The New Media Consortium have released the results of their 2008 Second Life educators survey. A rich source of data giving a broad view of educational activity in Second Life.
Key findings this year are that more educators have moved from ‘exploring’ the potential of Second Life to actively using it for teaching and learning, and the average respondent now has over a year of experience with Second Life. As before, the majority of educators responding to the survey are not significant ‘gamers’ – “more than 75% do not play console games or MMORPGs”.
I have to admit to a sense of vindication reading this paper… many of my comments on ‘digital natives’ are reflected here in a review that draws on a number of research surveys and a fairly wide range of articles.
The picture beginning to emerge from research on young people’s relationships with technology is much more complex than the digital native characterisation suggests. While technology is embedded in their lives, young people’s use and skills are not uniform.There is no evidence of widespread and universal disaffection, or of a distinctly different learning style the like of which has never been seen before. … Education may be under challenge to change, but it is not clear that it is being rejected.
From my current class:
approx % of students using social networking – 20%
approx % of students who knew how to use styles in Word (a very handy time saver!) – 10%
I spent most of the two days carrying around a Flip video camera, but was too busy or distracted to use it. Come the banquet, I was foiled by the rather loud band. In the end, I found myself waiting for a taxi at the conference hotel at the very end with Roo Reynolds – Portfolio Executive for Social Media at BBC Vision. So I took the opportunity to ask Roo about where he sees virtual worlds fitting in with his Social Media portfolio:
It was a fantasticly enjoyable event, great to catch up with so many people I know and meet some new people involved in a range of exciting projects. Some of the sessions were broadcast online – and the first days broadcast sessions are now available here. My own session from the first day is here, where I talk about some of the issues we had in engaging the SLOODLE community with our research activity – time differences and other things making life a little complicated. OK, not the most exciting topic I’ll admit, but great powerpoint if I say so myself… see the virtual world as you’ve never seen it before.
Highlights were many, but I’ll briefly mention Kieron Sheehey’s presentation. A man who loves technology, but is obviously hated by technology. Sadly not available online. Day two I demo’ed SLOODLE again, which went surprisingly well for the larger group size.
In the afternoon I shared a panel with Paul Hollins & Anna Peachey, chaired by Sarah Robbins-Bell, on ‘Crossing the Digital Divide’ where we discussed a range of issues relating to virtual worlds and accessibility. Recognizing that there were many in the audience with more expertise than ourselves in many of the issues we wanted to discuss (Hello Simon & Rob!) we wisely made this an open discussion sessions with only a brief presentation to raise some issues. A Twitter feed for ‘backchat’ during the session worked very well. This was shown on-screen during the session and shared with the audience joining us online – partly inspired by Paul’s earlier observation that conference participants not on twitter were being excluded from many dialogues occuring in the background.
From where I sat it seemed that this use of Twitter helped keep the flow of conversation going and genuinely helped bring in more points of view and observations from the audience than otherwise would have been likely – so a point or question in Twitter made during someone elses question could be addressed later.
For anyone who actually has time to spare… the presentations, papers and videos from Handheld Learning 2008 are now available online. Featuring Ewan McIntosh, Derek Robertson, Steven Heppell, Lord David Puttnam and more, more and more… here.
And there is even a forum for discussing the event, here. All I need is a few extra weeks… maybe at the Christmas break?
Anyone remember the orange Tango man adverts? The ones which had to be re-shot so that the Tango drinker didn’t get slapped at the end – so as to bring an end to playground imitations which had apparently caused many a burst eardrum. You could read about it here, or just watch it below.
Anyway, having establised that to some extent media can influence behaviour, Gamasutra reports on Craig A. Anderson’s latest study into games and violence, here. You can get the whole paper here. The conclusions?
These longitudinal results confirm earlier experimental and crosssectional studies that had suggested that playing violent video games is a significant risk factor for later physically aggressive behavior, and that this violent video game effect on youth generalizes across very
different cultures. As a whole, the research strongly suggests reducing the exposure of youths to this risk factor.
Naturally, there are already dissenting voices identifying weaknesses in the study as related on GamePolitics, in a post which has the most amazing and often random comments thread I’ve seen in a while.
NAPPA, the American National Parenting Publications Awards, have announced their 2008 award winners in a range of categories. One category covers computer games and web-sites. Winners this year include a number of virtual worlds: Club Penguin; Moshi Monsters (which Derek Robertson introduced me to) and Whyville amongst them. Other winners include the likes of BoomBlox – an explosive form of Jenga for the Wii – and ArtRage which is a nice little digital paint application that uses a range of effects to bring computer illustration much closer to traditional paints and pastels.
The following strand at the 3rd International Conference on e-Democracy (Next Generation Society: Technological and Legal Issues), taking place 23 – 25 September 2009, Athens, Greece might be of interest to some readers of this blog: