Sunday, March 26, 2017

Interview with Rachelle Dene Poth

Video Link:  HERE

I'm really looking forward to chatting with Rachelle Dene Poth.  Here is Rachelle's Bio:

"I am a Spanish and STEAM: What’s nExT in Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. I am also an attorney and have a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology. I have presented at conferences such as ISTE, FETC, PETE&C, PSMLA and additional local edtech and foreign language conferences. I am the Communications Chair for the ISTE Mobile Learning Network, a Member at Large for Games & Sims, the Innovations and Resources Co-Chair for the Teacher Education Network and the PAECT Historian.  I was recently selected as the 2017 Outstanding Teacher of the Year by PAECT (the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications in Technology, the PA affiliate of ISTE).
I am an author, I wrote chapter 3 of the Edumatch book “Snapshot in Education 2016”, and my chapter on Blended Learning. I am a contributing author to the upcoming publication “Gamify Literacy” from ISTE. I also blog regularly, several publications I am happy to guest blog for.I continue to look for opportunities to highlight student work and student voice."

Want to connect or follow Rachelle?

Twitter @rdene915

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Thoughts on VR and Education.

Over the past 10 years plus I have been very keenly following Virtual Environments, Gaming, and Education.   (My work in OpenSim can be found HERE)  One of the individuals that inspired me from the beginning of my education/gaming awakenings, was Philip Rosedale, the Founder of Second Life.  An early video of him explaining Second Life can be found below.  (Rosedale would leave his brain child Linden Labs aka Second Life a few years later)

Video from 2010- Philip Rosedale talks about Second Life

What spurred my curiosity the most was the possibility of letting students create within a virtual world simulation.  Letting them explore certainly can have huge learning potential, but to me, giving students creation tools within a virtual world is where the real rubber hits the road, educationally speaking.
So as an educator when I started seeing the VR technologies bubble to the surface of common use technologies, I was certainly excited and intrigued.  And when I got my first, second, and most recent look at Occulus Rift... I was blown away by the realism and immersion of this technology.  My breakdown of VR can be found HERE.  One of my concerns though was that VR wasn't allowing for creation.  It was going to be a visual experience as it was being rolled out in early stages.  A good example of this is Google Expeditions.  I am a big fan of Google Expeditions, but it doesn't allow for the end user to interact with the environment let alone create.  

However, I have recently discovered two VR platforms that are looking to jump into the immersion experience and allow for creation and collaborative creation. 

Which brings me back to Philip Rosedale.  The current CEO of Linden Labs-  Second Life Ebbe Altburg is about to release its next stage of Virtual Reality: Project Sansar.  What I like about this virtual reality project is the ability to create.  Check out their promotional video below.

Interestingly, one other competing programs is called High Fidelity.  Guess who the driving force behind this platform is?  Philip Rosedale.  Here is a peek of High Fidelity below.  

I'm really excited about the future of VR and especially the possibilities of creating.  Its a way off I think, but I am excited!   Thanks to Philip Rosedale, Ebbe Altberg, Snowcrash, and Ready Player One  for inspiration.