How Technology Wires the Learning Brain
“It’s a matter of finding balance,” he said. “Upgrade the technology skills of older ‘digital immigrants,’ and help young kids improve social skills.”
On one hand, we’re trained not to think deeply about subjects when we text quick snippets, Tweet short thoughts,
On the other hand, technology trains the brain to be nimble and to process new ideas quickly. We become more open to new ideas, and communicate more freely and frequently.
From: Miltenoff, Plamen
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 4:09 PM
To: ‘email@example.com’; ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’
Cc: Oyedele, Adesegun
Subject: virtual worlds and simulations
Apologies for any cross posting…
Following a request from fellow faculty at SCSU, I am interested in learning more about any possibilities for using virtual worlds and simulations opportunities [in the MnSCU system] for teaching and learning purposes.
The last I remember was a rather messy divorce between academia and Second Life (the latter accusing an educational institution of harboring SL hackers). Around that time, MnSCU dropped their SL support.
Does anybody have an idea where faculty can get low-cost if not free access to virtual worlds? Any alternatives for other simulation exercises?
Any info/feedback will be deeply appreciated.
After Frustrations in Second Life, Colleges Look to New Virtual Worlds. February 14, 2010
From: Weber, James E.
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 5:41 PM
To: Miltenoff, Plamen Subject: RE: virtual worlds and simulations
I don’t use virtual worlds, but I do use a couple of simulations…
I use http://www.glo-bus.com/ extensively in my strategy class. It is a primary integrating mechanism for this capstone class.
I also use http://erpsim.hec.ca/en because it uses and illustrates SAP and process management.
http://www.goventure.net/ is one I have been looking into. Seems more flexible…
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Brock Dubbels
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 4:29 PM
To: Oyedele, Adesegun
Cc: Miltenoff, Plamen; Gaming and Simulations
Subject: Re: virtual worlds and simulations
That is fairly general
what constitutes programming skill is not just coding, but learning icon-driven actions and logic in a menu
for example, Sketch Up is free. You still have to learn how to use the interface.
there is drag and drop game software, but this is not necessarily a share simulation
From: Kalyvaki, Maria [mailto:Maria.Kalyvaki2@smsu.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 4:26 PM
To: Miltenoff, Plamen
Subject: RE: virtual worlds and simulations
I received this email today and I am happy that someone is interested on Second Life. The second life platform and some other virtual worlds are free to use. Depends what are your expectations there that may increase the cost of using the virtual world. I am using some of those virtual worlds and my previous school Texas Tech University was using SL for a course.
Let me know how could I help you with the virtual worlds.
From: Jane McKinley [mailto:Jane.McKinley@riverland.edu]
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2013 11:09 AM
To: Miltenoff, Plamen
Cc: Jone Tiffany; Pamm Tranby; Dan Harber
Subject: Virtual worlds
To introduce myself I am the coordinator/ specialist for our real life allied health simulation center at Riverland Community College. Dan Harber passed your message on to me. I have been actively working in SL since 2008. My goal in SL was to do simulation for nursing education. I remember when MnSCU had the island. I tried contacting the lead person at St. Paul College about building a hospital on the island for nursing that would be open to all MN programs, but never could get a response back.
Yes, SL did take the education fees away for a while but they are now back. Second Life is free in of itself, it is finding islands with educational simulations that takes time to explore, but many are free and open to the public. I do have a list of islands that may be of interest to you. They are all health related, but there are science islands such as Genome Island. Matter of fact there is a talk that will be out there tonight about how to do research and conduct fair experiments at 7:00 our time.
I have been lucky to find someone with the same goals as I have. Her name is Jone Tiffany. She is a professor at Bethel University in the nursing program. In the last 4 years we have built an island for nursing education. This consists of a hospital, clinic, office building, classrooms and a library. We also built a simulation center. (Although I accidently removed the floor and some walls in it. Our builder is getting it back together.) There is such a shortage of real mental health and public health sites that a second island is being purchased to meet this request. On that island we are going to build an inner city, urban and rural communities. This will be geared towards meeting those requests. Our law enforcement program at Riverland has voiced an interest in SL with being able to set up virtual crime scenes which could be staged anywhere on the two islands. With the catastrophic natural events and terrorist activities that have occurred recently we will replicate these same communities on the other side of the island only it will be the aftermath of a hurricane and tornado, or flooding. On the other side we could stage the aftermath of a bombing such as what happened in Boston. Victims could transported to the hospital ED. Law enforcement could do an investigation.
