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Humans in Cyberspace - Exploring the Humanities in Rich, Visual Contexts

Chair, Patrick McKercher, University of California, Santa Cruz Special Guest Speakers: James Burke, Connections & Bruce Damer, Contact Consortium Virtual Location: VLEARN

padraic: Hello and welcome, everyone, to the humanities in virtual worlds discussion. I'm Patrick McKercher (pmmckerc@cats.ucsc.edu); I teach writing at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

padraic: We also have with us today Bruce Damer, the one who's fault this all i...I mean, the person who first introduced me and so many others to the rich potential of these worlds with his book Avatars, and his many projects.

padraic: We'd hoped to have James Burke join us to tell about his project, but as he has to use the French tele-communications system from a medieval village with gale force winds right now, it doesn't look good.

padraic: As project coordinator, I'll do my best to fill in. I thought I'd start by telling you a bit about some humanities projects we're working on at UCSC,...

padraic: ... answer any questions about those, then we can all discuss your ideas about what we're doing, and what we could do.

padraic: with reference to the humanities

padraic: Then Bruce will give us a preview on what's going on at the Avatars conference this weekend. Do that sound like a good plan?

"lorex": fantastic

padraic: Please feel free to jump in with questions or comments at any point.

padraic: Great. Virtual UCSC has recently relocated into the Eduverse, and has thus shifted missions from a tour of the campus, to a true learning space. The Human Genome Project, as well as a number of other campus groups, are moving in.

"tony": hope so

padraic: (and we have partnered with Borderlink.org to provide online tutoring in history, writing and other subjects, but that is the topic of a later panel).

padraic: tony, we are always looking for partnerships like those.

padraic: eCollegE's writing center takes a student through the five phases of the writing process as a journey up the stairs through a series of rooms dedicated to that phase, with advice from real writers.

egypt20: That's interesting...I'm developing CMC Web Quest activities between my world, the University of Toronto and Carnegie Mellon U's CENTER for Creative Inquiry--exploring Egyptian themes.

padraic: excelent, i'm very interested in history, as youll see, and we are partnering with exploratorium here.

ProfMD: what's the advantage of using a 3D world as a writing center as opposed to a MUD?

padraic: well, as a writing teacher i love MOO's, and started out in them.

padraic: for example we were studying the zapatista uprising in mexico and built a world for peace negotiations.

padraic: i love that in MUDs and MOO's, just writing about something makes it so.

padraic: and making and sharing objects is great.

padraic: the problem is that especially young people want a more compelling visual meduim.

ProfMD: oh OK

padraic: so i made the jump to 3d.

padraic: The writing center has a tutoring space with whiteboard and history and literature resources, as well as a poetry room. As soon as you all leave, I'm stealing the lights and stage from this room so we can have live poetry slam events there.

padraic: The other main building in eCollegE (pronounced ecology) is the Situation Room. This looks like a science world, but in fact its real purpose is to educate about the environmental crisis...

padraic: ... and move people to action, which nearly always involves writing and communicating. For example, Julia Butterfly Hill, who saved the thousand year old Stafford Giant Redwood by living in it for two years...

padraic: ultimately only succeeded because she spent much of her time educating the press and thus the public, who finally purchased the Headwaters Forest.

padraic: Julia did a talk here a couple weeks ago with my environmental core course that was studying the fight for Headwaters. This is one of the most exciting aspects of virtual worlds:

padraic: your students can interact in realtime with essentially anyone, anywhere in the world. Virtual UCSC has just partnered with James Burke on his Knowledge Web project.

padraic: When I saw his Connections series on PBS when i was in college, I understood for the first time television's power to teach. I believe the Knowledge Web will do the same for the WWW.

padraic: If you know Burke's fascinating pinball journeys through history, you'll know that they were just made for hypertext links, and in fact we're working with Ted Nelson, who coined the term.

padraic: Also with Vincent Cerf, and other Internet pioneers. What's really exciting about this is that users will not only be able go follow Burke on his tours of history, but they can create their own connections.

padraic: to follow i mean

padraic: Another exciting and powerful potential of virtual worlds is that you can create metaphors that inspire the kind of action you desire...

padraic: ... For example, the Situation Room invites you to be a VIP who gets the latest and best information and then acts on it.

padraic: The basic metaphor of the Knowledge Web is behind me on the left: history as layers of an onion, with the present on the surface and our beginnings at the center.

padraic: Thus users will be able to fly through history, as suggested by the mockup of the user interface on my right (and at http://people.ucsc.edu/~pmmckerc/images/09_Crumbtray.gif) ....

padraic: if you click on the blue text you can see that image

padraic: The narrow window on the right keeps track of your journey, the timebar WHEN you are, and the map top left WHERE you are. Questions?

"brainstorm": This one is nice too :-) http://people.ucsc.edu/~pmmckerc/images/105_SP~1.JPG

padraic: ok

padraic: This is where it gets really interesting for us 3D folk: what if you not only can read about Edison and Curie's labs? ...

padraic: but What if you could visit their labs, use their equipment (as in Science Center), talk with Madame Curie, and solve a problem with people all over the world? ...

"akejay": howdy all!

padraic: More info on the Knowledge Web is here, and we invite your help with that: http://people.ucsc.edu/~pmmckerc/jbvisst.htm

padraic: But now i'd like to use the rest of our time brainstorming how we can use these worlds to teach not only history but arts, languages, ...

padraic: ...drama, music, dance (beyond the macarena), all the humanities. Whaddaya think?

jeffh: very neat

hypatia: Bravo, Patrick!!!

Ginger: Wonderful!

"Rowan": great!!

padraic: or how would you like to?

