This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Week 3 -WoW Discussion 2

We'll be using this discussion to talk about guilds and groups.

So take a look ( read, skim, mediate on) this article by Constance Steinkuhler
Where Everybody Knows Your (Screen) Name: Online Games as "Third Places"

And please post your thoughts. Does WoW seem different from Second Life? Why or Why not?

About the guilds you've seen.

We started on the Horde side, with a very small level 2 guild Inevtiable Betrayal (72%) that is comprised of 5 educators and a few family members. It was started as place to put the goblins  for the Global Goblin Gathering. It currently has 3 level 85s and has aspirations of being a role-playing heal-for-hire mercenary group.And maybe by the end of this week we'll have one or 2 guild websites. (We need to test them out - you know to see if we can use them to gamify our classes). Inevtiable Betrayal has someone on most evenings, asking people if they need help or doing a "design run" to go look at some new texture or just deciding that repeatedly jumping over a cliff is necessary for that perfect screenshot.

Now, we'll be moving to the Alliance side where Cognitive Dissonance is located. This is a level 25 guild ( the highest) you can be. It has been in existance for 5 years now. The number of people on varies from day to day. There are between 5 - 7 level 85s who are on most evening. It has a permanent ventrilo. It is forming a raid group for level 85s and does have a PvP captain who most likely ask you if you would like to join in an arena match.

So for now, just take a look at the diffrences. We'll talk about groupings, team work and guilds on Wednesday and Thursday.

P.S. You don't have to choose. Some of us find we like the option of being associated with both. And there are many other guilds out there - keep your eye on the trade chat to see how some guilds recruit, their requirements and also their marketing strategies.

Task Discussion

  • Beverly G. McCarter   April 10, 2012, 2:27 p.m.

    What fun the last 2 nights in WoW!

    I tend to immerse easily in virtual environments (perhaps because of the amount of time I spend there) and found I was very uncomfortable in tight environments battling hostile mobs (Dungeons, et al) . Now, a lot of that may be because I have leveled to 85 as a Hunter in solo mode. I did not feel as comfortable knowing how to use MACROS to combine various skills and capabilities to defeat hostile mobs on my own with my Pet despite reading everything I can get my hands on.

    Kae was absolutely right - it is much easier (and more FUN!) to do this as a group. A bit like chasing away the "Boogey Man" with the support of a friendly and supportive group. :)  I want to thank the Dungeon Group for being so wonderful in helping to desensitize me to the environment!

    I went back into WoW after last night's discussion to explore some of the dynamics of the Seasonal Quests, in this case the Easter Egg Hunt. I wanted to see if some of the competition we see in the Physical World transcended into that space....

    It does. ;)

    Yet another psychological dynamic built into this environment to motivate and engage players.

    Pasted below is a photo of the riding mount I found inside one of the eggs I gathered. (and the Bunny Ears, too. :) ... the coveted prizes are another dynamic to encourage participation.)

    Easter Egg Hunt in WoW  The competition for the eggs was interesting. The eggs are planted in a fairly small area and, yes, as Kae pointed out many "camped" the rezzing spots for the eggs. But that did not stop others racing around the rezzing cycle from "stealing" those eggs before the campers could get them. And the competition among the circuit racers! It was interesting to watch different strategies evolve to outfind and outhunt the others.

    I tried camping for a bit (discovered it was actually slower than racing because the rezz rate overall was doing fairly well keeping up with the crowds), and noticed one player ( both of us had already been transformed into and stayed as small easter bunnies) decided to camp the same spot as I did. Eventually, that player left. Later, he/she returned to camp the spot after I had left and I joined in the vigil, again, just to see the reaction.

    Ever seen a frustrated small Easter Bunny????

    No text, but a lot of vigorous jumping up and down seemingly in protest! :)

    And, I discovered that I had less encroachment if I had my Spirit Best Leopard out beside me than if I were running the course by my small bunny self. Non-conscious reaction to a "Guard Dog"?

    Then, there were others who out of frustration of being beaten to an egg, or from having an egg taken from them half way through a download, resulted in combat challenges being issued!

    Ahhhhhhhh.... the parallels with the physical world!

    Verrrrrrrry Interesting! :)


  • DelightfulDoowangle   April 7, 2012, 10:55 a.m.

    Thanks Grid for the machinima. History was made and captured for infamy. The WoW tour was fun despite feeling so ignorant and incapable as a River Dancing Dwarf among all the embellished, powerful avatars.  I also felt guided, protected and inspired to be confident in learning more.

    Thanks too Kae for sharing Dr. Steinkuehler's article about third places in MMOs. The most striking point that stays with me is the democratization of complex MMO environments. Reminds me of the fundamental respect that underlies martial arts and how skill, knowledge, and experience influence the belt and degree attained.  

    The warfare in WoW sometimes puts me off too. Artificial conflict in WoW makes me wonder about the dinner table conversation between Dr. Kurt Squire who is married to Constance and also teaches at the University of Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Squire's research surrounded the turn-based game, Civilization. There is more room for negotiation in the core game-mechanics of Civilization, although it is not open ended. WoW most likely has negotiation (in addition to conflict) at higher levels. Wouldn't it be interesting to see a mash up of both games? 

    One of the game-related, emerging theories I am chasing leads to Robert Tennyson at the University of Minnesota and is related to complex-dynamic simulations. Margaret Wheatley's book, Leadership and the New Science, contrasted organic, complex systems in nature to organizational development. Wheatley's work has helped me appreciate MMOs for their dynamic complexity.  

    Several scholars at UCF, where I work are researching aspects of games and simulations. Now that I have renewed interest and experience in WoW, I can relate more to their findings.

    Drs Clint and Jan Cannon-Bowers have edited a book on serious games and their article with Peter Smith of the Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Lab on social psychology propose guidelines that also involve self organizing principles for collaboration. 

    Jan was the infamous instructional designer who was in a panel with Marc Prensky when he stated that instructional designers suck all the fun out of games. He clealy did not know some of the instructional designers involved in this MOOC and technically Jan was not an instructional designer by training .

    Dr. Steve Fiore is also looking into enactivism, which is rooted in constructivism plus embodied cognition. Some of you may also know the work of Dr. Atusi Hirumi in the Association of Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). He researchs gaming a lot on our campus in the College of Education. So much to learn! Time to play. 

  • Gridjumper   April 6, 2012, 5:24 p.m.
  • Beverly G. McCarter   April 6, 2012, 10:41 a.m.

    HI, Jack.

    I hear what you are saying.

    Prior to moving to NC over a year ago, I was working at the National Defense University helping to bring the entire Federal Govt into Virtual Worlds (the Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds) and helped the faculty there learn how to use the space for their classes. I am a certified virtual worlds architect and I design 3D immersive learning environments

    Several months ago after having read dozens of books on the psychology and design of immersive spaces and being an active member of several leading edge communities in this area I dived into WoW to better understand how and why it works so well to engage the players… what dynamics (psychological and narrative to name two) were at play there. My background is Psychology, Complexity, and Fine Art. I have been amazed at what I have found!

    The layers of complexity become clearer the more you explore WoW and other environments like it. How it is able to engage the participants for so long; how it is able to bring them back eagerly to play again; how to challenge a player to maximize engagement without crossing the line to frustration; how to teach through exploration and successive approximation techniques; how to maximize social networks to teach leaderships skills, how to utilize a variety of techniques that appeal to a diverse range of motivation factors, how to enhance critical thinking skills,… etc…   and THEN, how to take that knowledge and design my own immersive learning environments for whatever topic is being taught.  While at GameTech recently, the Army’s international Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge awarded 3rdplace in Directed Learning to my Maya Astronomy Center, Phases 1 & 2.  It is my first design to incorporate the lessons I have been learning beyond the books, articles, and my graduate degrees that synthesizes much of the incredible complex layering found in virtual spaces like WoW.

    While I don’t teach students using WoW, I do take the lessons learned there (and I am learning a great deal!) and apply them to my builds and designs in SL, OpenSim, MOSES, and Unity3D. I find my explorations of WoW and other similar gaming environments incredibly helpful in seeing how all the abstract theories work in practical application.



  • Jerry Buchko   April 6, 2012, 4:19 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Beverly G. McCarter   April 6, 2012, 10:41 a.m.

    Hi Bev,

    I really agree with your observations of WoW as a VW environment and of the game as a learning experience. You capture a lot of what's been going through my mind as I process my own experience of WoW as an individual naive participant and also as a member of the MOOC group.

    There are elements of critical thinking that are required in order to succeed in the environment, for example need for terrain & tactical analysis - rather than just rushing blindly into an area - in order to survive combat & achieve a quest/mission goal (especially as a solo player). I haven't had an opportunity to take part as a member of a raiding party, but I would imagine the layers of complexity, as you put it, would build on this basic experience and multiply, e.g. the raiding team, as a group of individuals working together, would need to learn to assess the challenge, learn to develop a coordinated plan of action, learn to communicate effectively before/during/after the challenge event, process/analyze group & individual performance in order to improve tactics, and then repeat the process again with the next challenge. 

    I also share a background & keen interest in Psychology, including interests in understanding phenomenological/subjective experience and positive psychology. I really agree with your assessment that the WoW environment succeeds in keeping participants immersed by making obstacles/problems just difficult enough to stretch/challenge the participants in applying the knowledge & skills they are taught, but not so difficult as to be frustrating and cause rejection of the experience. And the environment also effectively rewards participants for effective & successful application of what they learn, not just with survival but also recognition. 

    I think there is definitely this combination of elements that leads participants to experience a state of immersion that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defined as flow,  I suspect that many avid gamers would be able to relate to the ten factors Csikszentmihalyi identified as being a part of this experience of flow... I've certainly been reminded of them this week ;-)  As I've been processing my own expeirence, it occurred to me that this particular theoretical framework captured the experience quite well and I think could be a very useful lens through which to view & approach designing learning experiences & games.

    Great discussion!

    ~ Jerry


  • Aevalle Galicia/Stasia Weston   April 6, 2012, 5:13 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jerry Buchko   April 6, 2012, 4:19 p.m.

    *grins* I think about Csíkszentmihályi every time I look at the clock and realize I've been in WoW for a couple of hours and it seems like only 15 minutes. Then I want to take a step back and try to figure out how they did it--how they built the quests in steps and the environment in such a way to create that "flow".

  • Jack Mosel (Jack Buxbaum in Second Life!) @moseljack (Twitter)   April 6, 2012, 5:47 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Beverly G. McCarter   April 6, 2012, 10:41 a.m.

    HI Beverly, Thanks so much for elaborating on my comment. The brain based educational research you do sounds very interesting. I will definately check out the link you provided as well. I would like to say that I absolutely enjoy actively participating in WOW. I even paid to upgrade my account to the new expansion package.

    As i played I felt fear, hesitancy, awkwardness, sense of community, team and partnership building, etiquette (as in colloquialism) when around other's, stress (while in battle), while on quest, desire to excell, ambition, accomplishment, achievement, loss, frustration, fatigue!, terror (in becoming lost), relief when somewhere populated was in sight, angst for not being good enough a player to support other's during battle and finally, I felt a desire to come back and do it again, to look forward to meeting my friends in world and for our/my purposes, to feel like I was "part of" the community of educational leaders that use WOW and who were making a way for themselves as being recognized as being pioneers in educational technoloies' immersion into Virtual Worlds as a best management practice, as a pedagogically significant paradigm shift in 21st Century Education.

    I'm certain that I am not 'missing' anything from an untrained or non-mentored educator throwing himself into WOW and expecting to find... something. I take from what you are saying is that I (like many other educator's I'm sure), would need to be shown and led or guided through experiencial WOW activities with Aim & Objectives clearly made on the outset, to see the layering of foundational or constructivist learning being accomlpished. I saw last night another Blizzard game product for a space themed MMORPG... Now this might have potential toward motivating the Earth Science subject matter I teach as well. I would tend to think that the connectivity and comeraderie associated with "binding" rewards through class game-play would have significant merit in building trust and communnity with students as well as in subject matter reinforcement through role play acitivities such as these.


  • Jack Mosel (Jack Buxbaum in Second Life!) @moseljack (Twitter)   April 6, 2012, 6:24 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Beverly G. McCarter   April 6, 2012, 10:41 a.m.

    Bev, I just watched two of your videos for HMS. I am seriously impressed. Just as soon as I think I am hanging with really cool, really innovative people.. BAM, along comes someone with yet another aspect I hadn't realized was capable of address within Virtual Worlds Immersion... Complexity, Tech Shock, Virtual overload, digital communication overload and (my phrase) Technology Deficit Disorder (Slated for DSM VI no doubt) lol... You had me at Complexity Beverly... Addressing the connectivity to complexity in today's world coming together (digitally) and people's who have never had the ability to connect or communicate ... are immersed and connected at once. There is no paradigm, model nor basis for social comparisson for this monumental shift. it is 'funny' you said that one of the reason's there is so much of an onslought of global angst and strife and "Spring"s or uprising's, is because there was never connectivity like there is today... I swear that this is what I have been telling my students since the beginning of the school year, verbatim...

