Synergy and Emergent Behavior

 Synergy (from the Greek syn-ergos???????? meaning working together) is the term used to describe a situation where different entities cooperate advantageously for a final outcome. Simply defined, it means that the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Although the whole will be greater than each individual part, this is not the concept of synergy. If used in a business application it means that teamwork will produce an overall better result than if each person was working toward the same goal individually. 

In philosophysystems theory and scienceemergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems 


Psychology is not applied biology, nor is biology applied chemistry. We can now see that the whole becomes not merely more, but very different from the sum of its parts.”(Anderson 1972)


Edusim Makes the Trendhunters Magazine List in “13 Innovative Whiteboards of the Future”

-Via Trendhunter Magazine 

 Ever wondered what whiteboards of the future might look like? This cluster offers insight into some of the visual demonstration boards we might see in classrooms, offices and even homes of the future.Although whiteboards of the future will no doubt vary from the designs seen here, these innovative products hint at unlimited potential in innovative displays to come.


Drew and Edusim 

Mobile Immersive Applications Finally Wont make you Cross Eyed

Been following this one for about a year now (Notes about the IPod Touch (prposed new size) & Unity) and today Techcrunch is reporting:

So what other details are there? Well, the device will apparently have a 10-inch screen (slightly bigger than the 7 to 9 inch screen prototypes our sources had seen). It will also have built-in 3G wireless access. This is where things start to get really interesting, because there have long been rumors of Apple talking with Verizon about a device that was not the iPhone. Apple, of course, has an exclusive deal in the U.S. with AT&T for the iPhone through next year, but there have been no shortage of whispers in recent weeks that it’s not just us that is displeased with AT&T, but that Apple is as well. And Yesterday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made a comment indicating that the iPhone would not be AT&T exclusive forever, perhaps indicating that the end is near for the exclusivity of the partnership.

Another interesting partnership element is behind what will power this new device. It had long been assumed that Intel’s Atom chips would be used in such a device, but more recent reports have indicated that Apple has instead used its acquisition of chip-maker PA Semi last year to produce its own, custom-tailored chips. AppleInsider is indicating the same thing. These chips would supposedly handle the device’s power consumption better than the Atoms would.

But will it have a camera? .. stay tuned

SimSnail – Augmented Reality Learning

Visitors can watch as they wave cards in front of the camera to bring life to a colony of 3D snails that live, breed and get eaten by predators right in front of their eyes. The experience is designed to be flexible and playful, allowing you to modify aspects of the environment to see how the population adapts. Visitors can affect the landscape, reproduction cycle and even the rate of mutation in the snail population by simply holding up a printed card in the air. The inner workings of the simulation can be inspected by using similar symbols that cause dynamic

The First Annual Immersive Education Day: Kansas/Missouri

The First Annual Immersive Education Day: Kansas/Missouri

Welcome to the first annual Immersive Education Day (iED) Kansas/Missouri.  iED Kansas/Missouri is sponsored by the Southeast Kansas Education Service Center at Greenbush and the Immersive Education Initiative.  The event is intended primarily for K-12 virtual world educators. The goal of this conference is to:

  • Showcase virtual world technology for education (Opensim, Wonderland, Open Cobalt, ActiveWorlds, Secondlife, and others)

  • Share best practices

  • Share taxonomies and pedagogies

  • Share resources

  • Connect with like minded educators

 We aim to keep this event open, non-formal,  and conversational.  If at any time through the day you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to ask any of the presenters or Greenbush staff in attendance.  The flexible itinerary of the day:

  • 9:00-9:50 – Aaron Walsh: Welcome and Introduction

  • 10:00 – 10:50 – Rich White: Greenbush, Virtual Worlds & Immersive Education Platforms

  • 11:00 – 11:50 – Elizabeth Wellman & Cathy Arreguin: Real Teaching in Virtual Worlds

  • 12:00-1:00 – Lunch & Geodome Tours

  • 1:00 – 1:50 – Jeff Lowe: Collaboration Tools for OpenSim and Second Life: A Tour and Assessment

  • 1:00 – 1:50 – Daniel Green: Education with Alice and Project Wonderland

  • 3:00 – 3:50 – Greenbush IDL Team: CSI Development Team Tours CSI on Opensim

  • 4:00 – 5:00 – Tour the Geodome

Presenters:Aaron Walsh: Aaron Walsh is Director of the Media Grid and Immersive Education Initiative, an international best-selling author, and a Boston College faculty member. In 2006 Walsh received the Teaching with New Media award for his work on Immersive Education. In 2007 Computerworld named him one of the forty most innovative people in the technology industry. He received this prestigious national award for his pioneering work on Immersive Education, which was recognized as “…innovative, promising technology which holds the potential to significantly affect society in the near future.”  After more than a decade of research and development in the field, Walsh began using his prototype technologies to teach Boston College courses from a distance. At that time he coined the term “Immersive Education” to describe learning platforms that combine interactive 3D graphics, commercial game and simulation technology, virtual reality, voice chat, Web cameras, and rich digital media with collaborative online course environments and classrooms

Rich White: Rich is the Immersive Ed. and Collaborative Media Designer, Developer, & Researcher for the Greenbush Education Service Center in Southeast Kansas.  Rich is the designer of the Edusim classroom project, a member of the OpenCobalt development team, and an educational liaison for the Immersive Education Initiative. Rich has focused his work on classroom collaboration and immersive visualization software and hardware solutions and is currently working on the “Mobile Immersive Learning Lab” concept – a low cost immersive hardware solution for group based learning that uses open source 3D virtual world software for rapid environment development.  Rich also manages and writes the Greenbush Labs blog which focuses on emerging and innovative classroom and learning technologies.

