Saturday, February 09, 2002

More AtmosphereTM-ic adventures.

Tonight I was interacting with a number of characters in the Atmosphere environment. Ivar, moe, amadeus, JimVideo, peen, monk and CelticShadow.
CS was very helpful with information about building and hosting these worlds. I'm sure that I've missed names -- that's the danger of starting a list -- to thank for helping me out as I become familiar with this avatar-driven world.

Friday, February 08, 2002

I've just signed-up -- I've been very impressed with the functionality of Blogger and fully expect to be WOW-ed by Blogger Pro™ - Power Push-Button Publishing
Here's a recent post I made, and have since edited, to an ICT-based conference I'm participating in at OISE/UT:

I watched Professor Lerman's talk too -- a great webcast by the Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI). You're exactly right about the "bricks and mortar" aspect -- Professor Lerman was very clear, for instance, that the OCW Initiative would not replace an "MIT education." He was very clear about what OCW is and is not.

I was especially intrigued by Professor Lerman's notion of the "two-fer" (as in "two for one") and OCW. As MIT proceeds to post ALL its courses to the Web -- a task to be accomplished by 30 - 40 staff "localized" in departments throughout the institution -- each "brick and mortar" course will end up with it's own Web site.

He also mentioned that MIT views OCW as something approaching textbook publishing. I think it was here that he joked about the fact that MIT Press doesn't publish text books.

As you've indicated in another post, this event was the first in a series.I'm looking forward to sitting in on each week's talk -- the line up looks impressive.

I expect that yesterday's webcast will soon be available in the KMDI's ePresence lab's
-- webhost of the series -- archive."

Thursday, February 07, 2002

More AtmosphereTM-ic adventures.

AtmosphereTM -- the MUD gang will be very excited with this one.
Pick your avatar and off you go exploring your world. Interacting with others along the way.

Ask that penguin over there what he thinks.

Tonight I landed in and typed "anybody know where to find avatars on the web?" into the text entry box. Lawrence Tux replied: "Meet me in the center and I'll give you some..." or something along those lines. I went to the "center" -- more like a "town square" three steps up with four columns -- anyway, no one there. I see an Adobe banner and think, what the heck. Turns out the "hallway" isn't and there's nobody.

"Tester [my name at the time] turn around. See the penguin?"
And that's how I met Laurence Tux the Penguin -- "LT" as I like to type him ;-)

LT was in the midst of a tutorial -- we'd managed to get my name changed to DS -- when the room got too busy.
LT offered me a link to Rm2, but I wasn't able to access the link. Traffic on the server got a little heavy and I lost my tutor when I thanked LT and bailed. Too bad I 'd looked forward to a guided tour of this world.

Before I begin sounding too much more like a marketeer for, I should offer the following observations to this point:

  • the install file is a 10 MB download
  • unless you've got a very robust connection to the Internet this download will take a long time
  • if the "robust" connection you're using is at work -- know that your System Administrator will notice
  • those on dial-up connections at home might consider starting the download before bed one night
  • I need to see avatars in action in a dial-up world

That said, the potential here strikes me as huge. Navigable worlds with portals to other worlds, links to the WWW. Anybody who has ever worked an Adobe graphics program will be off to the races. I've only ever used Framemaker and Acrobat, but even I've been able to build a "house" -- a box with a hole in it -- and then "viewed" my creation from the inside in this space.

As an M.Ed. student of Curriculum, specializing in Computer Applications, I'm inspired by the possibilities.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Today I happened across a fantastic site that provides a comprehensive list of annotated links related to Conferencing on the Web. The information here is very current, including a link to beta software from Adobe.

Adobe AtmosphereTM looks very promising. I'm especially intrigued by the avatars -- animated characters which represent users in online environments.

The fact that Adobe is providing a community server during BETA phase of their rollout is also a good thing. The cynic in me says that you'd better get busy if you want to take advantage of the community server -- these "freebies" have a recurring habit of going away.

Tuesday, February 05, 2002

Today's Daily Links from elearningpost contains one from eLearn Magazine. The article Usability-Tested E-learning? Not Until the Market Requires It discusses the issue of usability and e-learning:
The idea of e-learning usability is still so new it’s barely on the market’s radar screen. Usability testing traditionally offers a way to ensure a product or a piece of software “works”--that is, that most people can make sense of it and use it with ease. But here’s the rub: Established sets of principles of what “works” for online learning, based on research findings or industry best practices, do not yet exist. “There are very few tests that show e-learning is doing anything,” says Jay Cross, founder of the Internet Time Group, a consulting firm. “There’s no way for most buyers to make any evaluation except to say it looks pretty.”
I suspect that the question of "usability", or lack thereof, will ultimately be huge issue for developers and consumers of online education products and services.

You can be sure that consumers of these products and services will become more discriminating with time. You can also be sure that vendors will move to address the usability issue to be better able to overcome the objections of potential consumers as well as to gain and leverage competitive advantages in the marketplace.

Given the huge amounts of money up for grabs, you can be sure that the players in this market will seek out any and all competitive advantages to be had.

Sunday, February 03, 2002

WOW, what a Super Bowl!

After what seems like many years in a row of one-sided games, it was nice to see the outcome of the game in doubt until the end of the 4th quarter.

It was even better to see the underdog win.

What a season for the Patriots -- goes a long way towards showing underdogs everywhere that persistence and dilligence can be rewarded.