little. Stay well and safe.

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