Articles Tagged with virtual worlds

image025Kid’s virtual world Club Penguin has fallen short of the high-flying projections made when Disney purchased them 3 years ago.

Read this New York Times piece from today for the details.

I can’t say I’m surprised by the result. CP always seemed thin on the engagement side – dress your penguin and run around and “speak” pre-approved phrases. More than user driven media. The tip off should have been when old model Disney snapped them up – the model made sense to them.


Virtual Reality and Education have a long and checkered history.

On-line worlds give students opportunities to experience things that would be too expensive, too dangerous, or too time consuming in the “real” world. It allows us to distill an experience into it’s essence while allowing learners to be active agents rather than passive recipients.

That said I would argue that the word “virtual” has little or no meaning for today’s students. It is an artifact from a time when the internet was not a pervasive presence. In todays on-line social spaces teens are making friends, sharing experiences, flirting, competing, earning status, and defining their identities. There is very little that is “virtual” about any of this for them – it is just one more aspect of reality.

Does real learning happen in virtual worlds? 190593_light_bulb_2

Cable in the Classroom Magazine published an article I wrote on this topic in their March issue.

The premise is:

“There have always been scientific concepts our children should experience that are too dangerous, too expensive, or too time-consuming for school. For these activities – some of the most thought provoking in science – we have had to settle for lectures and reading.

Virtual worlds change this equation. In a virtual world, students can use million dollar apparatus, experiment with lethal substances, and compress years of activity into a few weeks….”

The article goes on to describe how the Texas Workforce Commission is using Whyville as an outreach vehicle for biotechnology. It also addresses why virtual worlds are particularly attractive to tweens because of where they are developmentally.

If you have thoughts on what I wrote leave a comment here and I’ll respond.

Download the complete article (PDF) by clicking on the image to the right.Cic0308Virtualworlds

All the links referenced in the article are below the fold – continue reading to see them.

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Education marketers have been slow to adopt wikis, blogs, social networks, and virtual worlds. There are valid reasons for this (see below), but it is time for us as an industry to begin embracing these tools. In this series I’m going to explore the industry context, the gestalt, and some concrete ideas to help you get started down this path.

Over the past year I have been asking people “what is the first thing you do in Amazon after you make sure you have the product you were seeking?” The almost universal answer is that people scroll down to look at the user generated comments. This is the power of Web 2.0 at work – what your peers have to say on a subject is far more important than anything a company might say.

There are two primary reasons the education industry should be employing Web 2.0 tools:

Jessica Hagy - IndexedTechnology & Learning On-Line has launched a set of forums on education technology issues. For some odd reason they selected me to moderate the Games and Virtual Worlds Forum. As the graphic shows teaching and learning is about a conversation, so lets get one going over there.

MaestroC got the ball rolling by stating that Second Life is the best platform and that games for education are a fad. Agree, disagree, keep it polite and lets all learn together. See my response on the forum and ad your own!

There is also a quick poll on which kind of game player you are. Several years ago Richard Bartle articulated the four primary styles of game play and a theory about how to balance them. Take the poll and see where you fit with your peers.