Thoughts on Web 2.0 and Human 1.5

This is for an assignment in the Digital Storytelling course, but I’m happy to share it here, for whatever it’s worth. I was thinking about how differently writers approached things “in my day” with copyright, etc., and today with things like Creative Commons licenses. I don’t know how informative it is, but it reflects my personal process somehow.

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New viewer brings new tools for educators

This post is now three weeks old, which is ancient in the blogosphere, but it points out some useful info for educators who use Second Life, and it’s still valid, even though the “beta” has now been officially released.

While the article talks about five new tools for educators, I think the most significant one is the arrival of the long-talked-about “HTML on a prim.” The official name is “Shared Media,” and it’s simple to set up. The Second Life wiki has a good resource on the “how to,” which will eventually wind up in the Knowledgebase.

The gist of it, though, is that the “old way” involved setting the URL via something on the Land tab. In other words, the URL was tied to the parcel. Shared Media, on the other hand, is set in the object itself via the + symbol at the bottom of the Texture tab in the Build menu.

The upside: it’s easy.

The downside: unless you are using the new SL 2.0 viewer, you are completely unable to view the Web page. It would have been nice if somehow they could have enabled people with older viewers to at least see the page, but I understand why they couldn’t. (If it hasn’t clicked for you, look up a couple of paragraphs: the old way tied the URL to the parcel; the new way ties the URL to the object. Therefore, the older viewer has no way to understand an object with a URL tied to it.) Users of the older viewer will simply see the texture you choose for the tie-in.

So I’m going to make a texture that says “If you would like to see this Web page, please make sure you’re using Viewer 2.0 and then play your streaming media.”

Someone who does so will see not just a picture of a Web page (which is what the old style, in essence, did), but a fully interactive Web page, subject to the security restrictions the builder puts on it.

I think this will open up a whole new dimension for using SL as a tool of education.

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NPR features SL educator

NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday featured Michael Demers, a geography professor at New Mexico State University, talking about how he uses Second Life to help his students learn more effectively. You can listen to the segment online.

Of course, so far I haven’t been able to get it to play myself. [sigh] Your luck may be better.

Update: I managed to get it to play. Worth listening to!

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Reducing clutter huge challenge

Reducing clutter has always been a communication challenge. I’ve been teaching accuracy, brevity, and clarity since manual typewriters were the standard among journalists. Today’s media increase this challenge exponentially, however.

A current student who is following me on Twitter helpfully sent along a link to an article that talks about this very thing. While all the techie types are focusing on Web 2.0, we’re already thinking beyond it. Erick Schonfeld expands on this in his article “Web 3.0 Will Be About Reducing the Noise—And Twhirl Isn’t Helping

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