    You have my complete attention and admiration... Bravo for putting HMS together. If I may.. I think that there is huge currency in exposing this or to submit that a communication complexity and technological deficit disorder is affecting all in the connected world (and.. most have no idea that THIS is what's "Wrong"). In so far as teaching and learning and 21st Century immersion skill-sets in K-12 and best practices management for teaching and learning is concerned... I believe this is EPIC to convey to all edicator's active in ISTE, SIGVE, iNacol, Etc... Ad-Infinitum!

    I also think that I am not unique nor am I alone, in my reflection's and thoughts on this, that in trying to become involved and to "compete" almost, to stay with the leading edge of the "pack" (educator's in VR World's), I have been emotionally riding a roller coaster of ups and downs in determining my self-worth and actually internalizing my skill-sets and achievements (or lack thereof) in-world, to my Real World self. I see that HMS "get's this too".. I'm glad, because I was being brutal on myself lol!

    I hope we can remain connected Beverly, I feel like I have been validated actually and freed to an extent from having spent a small amount of time seeing what you and your company do. I want to say (If you beleive me), that you are on to something really big... I'm a sceptic.. and you sold me straight off jump street!

    you say your working with Unity... I would love to "run with you guys"... MOOC?

    Thanks again Beverly!  BIG >>>  :)

    Jack Mosel Jack Buxbaum (SL)

  • Kae   April 6, 2012, 10:40 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jerry Buchko   April 6, 2012, 4:19 p.m.

    We use an even shorter acronym for it.


    Causes You To Ignore Everything

  • Beverly G. McCarter   April 7, 2012, 11:15 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Jerry Buchko   April 6, 2012, 4:19 p.m.

    Absolutely, Jerry! :)

    This is part of immersion in virtual spaces.


    Love the discussion! :)


  • Beverly G. McCarter   April 7, 2012, 11:59 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Jack Mosel (Jack Buxbaum in Second Life!) @moseljack (Twitter)   April 6, 2012, 6:24 p.m.

    Thank you for your kind words, Jack. :)

    I'm glad you find my work helpful.


    And you are right. This IS a big concept.... one that is changing the world. We are in the middle of another revolution as important as the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions.


    I’m presenting at the upcoming East Coast Gaming Conference in Raleigh, NC later this month on the topic, “Narrative Structures, Wicked Problems, and MUVEs”. The main point of the talk is about the implications of this new revolution and the unique power of immersive virtual environments to help transcend many of the wicked problems (those difficult complex issues that arise from human interaction) we now face.


    Education is changing, too, as a result.


    I work with colleagues who work in the field of decision making using sophisticated probability based Bayesian Dynamics algorithm,  and NOT the standard decision tree based programming found in current NPCs.


    It is able to incorporate outlier data (those data points or entities that fall outside 2-3 standard deviations from the mean…. Einstein and Bin Laden would be considered “outliers” in social networks) which tends to drive or influence complex systems (and our hyper-connected world is an incredible complex human system). This algorithm is able to take live data and recalculate in real time to make new recommendations as to what decisions need to be made to reach your stated goal.


    We are working towards putting this algorithm into virtual world Intelligent Agents (NPCs or BOTs).


    Imagine the implications for learning simulations!

    This algorithm is self-learning, able to collaborate with other NPCs, and able to make the learning environment more realistically mirror the complex dynamics of the real world (not the limited to the capabilities of one or a dozen individual programmers’ ability to assign a specific reaction to player actions ).  Put this into a learning environment and it can’t be “gamed”. It can’t be predicted. It is different every time you step into the learning environment. Complexity tells us that human dynamics can’t be predicted (you can have a good idea of what may happen, but you can’t predict with certainty) and a learning environment using these NPCs would enable an environment that more realistically mirrors the real world. Students would have to “own” the skills being taught, and teachers become mentors to help them analyze their progress in the simulations - what worked, what did not, and why.


    Currently, nothing like this exists. But, it is coming to a classroom near you soon! ;)


    And you are right. It is EPIC, … it is truly HISTORIC!

