Sail's Pedagogy

Sail's posts about her class, classes she is taking, and education.

The Corporate Gaming Generation

The Gamer generation are here and if they aren’t already changing your organisation…they will soon.

Arrogance – gamers often project themselves as experts in whatever they do. This probably comes from saving the universe on a daily basis – albeit virtually.

Sociability – gamers aren’t alone when they sit at their computers playing multi-player games. They are interacting socially with thousands of other players at the same time. This dynamic has redefined sociability to mean that it is no longer necessary to have met someone, in person, to consider them a friend or acquaintance.

Coordination – gamers are great multi-taskers. A recent study found gamers have the same mental agility as people who speak multiple languages. The theory is that gaming forces you to filter out the irrelevant when making decisions. This allows gamers to juggle several tasks and decisions at the same time.

Flexibility – games always have more than one way to win, or complete a task. Gamers are consequently very flexible and creative in overcoming obstacles. They are analytical, strategic, and open-minded in approaching problems.

Competitive team players – Gamers play to win, but rarely win by playing on their own. While there is an egotistical and personal ambition driving it, gamers know how to work effectively and efficiently in teams in order to achieve specific outcomes.

Insubordinate – The only authority gamers experience online is that of other gamers. There is no hierarchy other than one that is earned by game play. Gamers do not take well to being led by someone because they have a title or position that gamers didn’t see being earned. The most powerful group for criticising and disciplining gamers is their peers.

An important area for growth of virtual corporate environments is staff training. The virtualising of company training programmes will allow a company to achieve significant decreases in the cost of delivery and also the costs of supporting the training.

Leave a comment »

Synthetic estrogen in our food

A chemical called bisphenol A, or BPA is a synthetic estrogen that is in everything from plastics to epoxies.

92% of Americans have BPA in their urine. This may cause breast cance, obesity, fattention deficit disorder, and genital abnormalities in boys and girls alike.

Consumer Reports magazine has found BPA in most food. Last year, Canada became the first country to conclude that BPA can be hazardous to humans.

As a two time breast cancer survivor this is not right. My cancer was caused by estrogen. If I had known this many years ago, I may not have had to have a double mastectomy.

Leave a comment »

Virtual Worlds and death.

What happens to your land and possessions in Second Life when you die? What if you had a Second Life partner? or others were renting from you?

Greg Lastowka, a law professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey who is writing a book on property rights and virtual goods.

After the Virginia Tech shootings in 2006, for example, Facebook realized it needed to change the way it handled users’ deaths and created a way to memorialize profiles, so that friends and family members could continue to visit them and grieve together, posting condolences and thoughts. Before that, presenting a valid death certificate led to erasure, a common practice among other service providers as well.

The opposite happened in WOW (World Of Warcraft) when a Chinese teenager known as Snowly died of a stroke in late 2005 after spending three consecutive days in a game, her fellow players on World of Warcraft, a virtual world, decided to hold an online memorial. Dozens gathered to pay their respects, and the service was going as planned, until it was attacked by a rival group, and the mourners’ avatars were massacred.

There are a couple of ways to resolve the question of who has access to what when a person dies. One is for everybody to name a digital executor, who will receive a person’s latest passwords when a death occurs. Second, each time someone created an account, the service provider would ask the user what they wanted to have happen to it at death — erasure or access — and if the choice was access, to name an executor.

Michael Wesch, cultural anthropologist at Kansas State University, has studied how new media are changing the way people relate to each other and thinks there is great potential for the traces left behind to speak to future generations.

In one future he imagined, the dead themselves might become avatars: “Computers may gather all those traces, and my son could get online, and have interactions with a computer-generated entity that would simulate what I would be like,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of court cases in the past about how best to preserve our cultural heritage,” Mr. Wesch said. “The future battles could very well be about this type of information and how it’s handled.”

Leave a comment »

Second Life as a Disruptive Technology in Education

Thornburg (2009) explained disruptive technologies as completely new tools that change how things are done, and are not gradual extensions of older technologies. The new, disruptive technologies suddenly appear without warning, making other technologies obsolete.