We have also been working with the University of Wisconsin, Osh Kosh. They have a plane crash simulation and what we call a grunge house that students go into to see what the living conditions are like for those who live in poverty and what could be done about it.
Since I am not faculty I cannot take our students out to SL, but Jone has had well over 100 of her students in there doing various assignments. She is taking more out this semester. They have done such things as family health assessments and diabetes assessment and have to create a plan of care. She has done lectures out there. So the students come out with their avatars and sit in a classroom. This is a way distant learning can be done but yet be engaged with the students. The beauty of SL is that you can be creative. Since the island is called Nightingale Isle, some of the builds are designed with that theme in mind. Such as the classrooms, they are tiered up a mountain and look like the remains of a bombed out church from the Crimean War, it is one of our favorite spots. We also have an area open on the island for support groups to meet. About 5 years ago Riverland did do a congestive heart failure simulation with another hospital in SL. That faculty person unfortunately has left so we have not been able to continue it, but the students loved it. We did the same scenario with Jones students in the sim center we have and again the students loved it.
The island is private but anyone is welcome to use it. We do this so that we know and can control who is on the island. All that is needed is to let Jone or I know who you are, where are you from (institution), and what is your avatar name. We will friend you in SL and invite you to join the group, then you have access to the island. Both Jone and I are always eager to share what all goes on out there (as you can tell by this e-mail). There is so much potential of what can be done. We have been lucky to be able to hire the builder who builds for the Mayo Clinic. Their islands are next to ours. She replicated the Gonda Building including the million dollar plus chandeliers.
I can send you the list of the health care related islands, there are about 40 of them. I also copied Jone, she can give you more information on what goes into owning an island. We have had our ups and downs with this endeavor but believe in it so much that we have persevered and have a beautiful island to show for it.
Let me if you want to talk more.
Jane (aka Tessa Finesmith-avatar name)
Jane McKinley, RN
College Lab Specialist -Riverland Center for Simulation Learning
Riverland Community College
Austin, MN 55912
From: Jeremy Nienow [mailto:JNienow@inverhills.mnscu.edu]
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2013 10:11 AM
To: Miltenoff, Plamen
Cc: Sue Dion
Subject: Teaching in virtual worlds
A friend here at IHCC sent me your request for information on teaching in low-cost virtual environments.
I like to think of myself on the cusp of gamification and I have a strong background in gaming in general (being a white male in my 30s).
Anyway – almost every MMORPG (Massive Multi-online role playing game) today is set up on a Free to Play platform for its inhabitance.
There are maybe a dozen of these out there right now from Dungeon and Dragons online, to Tera, to Neverwinter Nights…etc.
Its free to download, no subscription fee (like there used to be) and its free to play – how they get the money is they make game items and cool aspects of the game cost money…people pay for the privilege of leveling faster.
So – you could easily have all your students download the game (provided they all have a suitable system and internet access), make an avatar, start in the same place – and teach right from there.
I have thought of doing this for an all online class before, but wanted to wait till I was tenured.
Jeremy L. Nienow, PhD., RPA
Inver Hills Community College
P.S. Landon Pirius (sp?) who was once at IHCC and now I believe is at North Hennepin maybe… wrote his PhD on teaching in online environments and used World of Warcraft.
From: Gary Abernethy [mailto:Gary.Abernethy@minneapolis.edu]
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2013 8:46 AM
To: Miltenoff, Plamen
Subject: Re: [technology] virtual worlds and simulations
The below are current options I am aware of for VW and SIM . You may also want to take a look at Kuda, in Google code, I worked at SRI when we developed this tool. I am interested in collaboration in this area.
