Posted on February 1, 2007 by bookwyrmish
I’d like to give it to the girls in the third grade, and to a couple of Middle School students.
I have been experimenting with my new avatars at Club Penguin and on Second Life, learning how to navigate in these virtual worlds. (I’ll have more to blog about them, soon.) I have to do this exploration at home, not because of any restriction the school imposes on me, but because of our school’s wonderful, scenic, rural location. The school’s internet access comes via satellite. There are no plans for anything else. No cable. No DSL. Certainly no T1 line. We’re just too far out. Satellite’s inherent lag time does not allow for users to interact with others over it on-line in real-time. Satellite isn’t good enough for virtual reality, for Club Penguin, or Second Life. I am lucky to live in a town 15 miles away, where my street recently acquired dsl service.
I’m seeing the possibilities of our new, “flat world.” But just as the web 1.0 and 2.0 flattened the world, web 3.0 (3-d?) could disjunct it – many of my students are experiencing geographic or economic isolation.
Not only do I see the need for our rural students to have a better internet connection than they have available just to participate in these online developments, some of these web3-D experiences demand a very powerful computer, too.
Strangely, it happens that all of the girls in 3rd grade only have phone modem access at home. All of the boys in the third grade not only have access, they all have Club Penguin accounts. The boys are talking about “chatting” and “logging on to particular servers” and “taking virtual tours” and “buddy lists,” and the girls are just—quiet.
Some of our students are living in a different world (out by the cowfields).
How do I give them a genuine experience and the skills and savvy they are missing out on? They have all enjoyed pencil and paper role plays for safe online chatting with a game I made up (avoid, evade, confront, etc.), although only the boys will be applying those skills anytime soon. And really, no 3rd grade girls’ parents are probably anxious for their children to start chatting on-line! But, eventually …
When these girls do finally get access, they will feel less comfortable than their male peers, their classmates will be worlds ahead of them. They will not know how to manipulate their avatars, about how to choose buddies, how to log on to particular servers, etc. Play is an effective way to acquire and remember those technical skills (remember how the Windows Minesweeper and solitaire games that came with the pc got you to practice using a mouse?). I know that I felt the need to learn to use my keyboard in a whole new way in Second Life…using keys as controls for movements, triggers for camera angles, and such. Because I’ve never practiced using the keyboard that way before this point, I’ll probably always play those games with a certain clumsiness.
So, when I read a recent post by Scott Mcleod
“I think we also need a BHAG: a big, hairy, audacious goal. … I’ve been thinking a lot about this and I can’t come up with anything better than this:
1. ubiqitous nationwide high-speed wireless Internet access, and
2. a wireless-capable laptop for every student and educator.”
I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone with really big money reads his blog? Do you think I should send a copy along to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with an invitation to put a T1 line through to a small, not-for-profit school in rural PA?
I wonder if the Foundation has a kiosk, or island, in Second Life where I can make contact?
No Comments »
Filed under: BHAG, club_penguin, education, Second Life, social, web3-d, Web3D