Second Life frights many people because the concept is so unfamiliar and so dissimilar from traditional educational paradigms. But we create student-centered teaching strategies role playing, simulations, discussions, and authentic learning experiences in Second Life. It creates a student-centered, experience-based paradigm which is quite the opposite of traditional learning.

Leave a comment »

Online learning – pay it forward

Higher education is a mess.

Sloan-C report, Staying the Course, revealed that 3.94 students in higher ed were enrolled in at least one online class in 2007. Although online learning is growing, most colleges do not have an instructional design team on staff or even a single instructional designer.

Online course development takes more effort than to develop than a face-to-face class. Most online instructors are very disappointment in their campus support structure which includes support for course development, delivery, students, and more.

The Obama administration is now pushing for free online courses for community colleges.

Online courses should not reflect face-to-face classes. Higher education begins to foster the value of innovation. Encourage and motivate the instructors to try something new, something different — to take a risk. Failure is part of growth and success. We are teaching our students to be creative thinkers in the 21st century and we as online teachers need to reflect that in our own teaching practices.

Leave a comment »

The Higher Education Bubble


The definition of an economic bubble is, according to Wikipedia, “trade in high volumes at prices that are considerably at variance with intrinsic values”. Another way to describe it is: trade in products or assets with inflated values. Universities and colleges have inflated values disproportionate to their value.

Clark Aldrich wrote “that colleges are becoming more like cruise ships than educational institutions.” Colleges are not going to help new college graduates to get jobs, they are not preparing them for workplace….they are creating unrealistic expectations.

Financial institutions did not focus on core business drivers, they ventured into exotic loans schemes. Students are not graduating with high priced jobs. Many are graduating into the unemployment lines with huge debt. College tuition has increased by more than three times the rate of inflation for the last 20 years, despite U.S. wages flat-lining since 2000.

Schools have often found that raising tuition attracts more applicants because families tend to equate high price with quality.

The time is coming very soon where the investment (the loan) will not be worth the degree (jobs and pay).

Leave a comment »

The workplace of the future will be more like a jazz ensemble…”

Don Tapscott talks about the workplace of the future.

Employers who don’t create the proper climate for this new generation are going to suffer a backlash. companies should adopt a new model – initiate, engage, collaborate and evolve.

Employees are developing their own self-organized interconnections and forming cross-functional teams capable of interacting as a global, real-time workforce.

Leave a comment »

Our Avatars, Our Selves: Gender and Second Life

It seems instead of fighting the stereotypes of women, female avatars are embracing them.

“In this study, the biases, prejudices, and beauty standards from the real world follow us into the virtual realm. Interestingly, these ideas were not ascribed to conforming to pre-existing ideas of beauty, but as a virtual beautification process – a way in which to represent an idealized version of our existing real world selves.”

Katherine Isbister in her book “Better Game Characters by Design” , said that “Studies have shown that many qualities are attributed to people with attractive features–sometimes referred to as the halo effect. These qualities include being seen as warmer, kinder, stronger, more sensible, more outgoing, more socially persuasive and dominant, and even smarter than others.

Oversexualized avatars are so prevalent that they have become part of the visual norm and need to be attractive, slender, and somewhat sexualized.

Leave a comment »

Brain Science does not support multiple intelligence

To many people think Multiple Intelligence arose from science. But science tells us differently. And even Gardner admits to that.

“Many areas of learning such as reason, emotion, action, music, language and so on are characterised by their overlapping, dispersed and complex patterns of activity in the brain, as shown in brain scans. Islands of functional specificity are extremely rare. In short, Gardener suffers from conceptual invention and simplicity. Brain science simply does not support the theory.”

Leave a comment »

Pedagogy of Second Life

Too many schools attempt to reproduce face-to-face classes on-line. Students do not want the classroom model – after all, SL’s strength is that it offers a sophisticated reproduction of the classroom environment.

Student need to interact with the environment itself and that offers greater opportunities for participatory learning. And one of the most promising aspects for Second Life is the ability to create our own persona, and to interact with others.

Leave a comment »