The center of Deja Vu Volcano
Cyberloom has recently met a number of educators who express anxiety about the World Wide Web with its social networking sites and virtual worlds. They are particularly concerned by the stories they have heard about Second Life. This platform has many parallels with the early days of the internet, and like the internet is often portrayed as a haven of sex and debauchery. (At the very least, virtual worlds are seen as distractions taking students away from their studies.) There is no smoke without fire, but perhaps it is also the sign of a viable new communication system when the sex industry runs in to exploit it? And another indicator is when educators run in to exploit the same medium for educational purposes?
‘Ritual Circle’ by Ian Palente on show at Art INTERSECTIONS
The history of Distance Education is a history of communication technology and as Michael Moore and Greg Kearsley say in their book Distance Education: A Systems View (2005) the Internet and World Wide Web provide Fifth Generation Distance Education. Moore and Kearsley suggest Correspondence Courses made up the First Generation, radio and television the Second; Open Universities the Third; and teleconferencing the Fourth Generation. I am sure I am not alone in thinking that Web 2.0 with podcasting, social networking, virtual worlds and virtual classrooms are Sixth Generation Distance Education? There are already a number of educational institutions working within Second Life and that number is steadily increasing. Take a look at Institutions and Organizations in Second Life to see a list of educational establishments and organizations already exploring this platform.
Avatars gather at the Dakota Playhouse, Deadwood (1876)
Now, by venturing into Second Life and returning with photographs for my blog I am participating in a long tradition of education through photography. Victorians took photographs of distant lands, science and nature then presented their images to genteel society as an early form of ‘edu-tainment’.
Cyberloom sitting on a coffee molecule at sunrise. (Location: Science Education Island Second Nature)
Perhaps my pictures and blog will help shift some preconceived notions? Hum… so does that mean Cyberloom could possibly be a form of edu-tainment for genteel bloggers? No… the truth is this genteel blog is edu-tainment for Cyberloom.