Beth Wellman
Beth investigates learning using evolving technology environments. This has led her to explore immersive learning and virtual worlds, first as content/learning expert on Science in Second Life with Global Kids where students explored a variety of ecological scenarios. Most recently in her own high school science classroom she developed virtual world curriculum for learning human body systems and creating habitats and biomes. She started investigating immersive learning and the use of simulation (SimCity) in the classroom as a professor at Bard College (NY). She has worked with K-2 students on peer to peer learning with computers across cultural and language differences (Apple Education Grant) and led teachers in designing, developing and researching technology use for their own classrooms (AT&T Learning Networks Initiative) both at UCLA. She has also taught online classes in graphics in the classroom for Framingham State College, MA. She has an Ed.D Ed Psych, UCLA, in technology for learning and instruction, and a M.A. from the UMass Math, Science, Technology Education Project. 

Cathy Arreguin: Cathy develops instruction and supports educators in the uses of emerging educational technologies for both K-12 and higher education. She currently provides professional development training and support for San Diego State University faculty and administrators in their use of Second Life and other virtual worlds. She also teaches EDTEC700 3D-MULEs (Multiuser Learning Environments) and provides support for other Educational Technology courses.
Recent projects include virtual world curriculum design and development for Science in Second Life, a standards-based 9th grade science curriculum with Global Kids, Inc. She also consults with Santa Barbara Community College and The Sloan Consortium, developing instruction and training educators to effectively use virtual worlds with both K-12 and adult learners. Her ongoing interests include technology related professional development and the development of comprehensive systems that provide educators and trainers the support they need to both design and implement innovative and effective learning experiences for their students.She holds an M.A. in Education (Educational Technology from SDSU and a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA.

Jeff Lowe: Jeff is a project manager for the University of Oklahoma Center for Public Management, Jeff orchestrates a wide variety of client projects such as employee trainings, documentary/training/broadcast video productions, web video solutions, event management, and public awareness campaigns. He also consults on collaborative technologies and effective utilization of social media.   As an independant consultant, developer, and avid technologist, his goal is to help public and private organizations accomplish difficult tasks within immersive environments. His specialization is collaboration within Second Life and Open Sim. He utilizies existing and develops new immersive tools to conduct strategic planning sessions, brainstorming meetings, and trainings. His most recent challenge was translating survey results into a series of tour displays within Second Life, allowing participants to explore, interact with, and experience the results.

Daniel Green
Daniel is a systems engineer with Sun Microsystems, specializing in Java and Software Systems Solutions. Daniel volunteers in local schools and universities teaching computer programming using tools such as Scratch, Alice, Greenfoot and BlueJ. Daniel is active in the Sun Microsystems partnership with Carnegie Mellon University for Alice 3 and with Sun Microsystems Laboratories for Project Wonderland.

Greenbush IDL Team: 
Lisa Pride, Sharon Wilson, and Carol Woolbright created the instructional concept for the Virtual World lesson, Crime Scene Investigation. Lisa and Sharon are distance learning  teachers and curriculum developers.  Carol is the director of distance learning at The  Greenbush Education Service Center in Southeast Kansas.

Moores Law and the Interactive Whiteboard

 1958, the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has increased exponentially, doubling approximately every two years. The trend was first observed by Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore in a 1965 paper. It has continued for almost half a century and in 2005 was not expected to stop for another decade at least. Almost every measure of the capabilities of digital electronic devices is strongly linked to Moore’s law: processing speed, memory capacity, sensors the number and size of pixels in digital cameras and projectors, to nano technology. All of these are improving at (roughly) exponential rates as well. This has dramatically increased the usefulness of digital electronics in nearly every segment of the world economy. Moore’s law describes this driving force of technological and social change in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Read the rest here

Here is a quick application of Moores Law and the classroom interactive white board in 5 then 10 years time horizons:
…. Moore’s law & exponenial technical growth – in five years todays technology will will be 10
times cheaper or 10 times faster
* A current $2,000 interactive whiteboard will only cost $200
* Where are the interactive whiteboard makers likely to expand their
technology to keep the price point at $2,000 over the next 5 years?
Curved displays? multi-surface boards (to create a 2-3 walled
“quick-cave”)? 3D and multi-user technology?

….. Moore’s law & exponenial technical growth- In 10 years todays technology will will be 100 times cheaper or faster.
* A current $2,000 interactive whiteboard will only cost $20
* Where are the interactive whiteboard makres likely to expand their
technology to keep the price point at $2,000 over the next 10 years?
Curved displays? multi-surface boards (to create a 2-3 walled
“quick-cave”)? 3D and multi-user technology?

Kurzweil says it best –


Augmented Reality – Overlaying The Virtual World & Information onto Real Objects

Augmented Reality overlays virtual objects and information over the real world.

 Augmented Reality (AR): Will It Change Your Life? Tech World Says “Yes” (via dailygalaxy)

Augmented Reality (AR) is the information age overlaid on the real world.  The idea is that if you know where a billboard is, and what it says, and what direction it’s facing, then there’s no need to bother with the actual object: you can just call up the information whenever you’re in the area.  Until recently AR required specialist gear, which meant it was never going to happen – such as system needs society-wide use before the databases will be updated enough to be useful.

This problem was solved by the surge in smartphones – now everyone who might be interested in AR has (or can get) a portable, population-wide standardized combination of computer, camera and digital display: the perfect tools for AR.  There are already elementary AR apps (like locating a train station in London, superimposing location and direction over your screen), and TAT are extending it to people.  With augmented ID, your set your status, services and whatever else you want on your phone – and anyone who views you through another sees this data hovering around you.  You really have to watch the video (linked below) to appreciate how cool the concept is.

Yet another example of  ubiquitous computing (See the “Future of Computing in the Classroom“)