MetaMeets 2010 has triggered a ripple effect change in world conversations about the new virtual environment frontiers.
To bring to the world these new environments, from the perspective of their users.
It’s not just youngsters and young adults; it’s ALL of us need top quality education, delivered to where we live, digitally.
Second Life is the Least Common Denominator for digital virtual environments. But there are now accessible alternatives.
Don’t just consume information, SHARE it.
People are listening out there, and you are someone’s hero.
MetaMeets Day Two completed with a bang, with even more positive comments than Day One. We opened with a glorious series of speakers on Education and the New Environments, and closed with an inspiring series on Media and Music. The audience comprised 200+ local and extended viewers, including many newcomers to virtual environments. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that MetaMeets 2010 has just triggered a ripple effect change in world conversations about the new virtual environment frontiers, as the material we heard gets re-tweeted, re-echoed, and re-referenced going forward. You can see the recorded feed for the whole show now at: http://www.livestream.com/metaworld2 (click on Real Virtualities). Also the Twitter Feed. Also the web site.
The morning took us on an energized and inspiring tour of education. Timothy Savage, Trinity College Dublin University, and John O’Connor, Dublin Institute of Technology, spoke on online-enabled higher education challenges and opportunities. John “let slip” that DIT will offer, this Autumn, the first worldwide college course for credit to be delivered entirely using a digital virtual environment. Joe Greene, Intel, blew our minds with videos showing how we will escape the box of keyboards and screens, with new 3D interfaces. Jessica Pater, Georgia Institute of Technology, spoke to K-12 education and built further the presenters’ cumulative message to engage our kids by working with them from where they live, digitally. We heard these most recent and telling data:
- 70% of all online registered accounts are held by persons age 16 and younger.
- Online registrations show peaks at ages 9, 14, and 30+.
- 60% of what the kids talk about online is plans for their lives
- Online is where they LIVE, digitally, as they create their futures.
- Digitally, is where we need to learn to engage with them.
Kevin Tweedy, Extreme Reality, walked us through a case study in 3D-enabled professional education where he, literally, rebuilt for us from scratch, a custom virtual training environment developed for Duke University Nursing. Kevin showed quickly, step-by-step, how to use and assemble components “off the shelf.” Yes you can now download a customizable 3D Environment from Company X online; then select a set of customizable avatars from Company Y online, wrap it all up with an integration package from Company Zed, and you’re good to go. User and Developers, take note!
At this point in the morning, it struck me that the MetaMeets Education Session were addressing online-enabled education at the full lifecycle of human needs. It’s not just youngsters and young adults; it’s ALL of us need top quality, continuous education to stay current and competitive in our fields, and we ALL need it delivered to us where we live, digitally.
The sessions also showed us, by name, how many DIFFERENT digital virtual environments are available and in use out there. Second Life is, certainly, The Least Common Denominator for Digital Virtual Environments, but there are now plenty of accessible alternatives. Entry level exploration is available and cost effective while you test your ideas and make your more detailed plans.
After a quick lunch we kicked off the afternoon sitting in on a virtual environment interview of Wiz Nordberg, Owner of Treet TV and Robert Bloomfield, Cornell, Host of MetaNomics; by Dousa Dragonash, Metaverse Broadcasting.
For the extended audience, accustomed to weekly virtual broadcasts, this was a familiar experience. For the live audience, this was a foreign experience and I could see puzzled brows as we were dropped, literally, in the middle of a conversation we could not directly participate in. After a bit, the audience relaxed and engaged, chuckling at the trio’s one-liners and, especially, the “Underpants Gnome Theory of Virtual Economics.”
Nicole Yankelovich took us on a live demo tour of Wonderland, the new, open source, open 3D environment, built using extendable, tailorable, Java programming by an open community that anyone can join. Jos was with us in Dublin, on headset with Nicole in Boston, using a Wonderland NASA exhibit to demonstrate plug ins already built and shared by third party open developers. We saw first hand the ability to easily insert 3D objects from Maya or Google 3D Warehouse, or 2D images from PowerPoint, using a simple menu/drag and drop interface.
My favorites were the “Cone of Silence” and “Audio Recorder” gadgets – but then, I have a LOT of meetings online.
Joel Foner spoke on We Are The Network. Joel made brilliant points about speaking to where people are, be they kids or adults. He cautioned us to walk the walk and really LEARN the new digital environments, not just try to get away with using the buzzwords. Joel demonstrated the BEST ability of a virtual speaker to stay connected with a live audience, that I’ve ever seen.
Helene Zuili, Make My Worlds, spoke on online-enabled knowledge management. She further emphasized the need to understand the pre-existing mindsets of the audiences that we are trying to reach, never mind if it is a virtual environment or any other communication tool. Never mind if potential users are digitally literate – do they understand that digital tools ROCK because they are superb to use to share insights and experiences, AS WELL AS information?
We have a whole new distinction to get across to older mind-sets: that emotional connection trumps intellectual connection; that hot versus cold cognition is what makes things happen. And, by they way, these lead to better intellectual retention, learning, and practical skills mastering. Helene’s partner, Kai, put the bell on it: “Don’t just consume information, SHARE it.”
Film & Music
Chantal Gerads aka Chantal Harvey, Mamachinima, kicked off the Media and Music session for us with a vignette-collage of 12 of her computer generated video films. Chantal, professional television editor and camera woman, has now produced hundreds of machinima available online and shown weekly around the world, and hosted machinima competitions to broaden awareness of the field and practitioners.
Chantal emphasized how Machinima makes the genius of thousands of people, who are not comfortable with public stages, accessible to hundreds of thousands of appreciative viewers EVERY WEEK. Her short collage to us showed, in a mere ten minutes, a full range of emotionally-connecting and inspirational examples, including:
- Digital Story Telling
- Hauntingly Beautiful Music and Images
- Mind Blowing New Wave Displays
- Heart Reaching Stories
Wiping our eyes, we were suddenly dropped in the middle of yet another hot virtual environment chat in progress, comprised of Pooky Amsterdam, Pooky Media, and Draxtor Depres, The Drax Files. Here the audience began to grin at the extreme PASSION of these artists, prize winning producers in their fields, as they built up a head of steam about art and business and reaching and connecting.
Slim Warrior, Slim Warrior Productions kicked off the Music Panel. Claus Povlsen aka Claus Uriza, Pop Art Lab, gave us a snapshot overview of the astonishing availability and use of digital media tools for film and sound. Daniel Hruschka, Twinity, summarized challenges and lessons learned to date, to draw newcomers, artists, and audiences, into the New Virtual Environments. Lisa Feay aka Elfay Pinkdot, Coffee & Pajamas Jazz, then “put the bow on it,” demonstrating in one short riff, how to share your entire life, your key life lessons learned so far, tell a story, reach an audience, pull everyone’s hearts and heads in line, and leave us cheering wildly. And she does this WEEKLY online !!!
2010 Wrap Up
At this point we were truly wrapped and done for. Thanks were extended to all. Conference Chairs Jolanda Mastenbroek-Dobber and John Mahon closed the 2010 session, reiterating the MetaMeets mission, “To bring to the world these New Virtual Environments, from the perspective of their users.”