    What a time to be alive! What a time to be part of the innovators in this new Revolution!


    Yes! I would love to stay connected with you, Jack, and this dynamic innovative group of people! :)




    (Bev Landar  in SL)

  • DelightfulDoowangle   April 7, 2012, 2:07 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Beverly G. McCarter   April 7, 2012, 11:59 a.m.

    Hi Bev,

    It is so nice to read elaboration on the work you do that is so relevant for emerging, immersive learning environments. Thanks for your involvement with the group in WoW too! 

    Interesting that you bring up Dynamic Bayesian Network (DBN) analysis. Do you know Dr. Elaine Raybourn who now works for the Advanced Distributed Learning Collaboratory in Orlando? She was a faculty member in Communications at New Mexico University where she worked at Sandia Labs. Her research has surrounded adaptive training for the Marines and has employed DBN analysis. "Adaptive" learning, training, expertise and stance is a hot topic in several journals across industries too. One of the biggest findings of Elaine's research was the usefulness of active observation without having to actually play a game. Seems that the premise could be useful for those faculty, teachers, or students who cannot or will not overcome the learning curve of games like WoW or environments like Second Life and Open Sim. Elaine is now permanent at the ADL CoLab after a fellowship. I look forward to applying her research in game-based learning. 

    Hope to learn from you more in WoW ;-)  

  • Beverly G. McCarter   April 7, 2012, 3:47 p.m.
    In Reply To:   DelightfulDoowangle   April 7, 2012, 2:07 p.m.

    Hi, Delightful!

    Thank you. :)

    It is nice to find more kindred spirits on the same page regarding complex adaptive systems!

    Yes, I had the pleasure of getting to know Elaine while I was working at the National Defense University. :)

     Her work parallels much of mine. My latest book is coming out this summer ( that deals with an overview of complex systems, a practical application of theory, and an epilogue that looks at the value of 3D immersive environments in this area.

    I think we will see even more researchers turning their attention to this most important area. It's nice to see people already know the tearm "Wicked Problems" now when I use it. ;)

    I look forward to following your research, too!

    Best, Bev

  • Gridjumper   April 7, 2012, 9:03 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Beverly G. McCarter   April 7, 2012, 11:59 a.m.


    You helped me to understand the use of MMORPGs in education. I have wondered about the builds and scenarios built in places like Second LIfe and the fact that they often mirror the physical world.  Anytime I got any kind of interest in the use of virtual enviornments in education the discussion led to creating simulations of what we have in traditional physical spaces; classrooms, offices, conference rooms and auditoriums.  WOW is certainly not a simulation of our typical workspaces yet we can use it for improvement in those spaces because it is what happens in our heads that makes the difference.  now how to get my bosses to see this.......

  • Jack Mosel (Jack Buxbaum in Second Life!) @moseljack (Twitter)   April 7, 2012, 11:42 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Beverly G. McCarter   April 7, 2012, 11:59 a.m.

    Hi Beverly, Okay so.. I am still reeling from the hyper-awareness / revelation I had as a result of 'hooking up' essentially all HMS and you have put forward from your disscussion here and from what I gleaned from the HMS video channel and website...

    Today, during an Easter gathernig we held at our home, I was relating this awareness from "COMPLEXITY" and the chaos associated with global inter-connected-ness... As this is a rabbit hole we are only now realizing we are assuredly free-falling through. Putting this together, as I had confided with you I had been surmizing that the global conflict and strife associated with today's foreign and domestic turbulence is more than likely rationalized (by me or so I thought) from everyone being connected all at once, where we all had never been connected before. Your work with HMS divulging and expressing this very sentiment caused me to re-focus with keen acuity, that this theory has more than merit... It is validated and is a moving target with a conscience all its' own.

    Three of my guests are professional's with PhD's and M.D's. (I am a lowly M.A.T.. LOL)... My Mother is the Ph.D & DSW, Columbia University my other guest is a Chiropractor Practicioner who specializes in psychological causality for stress related issue's and offer's cognitive therapy as an effective approach toward healing. The attention given to this conversation I led with these two was intense. They both immediately "Got it", the "complexity" and the chaos assimilated with information overload and the immersion of connectivity as a global awareness. The primitive brain was immediately discussed, flight or fight response being triggered from constant immersive awareness and the fact that there is not an "off switch" anywhere in sight from the stimulus which causes this primitive brain response was also discussed at great length.

