Sunday, 15 March 2009

A Coffee With Leon Cych

I have just listened to an interview on EduNation ll – A coffee with Leon Cych, the fifth similar event, where a guest is interviewed by Nik Peachy.

Nik asked Leon about Holodeck Project, Leon mentioned both Holodecks and the Paradise blanket and reiterating the aims of the project. He talked about how these technologies can facilitate community engagement in learning and asks how can we bind them into our use of virtual worlds to improve education.

He talked about the role of virtual worlds in the future of education and discussed the need for sound Digital Literacy among educators and students and how that is not being understood and adopted by the world of education.

Leon likes the idea of linking different virtual worlds through the stargate type of portals, especially Second Life with OpenSim, and mentioned how easy OpenSim can be used and how cheap that is compared with Second Life especially in the current economic climate.

Gavin mentioned the low level of technology skills that he sees in teachers and asked could Leon see that improving? Leon’s answer was that schools need to consider what we are educating student’s for and why are we educating them. People are doing things because they have to –time for reflecting on that and subsequent change could be coming.

Leon mentioned EduSim – in use with Whiteboards, and referenced Rich White’s work in the states. He mentioned Google Sketch Up and how that can be used in OpenSim to build. Nik asked whether this was just going to take it out of the hands of the pupils and in the hands of the teachers, Leon did not think that was happening.  Leon mentioned the Google factory resources – they are available in Metaplace already. I can see Metaplace being important to primary education, but already know that one person may disagree!

Leon is filming language teachers using web 2.0 and is gathering video clips together for a Moodle site that people will be able to visit and study. It will be ready by summer (June).  Nik asked him if he had any experiences of language teachers using Second Life in language teaching. Leon replied that it takes so long in this country to embed any new practice, teachers have only just got Web 2.0 bound into their courses etc. SL has not arrived yet.

When asked about Prensky’s change of idea about digital natives he said that he liked the idea of the “digital pioneer. “

Leon said that students can be advanced users of technology but naive users of technology whereas teachers have all of the life skills and so many extras that they bring to their teaching, though their ICT skills may not be as advanced as their students.

Leon told a story about the use of Twitter when he asked an academic to give him an obscure term, he fed it into Google and got nothing but fed it into Twitter and got conversations that could be joined.

Leon mentioned Pivot and said that he thinks more open source resources will be developed and bound in to virtual worlds.

A very interesting hour with lots to think about - thanks to all involved :-)

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