Guest Speaker … Alec Couros

It was great to have our fearless leader Alec Couros as our presenting speaker this week.  I’m not sure if his U-stream username (Courosalt) was a name for an alternate login or the name of a traditional steak seasoning passed down in his family.  (Boo… sorry… weak attempt at humour.)  Nonetheless, the session was – as always – very thought provoking. 

I especially enjoyed the picture and discussion of Alec’s daughter conceptualizing shadows, liquids, transparency, etc while being splashed with water.  My immediate thoughts were about how my understanding of the learning process has grown exponentially since becoming a parent.  Catching those learning moments at such a young age has brought new meaning to my life.  And with it, new perspective of the ways by which we learn. 

Alec briefly discussed his views on Second Life and Rob added a few questions in the chat.  Alec mentioned that SL is likely a technology that you would have to seriously immerse yourself into in order to fully understand it’s value.  In many ways I would agree.  In the chat, there seemed to be a split between those who saw educational value with Second Life, and those who didn’t.  Perhaps that has to do with how fully immersed we have been in the technology.  Perhaps not.  Here are some of my thoughts about SL after some further exploration in the metaverse.

Even if a tour through Second Life was planned out very well and students were familiar with the program, there are still many things that hold Second Life back from being a revolutionary technology.  Many of these setbacks will be overcome as technologies evolve, but as it is right now, SL may not be as revolutionary as was hoped. 

Many of the screens that are used to display information through slide-shows and videos are often quite blurry and can take a long time to ‘res’.  Even after they have become clear, it is often difficult to have that display on your screen so that it is at a good size and angle.

I’ve often found flying, or driving vehicles to be very choppy, and so have decided just to walk around in the metaverse.  Even so, I find the controls somewhat cumbersome and not necessarily intuitive.

I’m sure that many of these difficulties could be overcome if I had a better processor and a better video card.  However, I have a decent (school board provided, not top-of-the-line) laptop, and would assume that many other users would experience similar trouble.

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