Rich’s Blog: The real virtual world gold rush centers on the grammar-school set

New Yorks Times piece on virtual worlds for the grammar school kiddos: [tinyurl.com] “Get ready for total inundation,” said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at the research firm eMarketer, who estimates that 20 million children will be members of a virtual world by 2011, up from 8.2 million today. Worlds like Webkinz, where children care for stuffed animals that come to life, have become some of the Web’s fastest-growing businesses. More than six million unique visitors logged on to Webkinz in November, up 342 percent from November 2006, according to ComScore Media Metrix, a research firm. These trends should help the adaption rate of Edusim on interactive whiteboards/tablets in the K-12 classroom.

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Rich’s Blog: The future of interactive surfaces in the classroom

Wikipedia information Research has been carried out to track the worldwide Interactive Whiteboard market by Decision Tree Consulting (DTC) a worldwide research company * Interactive Whiteboards continue to be the biggest technology revolution in classrooms * Across the world there are over 750,000 boards installed * Over 3 million classrooms are forecast to have Interactive Whiteboards installed by 2010 * UK is the biggest market with annual sales of 100k and 300k boards installed in around 75% of classrooms * MexicoÂ’s Enciclomedia project to equip 145,000 classrooms is worth US$1.8 billion and is the largest education technology project in the world

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Rich’s Blog: Why Should We Learn By Doing? – Schools competing for students imaginations

[www.engines4ed.org] My Observations: The Kids got a Wii this Christmas – so we un-boxed and set it up. The graphics are not what PS3 and XBox has to offer – but the interface is amazingly intuitive. The kinetic/movement method to complete game tasks is amazingly powerful I have observed – Watching kids learn is an amazing experience … and devices like this have this sort of kinetic value that is hard to explain. The Natural input to explore and modify virtual objects seems so powerful as I watch the kids move in natural ways to accomplish virtual tasks. It seems Obvious physically touching the surface to move & interact with he objects are the next evolutionary steps – and perhaps a glove type of device to provide texture to those touched objects. As I watch it occurs to me that…

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Smarttech meets with Greenbush to discuss Edusim – 3D environments

Smarttech made a visit to Greenbush Dec. 19th to observe the Edusim project – and discuss the possibility of bringing it (or something very similar – possibly a Qwaq forums service) into the Smarttech suite of products. The Edusim work is helping not just students, and teachers envision the potential of 3D virtual environments as learning tools, but the hardware makers also are imagining what a classroom might be like with robust Edusim like lessons on surfaces and 1:1 student tablets in the classroom.

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Rich’s Blog: Interactive Surfaces are to 3D spaces what a mouse is to the GUI

"Interactive Surfaces are to 3D Spaces What a Mouse is to the GUI" The importance of touch: [en.wikipedia.org] Gibson (1966) defines the haptic system as "The sensibility of the individual to the world adjacent to his body by use of his body". The haptic perceptual system is unusual in that it can include the sensory receptors from the whole body and is closely linked to the movement of the body so can have a direct effect on the world being perceived. The concept of haptic perception is closely allied to the concept of active touch that realizes that more information is gathered when a motor plan (movement) is associated with the sensory system, and that of extended physiological proprioception a realization that when using a tool such as a stick, the perception is transparently transferred to the end of the…

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Rich’s Blog: Edusim leads others to try Croquet worlds on surfaces (kinda)

Edusim leads others to try Croquet worlds on surfaces (kinda) [www.edutechie.com] Our vision for haptics in Croquet/Virtual Environments have not gone un-noticed either ! [rich.greenbush.us] Though our belief that touching the interactive whiteboard surface is haptic in nature (that it provides touch feedback) in and of itself – the need for the future surface to provide more feedback via mini electrical pulses would highten the user/educational experience Or via a haptic stylus like the one we covered a few months ago – [www.merl.com]

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Technology trends – education – and why it matters ****

When todays student’s are tomorrow adults, technology literacy will be (is) as important as any skill they can learn in school today – what are the trends likely to bring to them? (1) 700 mhz auction – will ensure low cost wireless broadband internet connections to everyone with a device. (3) “Touch & multi-touch” surfaces will not only make an impact on the new phones – but surface in general will be smarter – walls, tables – allowing direct manipulation of virtual objects – and my belief is un-wavering that virtual environments will ultimately benefit most by the direct manipulation surfaces (as they become main stream and abundant). (4) Hardware will become smaller, more powerful, and we will become more dependent on our tiny communication devices (5) Content is either mobile – immersive – or convenient ======

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Duke Receives Mellon Award for leadership and development work to advance Croquet

_ Via [jlombardi.blogspot.com] Today, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Duke University a $100,000 prize for leadership and development work to advance Croquet in the open source. The prize was one of ten presented as part of the second annual Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration (MATC) which are given each year to not‐for‐profit organizations for leadership in the collaborative development of open source software tools with application to scholarship in the arts and humanities. Congratulations Julian ! Looking forward to more wonderful things from the Croquet Consortium !

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Stars aligning for the ultra mobile internet revolution – starts other movements ****

_ As the stars start to align on the “ultra mobile internet revolution” a few things to monitor (1) 700 mhz auction – providers opening up their networks (past labs posts – [rich.greenbush.us]) (2) “gPhone” Android runs the new phone (Linux on the low end) (3) “Touch & multi-touch” starts in the phone – ends up everywhere – tables spawn a new life ! (4) Small powerful cheap “mini-laptops” – roll over, start to crawl [eeepc.asus.com] (5) If its not mobile – its immersive (or its convenient)

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Accessing Edusim Lessons – `sharing the cache`

_ We have modified how we share Edusim lessons for a few reasons: (1) Development time will be decreased allowing us to get new lessons out sooner (2) Downloads will be much smaller by us only sharing the cache directory of the lessons world (3) It may lead to other users sharing their “cache” work in similar ways and linking to them via the Edusim users forum To enable downloaded lessons:

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