learning.now: at the crossroads of Internet culture & education with host Andy Carvin

About Learning.Now

Learning.now is a weblog that explores how new technology and Internet culture affect how educators teach and children learn. It will offer a continuing look at how new technology such as wikis, blogs, vlogs, RSS, podcasts, social networking sites, and the always-on culture of the Internet are impacting teacher and students' lives both inside and out of the classroom.
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Yes, social networks are here to stay, but the current format is just the Model A version of what is to come. As technology improves, the interactions will go real time and live. People will still communicate asyncronously, but there will be live interactions in small and large groups.

Avatar worlds of this type are in existance today and are going to be the next big thing on the horizon. Communication is still text based but VOIP is being tested and is just around the corner. I’m sure it’s just a bandwidth question of how to handle the load of thousands of people interacting, because in 1998 I was a beta tester for Online Traveler, a VOIP avatar world that is still around using the same technology that it was using then.

For some reason, it was never updated, but the interactions we had as testers were fun, interesting, and sometimes a bit strange.

I can remember on time when five of us were in online together. Two of the techs were kidding around. One of them was complaining about an incident earlier in the day. All of a sudden, one of the other testers started playing Achey Breaky Heart. The next thing you know the five of us were doing a country line dance.

Now these avatars were just talking heads with lips that were synchronized with the voice. It was fun. However thinking about the prospect of full body avatars that are anatomically correct and completely controlable will probably send chills down the spines of more then a few people.


I believe that social web software is the next-biggest “killer app” (or, at least, killer philosophy) since email.

Like yourself, my experience of the Internet goes back over a decade, and my career in web, e-learning, and multimedia development has allowed me to closely monitor social trends and perceptions of the web.

Web issues such as usability, accessibility, connectivity, and functionality have led us to this point, and there’s no going back. The success of social web tools has been driven by a demand for these web-based services: nobody’s forcing users to use them in the open web, so users only come back to these tools because they’re actually useful.

In addition to providing valuable tools and resources for users, social web sites provide everyday web users with an opportunity to express ourselves in all our myriad variety, and establish networks and linkages to other people and information. These links nurture and validate us, both as individuals, and as members of various groups or cultures… and every human being wants to be validated - they want to be recognised for their uniqueness, and feel part of one or more collectives.

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