    Needless to say there are two more very interested professional's that would like to seek more information on your work with HMS.. Looking forward to your book in August.

    I am an educator, I have a Masters' Degree and certification to teach in NYS, I have three years classroom experience, I am an an adult career changer at 47, I am a gamer and have been actively involved In-World with SL for 5 years. I have clearly made very clear 'investment's' in my school district to forward the movement for immersive technologies into Public K-12 Secondary instruction (as disclosed in this string). I have very close reference access to Doctoral mentoring from my mother and other's in the "clan" I run with such as my former Mentor from my M.A.T. Degree studies program Dr. Avonne Alzate, SUNY (Ret.) who is now a "free agent" with time on her hands and whom which is also a 'gamer'!... How can I/we become involved in what seems to be a burgeoning industry with chaos and complexity of it's own (I.E. Public K-12 Education)???

    I see agencies and individual's receiving grants like free flowing water and I know some (many) of this grant money is feeding watered down hypothetical research (I am brutal and some suggest a filter, often.. lol). Seriously, I want to provide meaningful application with actual students in authentic real-world teaching and learning classrooms where we can apply what we have been doing in-world from enough time in terms of years of trial and error.. to roll out in a classroom environemnt that is accredited and recognized as authentic Middle and/or Secondary Education.

    I have a belief that I can and will find (eventually) that 'someone' or that they may find me, and that this Virtual Teaching position for me and the data and research that SHOULD come from or with it would also be part and parcel of the teaching position / scenario I seek to find.

    I know that in terms of risk from student's being placed in 'high risk' from a tentatively experimental teaching and learning environment is minimal and low. I have high confidence of this because without asking for permission, I have applied it with some already in small ways (informally /voluntarily, with no impact on grade), through active aprticipation, consisiting of a few sessions in SL on open science builds. The venue and platform afforded as being a genuine "teaching environment" as perceived from these student's was all they needed to know.. They met me 70% of the way, I merely showed up, facilitated and guided while i taught. They engaged. listened, retained and sought... The "motivated learner" therefor, is what I was looking to facilitate..

    Vygotsky surmizes in theory that a motivated learner will become a Self-Regulated learner.. Pushing toward (ZPD) Zone of Proximinal Dimension (or to the wall..), is the ultimate of best practices for having high expectations from learner's in this way. I get that, we get that... This was the outcome. The platform many of what Generation "Millennial" is salivating for is what we are "Playing in" now...

    Please keep me / this in mind if you might run across such an opportunty for a great "Laboratory". I would think that there are enough "drop out's" seeking credit recovery or "School Refuser's" than one could shake a stick at (in the U.S. alone), to assemble a class from. I am NYS certtified Secondary Earth Science (and soon Living Environement: 5-9 / 7-12), I believe my involvement could only occur in the state I am certified in however. I also know that NY Gov. Cuomo along with NYC Mayor Bloomberg is very keen on shaking things up in Education and is looking for "accountability" and "Innovation" in NYS / NYC schools.. Could be Win/Win with the right alignment... I could easily find and recruit many other tech savvy certified teacher's here in NYS to ramp up or scale up should the need arise.

    The future is bright.. I count on that. I just don't know how much longer or from where the innevitable "landing place" for what seems so Niche a request (for me) today, will become an actualized reality.. Alas.  As We know THIS is what IS neccesary for US to get out of our own way and to get on with getting down to awakening nothing short of the next generation and the entire country / world to mesh with chaotic learning systems and embrace the complexity as if to say:

    "Take me as far and as fast as I desire, free me of the confinement of traditional learning.. or to accept that the information jet stream exists, much of it is sweeping age old cultures, norms and industries' as well as paradigms off its' feet. Everything we've come to know is in flux... I want to be part of a connected world and I need to be shown how to best manage and safely, productively tether to this awesome chaotic and COMPLEX evolutionary event..."



  • Beverly G. McCarter   April 8, 2012, 1:34 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Gridjumper   April 7, 2012, 9:03 p.m.

    Thank you, Gridjumper. You are very kind. :)

    And, yes! Many don't understand the power of virtual environments lie it

    • it's ability to demonstrate complex abstract ideas due to its different physics from the physical world;
    • it's ability to let participants expand their views of reality, understand themselves and "The Other", build relationships and trust, etc due to the immersion/ presence/ transference phenomena; and
    • to spot design abnormalities that 2D depictions may miss.... just to name a few.

    Recreating environments that already exist in the physical world can be a reassuring stepping stone for those who may be uncomfortable diving into the full reality that is virtual worlds. But, as an end point it greatly misses th true power and strength of virtual environments.

    But, many don't know how to teach their subjects in this environment. They have difficulty thinking laterally where their teaching is concerned.

    I saw that quite a bit when I worked with the National Defense University. The faculty were eager to use the space, but had no idea how to begin. And that leads back to a previous comment here that educators might benefit from a training course not only in how to navigate these spaces, but how their true power might be harnessed for their classes.

    I'm currently building an interlocking teaching module system that may help instructors to bridge the gap in their ability to use the environment. It will enable them to drop their subject matter into the system while at the same time expanding their ability to think "virtually" in how they might teach their subject.

    The more instructors learn, the more exemplary teaching models are utilized, the greater likelihood immersive virtual learning environments will be mainstreamed and accepted.

    Right now, we are still at the forefront of the coming wave... but, not to fear. It is coming. :)

    And soon! ....

  • Beverly G. McCarter   April 8, 2012, 2:01 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jack Mosel (Jack Buxbaum in Second Life!) @moseljack (Twitter)   April 7, 2012, 11:42 p.m.


    I loved your heartfelt and passionate text! :)

    And, thank you for your kind comments about my work. I would look forward to talking with your friends on the topic. 

    More Complexity resources on my website (if you haven't found it already) are located here:  The Santa Fe Institute has been researching Complexity for about 25 yrs now.

    It is nice to connect with others who understand and embrace these concepts. More people are understanding it than they did 5 yrs ago when I first started presenting on the topic. The latest crashes of the stock market helped many to begin to examine complexity, as a result.

    As a possible resource to point to other public school systems using virtual worlds, have you seen what the Georgia school system is doing?

    They have implemented a system wide non-scripted virtual environment for all their teachers to use. This may prove to be the example that helps the immersive virtual environment go mainstream in the public education arena. :)


  • Jack Mosel (Jack Buxbaum in Second Life!) @moseljack (Twitter)   April 6, 2012, 9:58 a.m.

    Hello all. I wanted to say Happy Good Friday to those that apply and to say thanks for all the great organization during the MOOC! I had an engaging week being involved with you all...

    I wanted to objectively reflect... I saw that the beginning of the MOOC activity was well attended and 'active' when we were on task with machinima skills and while we were in SL, using SL as a platform to expand on. When we jumped into WOW, I was looking for meaningful and transferable / mainstream as well as clearly identifiable educational purpose was to be had in WOW. I didn't see it and I was looking hard. I see that there are those of us participating in WOW that have applied WOW to their pedagogy and have found meaningful pupose (for them) and that's wonderful really. I am not a NoOb (lol) to immersive environments being useful and most powerful for teaching and learning. I immediately saw immersive participatin in VR (SL) as being more readily 'acceptable' and 'applicable' when it comes to 'selling' the trascending shift from physical classroom to hybridized and even fully digital / distance classroom learning and participatin is concerned.

    The scenery and storyline's and the activities associated with WOW as an educational platform (in my opinion) is vague. PLEASE don't take this as an affront toward those of you using it with great enjoyment and localized success.

    I am an Earth Science teacher, I am in a U.S. Public High School, I can speak to my own experiences in fighting the good fight, as I have made Superintendent's Day presentation's in "Teaching and Learning in VR Worlds" for three years consecutively now. I have written acceptable user policy for the district and submitted that along with having the Administrator's back me up in bringing SL into the school and installing it on 7 laptops. I have demo'd SL to about 1000 students over the past four years.. I am virtually alone in my district.