Hope the info helps
Director of eLearning
Minneapolis Community and Technical College | 1501 Hennepin Avenue S. | Minneapolis, MN 55403
Gary.Abernethy@minneapolis.edu | http://www.minneapolis.edu
From: John OBrien [mailto:John.OBrien@so.mnscu.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 11:37 PM
To: Miltenoff, Plamen
Subject: RE: virtual worlds and simulations
I doubt this is so helpful, but maybe: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/SLED
Finland Eyes Programming Classes for Elementary School Students
Beyond Mindcraft: Games That Inspire Building and Exploration
Garry’s Mod (GMod) is a sandbox game like Minecraft but instead of building and exploring, students use a fun physics engine that simulates things like gravity and mass. They also use a virtual toy box of assets from Valve Software’s popular games. The tool is a step up in complexity from the elegant simplicity of Minecraft, but with Garry’s Mod,students are exposed to physics concepts while having madcap fun.
Kerbal Space Program has a robust physics engine too, but it’s more focused than Garry’s Mod. Players purchase rocket parts, put them together, and then see if they can get a ship into orbit, to one of two moons, or even to another planet. These aren’t easy tasks, so play is focused on trial and error testing, and, like Minecraft, seeking help from the community is part of a successful strategy.
Sound Shapes is a visually stunning platform puzzle game set to a rich musical soundscape. Even better: students can create and share their own levels – like interactive sheet music — using sounds and objects unlocked by playing the platform game. It’s an accessible entry point into musical composition as well as game design, and provides an experience that builds on the creativity of Minecraft while offering something wholly unique for music lovers.
For creative kids who want to get their hands dirty, check out DIY, a site where students can find things to build, instructions for how to build them, and ways to share their creations with others. All projects are aligned to 50 skills that run the gamut from outdoors to indoors, and feature various challenges to complete and cool badges to earn and display.
Computer programming is a great next step for students who love to mod Minecraft or toy around with the redstone resource (which simulates basic logic and circuitry). One solid entry-level tool is Stencyl, a game creation program focused on codeless, cross-platform game making. By snapping blocks of code together, students can create games that can be published and played on a variety of platforms including mobile phones.
Minecraft has introduced a lot of youth to games as well as the critical thinking, problem solving, and creation skills necessary for self-motivated learning. The games and sites on this list have the potential to extend that learning, providing fresh outlets for self-expression in the digital world and beyond.
The Awesome Power of Gaming in Higher Education
EDUCAUSE 2013 welcomes Jane McGonigal and considers the potential of games in education.
The University of Washington’s Foldit game enables anyone to contribute to scientific research through virtual protein folding. The university’s game developers posit that human gamers’ propensity to not give up on a gaming task – resiliency – make them much more adept at solving complex protein structure prediction and design than supercomputers. And in some ways, they’ve already proven that to be so. Foldit game participants have been named in several published scientific journal articles, including one that describes how a protein structure could be solved and used in the treatment of HIV.
The rich, interactive universe of Grand Theft Auto was the inspiration for this game, developed for The World Bank as a way to teach Sub-Sahara African youths to solve social problems in ways that also could provide a sustainable living. The platform is free and available online and can be used by schools to teach social entrepreneurship. A graphic novel serves as the game’s centerpiece, and players build out their gaming profiles as a comic or graphic novel might retell a superhero’s origin story. Participants complete projects in real life to solve real problems, such as securing a community’s food supply or establishing a sustainable power source, then progress through levels of the game. Those who successfully complete their 10-week missions ultimately earn certification from the World Bank Institute. In 2010, 50 student participants saw their entrepreneurship models funded by the World Bank, including Libraries Across Africa (now Librii), a franchise operating in Ghana.
Not all games must be played out in a virtual space. This game – developed by McGonigal with Natron Baxter and Playmatics – combines real-world missions with virtual clues and online collaboration, resulting in young people working together overnight in the New York Public Library to write and publish a book of personal essays about what they learned.
“The game is designed to empower young people to find their own futures by bringing them face-to-face with the writings and objects of people who made an extraordinary difference.”
Participants spend a night wandering throughout the library’s stacks and research materials, scanning QR codes to prove they found and interacted with the objects of their clues or missions. One 2011 participant, upon discovering the library’s early draft of the Declaration of Independence wrote an essay called a “Declaration of Interdependence.”
More on Jane McGonigal on YouTube: