by Steven R. Van Hook, PhD
Sakura Learning Center in
For many years futuristic educators
have been devising high-tech learning
models for precluded people (see
Universal Learning: Can We Plug it In?).
There are millions (even billions) of student wannabes who
can’t even visit one of the world’s cities, let alone attend a
You sometimes spot them on the urban streets
of developing nations: Hopeful village girls and boys, eyes wide
and country-clothes fresh, gaping at the spires before they’re
chugged back home on ragged trains.
Given the tightening
gates of academia, how might they ever experience the
intellectual joys of expansive university grounds?
Legions of us rose-eyed visionaries saw hope in online virtual world
The transformational virtual schools early in
the new century disappointed many. These worlds are
typically user-defined, meaning *we* make the rules (within very
And many self-defining users were not
inclined to study, but strip.
Lord of the Flies
with lasers, blatant sex beaches, plug-and-play genitals.
Also imagine the highest of realized aspirations: role-play
lands governed by noble codes of honor; free and bountiful
buffets for all; great minds sharing ideals regardless of space/time (you could lay on a
cosmic couch and interact with Freud);
actually walking in another’s skin; judging others by the content of
their profiles since any outward face is only a pixel deep.
A world where the lion and the lamb lay together – no doubt there’s
a ‘ball’ for that. But I digress.
inevitably allow broadband access and vast sensational flow,
where we can create a sense of place for isolated peoples and
students; where the immersion is deep, the relations are
authentic, and the experience is satisfying.
If we look
at the hype-cycle for emerging technologies, the virtual world has
already peaked in inflated expectations, plumbed its low
point in the trough of disillusionment, and is climbing the
slope of enlightenment towards a plateau of productivity.
designing educational centers in the Second Life virtual world for
near a decade,
and I’ve ridden that wave.
Hike around the island and talk with an international
visitor or two (in the last week alone from Brazil,
Italy, France, Egypt, Turkey, Japan, Kansas ...)
Drop me a note inworld c/o Kip Roffo, and we’ll befriend.
The Blogging Post
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