    I am a new career changer teacher (47 yrs old) and I (like many who aren't tenure shielded lol) have serious potential career liabilities associated through pushing this "investement" of my politicizing/advocating for VR World immersion into public K-12 school's. The Union has clearly become my thwarting nemesis as I have come to find... I was told in no uncertain terms that " Jack, the union is concerned about your setting precident for teacher's doing more for less in your voluntary activities setting the stage for teacher's to overcome technology shortcoming's. We want to you to tone it down and back off this." I heard this on day one last year while I was getting my ID and Key. I was so offended by this statement I didn't think about the place I was in, which was the front office of a huge High School in an "influencial and 'Powerful', Suburban community in NYS. I didn't flinch and I "went loud"... I replied

    "That's YOUR statement, you feel comfortable addressing me with Mr. "Smith"...  The Union is actually reaching out to me in this way? seriously? This is the Union speaking? Okay, I get it, tell the Union that I was told and that I'm full speed ahead.. still. The Union is looking to deny the fact that it is a union of TEACHER'S and that IF TEACHER'S don't step up their game (as individual professional educator's) in breaching fundamental learning curves (and deficits therein), which should have been up to date all along in keeping pace with the mode within the method required for teaching, than my bringing the reality of the outside world into the artificial environemt of the school's protective environement is also freely offered as a wake up call to us all, student's included. If we do not address this issue of technology deficit disorder (TDD), we are going to have all our lunch's eaten by hundreds of millions in Asiatic countries coming online en-masse, within 3- 5 years. My motive is certainly to offer freely what I have in terms of current and cutting edge educational pedagogical knowledge and skills to you all. I am also looking to market myself as a valueable asset to this school in doing so because I want a job here that, like you is tenured and secure. If we wait for a mandate from Albany and/or Washington to teach in VR Hybridized worlds and wait for all technophobic teacher's to transcend the digital divide, it will have been another day late and dollar short and our own jobs, economy and the student's WE are responsible for to TEACH what we know, will fail... or worse.. we'll be working for a for profit private corporation that will no sooner throw technology deficit teacher's in a chipper than they would bat an eye... I'm all in Mr. Smith."

    Clearly, I have skin in this game. The reason I mention this is because I really think this group is likened to the heart of the "movement" for VR integration that's meaningful and that we should really be thinking about unity, alignement on task and not diluting precious time on task with technologies that may not as easily be associated with tangible / readily identifiable and mainstream public educational applicability. If I was to offer WOW in this HS as my lead in to putting WOW as the face of technology integration into K-12 as the "movement's" best and brightest idea, I'd be holding a sign at the onramp for the GWB "Will teach for food".

    I see the use for WOW (vaguely, honestly) and I love the teacher's in it... This is brutally honest, I am not looking for an arguement or to cause any roughened feather's. I cannot come away from this experience with real pro's that took me through WOW and say that I saw the light... I teach Earth Science, I have 180 days to teach to every "OLOGY" known to man and my job and pay along with my student's future job's and pay depend on my selection for pedagogically appropriate and effective teaching and learning tools that are spot on and are effectively applied. A High Stakes test assures I have made the right descision as well...

    I don't just beleive, I know for a fact that if I had the ability to create VR Immersive builds on a virtual island and co-teach and co-create with really cool teacher's like everyone here and to offer THAT to my students as well as my peer colleagues that are suffering from (TDD) Ha!, that this would be transcending and monumentally effective, as it would be for us all in "The Movement"...

    Where do we go from here? Is there any thought's on MOOC creation for JIBE, UNITY 3D, Blender and the useage thereof on SL and then.. transcending Grids? (Gridjumping?!) building your own island on your own desktop and having the autonomy to offer that as a private build and network extended as host to those you select? and also having the freedom to take any and all inventory you create or were given, to any other grid.. freely without any hassle? If this sounds like WOW! than great, this is what John Lester and many at Sigve and OS and Reaction Grid are upto... Let's Get IN as a MOOC Group!

    WOW  --  NOW seems like we are eating desert before the main meal.. just sayin'.

    It was great to be around you all, you are all ILLUMINARIES to me and I need to be LED.. I get "hijacked" with "Fear" of the unknown I need you help and your commeraderie.. I'll pull my own weight but I'm not good at being an organizer... Where are "WE" going from here?



  • Rosavioletta   April 5, 2012, 11:08 a.m.

    A sigh....doesn't all this make me feel nostalgic.... wink

  • Exquisite Corpse   April 5, 2012, 12:50 a.m.

    I love the idea of "theory craft" and would like to know more.  Although I can't PWN in WoW this week (or anytime soon) I have been musing this week about being educational "transformers" rather than CONFORMERS (no bow to the recent films intended).  The face of learners and learner expectations can be transformed by those brave enough to walk another path, as threatening as that might be to the status quo.  Hey, maybe those intimidating transformer machine giants are apt images after all....