"brainstorm": but what about copyright and naming of the text source, or better what about the truth of a story ?

jeffh: I really like the idea of students being able to make their own new connections too

vetunimi: great!

padraic: on the burke project, we are writing our own conttent, like a grassroots encyclopdia such as nupedia

Ginger: I think you make a good point. Just the other day, I was using AWEDU to speak with some German users. I used an online translation program, and even though I don't speak a word of German,

ProfMD: Our metpahors shape our percprions - why use an onion metaphor? Why not a tree, or a rhizome? Trees have been used for centuries to represent family connections.

ProfMD: perceptions

padraic: copyright on images and video is harder

Ginger: we communicated and connected.

hypatia: Good point Prof... there are numerous ways to visualize the same information

"akejay": who owns information patrick?

hypatia: copyright inworld is like the web in hyperdrive, much more complex

"akejay": are universities really in the state-run intellectual property development industry?

padraic: we will use dynamic hyperbolic trees to navigaste, hence the term kweb; us may use webbrain.com software

jeffh: (tree suggest heirarchy)

ProfMD: onions don't? "center"/periphery

hypatia: hyperbolic trees obliterate hierarchy to some degree

jeffh: I'm not sure whether I'm a fan of the onion either :-)

"akejay": trees suggest branching like L-systems

jeffh: It's more like you need a vat full of molecules that can be interconnected in any manner

vlearn6: peel the onion, peel the onion - that metaphor may work better in some cases (like data mining)

ProfMD: the pinball metaphor is nice because it's 3D plus some random events

"akejay": the onion metaphor suggests the process of unveiling has been predetermined by the presenter

padraic: yes, being able to create your own journeys, and sharing them will be great.

queenbee: I like the molecular metaphor, sort of at the level of proteomics though, very complex

"akejay": and processing intensive

padraic: We really need teachers to help us deign not only the interface, but curriculum to make is useful in the classroom.

jeffh: yes.... as soon as you define any structure, there are limitations it seems... an interesting problems

katy: Multiple ways to access a particular piece of knowledge is good - our brain works very well this way.

Ginger: Yes, that's true.

padraic: definitely Katy, and there'll be multimdia too.

"akejay": what if designing your own interface were the curriculum?

queenbee: Have you looked at the NSDL? They have a huge amount of information already filtered for education

"Grendel": for a web site that embodies a similar approach check out: http://fusionanomaly.net/

padraic: nice idea ake, we are built on a constructivist method that says the best way to learn is to make a learning tool for someone else.

"akejay": is building your own knowledge interconnections is too individual for classwork?

padraic: any leads to similar ventures are greatly appreciated!

"akejay": um, is it?

padraic: The big problem is how to connect conventional practices 9like state standards0 to such unconverntional practive as Kweb.

jeffh: not if you can share and revise I dont think

"Rowan": NSDL??? Do you have an address?

ProfMD: We've created an "art gallery" to teach Victorian culture - but this does not seem to exploit all the possibilities of 3D worlds....

"akejay": knoweldge interconnections are links to other people, in between you and the experts?

"akejay": like Solomon and his bee?

jeffh: Prof: can students rearrange the art?

ProfMD: no

ProfMD: it's a very passive setup unfortunately

zg: is that in the eduverse prof?

jeffh: it seems that one of the potential powers of this stuff is seeing different arrangements... contrasting ways of looking at things

padraic: interesting point

Immigration Officer: You are being joined by emrys.

ProfMD: it's in virtuta - but we're shy and it's not public....

jeffh: :-)

"Grendel": something like KWeb might be more easily integrated into Gifted Programs, rather than regular classrooms...at least to start

queenbee: (to "Rowan") http://nsdlib.nsdl.cornell.edu/nsdl/portal/index2.html sorry it took so long to find

zg: thats a shame prof - there are too many closed worlds imho

hypatia: That is a good point, Grendel and also in distance learning programs that are already technology intensive.

padraic: in K web, the major interconnections are between people in history, and how they influenced each other in odd ways, but we could also connect students to content experts.

"Rowan": that's ok! Thank you :-)

queenbee: We are focusing on connecting HS and college students, so are several UC worlds.

ProfMD: how have the students reacted to the 3D writing tutorial idea?

"Grendel": what I like about this concept is it gets away from factoid learning and focusses on seeing relationships, critical thinking and problem solving...talk about making history relevant! :o)

"akejay": who defines their expertise then, the students, the institution, or some "free" market of ideas?

queenbee: Yes, our tomato greenhouses are "knowledge spaces" constructed by a team of teens

padraic: James thinks the KWeb will be accessible to all, because you can always start with what you already know; he's targeting precocious ten year ollds, but we hope adults will play too.

queenbee: :-)\

"Grendel": I he using V-worlds or just 2D web pages?

"Grendel": I = is

queenbee: oddly enough, this seems to be an adult playground rght now, Lucrezia might have the demographics?

padraic: we;ll start w/ web, then move into 3D.

"Grendel": will the "pathways" be pre-mapped, or will the students be discovering their own?

"akejay": that is the question

jeffh: both would be nice

padraic: Yes Gendel, i was just speaking w/ a fellow in delware who gave me great questions about how inventions change us, and how they change our relationship to natural world.

"brainstorm": where is natural world ?

padraic: both predetermined and thus guaranteed interesting paths, but you can make you own (and maybe archive, share, or find people with you own way of looking at things.

"Grendel": I would think it would be ideal to demonstrate some interconnections first, then let the students practice finding their own to solve problems

"akejay": are the pathways are fluid and changeable then, like feedback between teacher-expert & student-generalist?

hypatia: Thank you patrick for a great introduction to the work JB and you are doing... Applause! We would like to move on to our next speaker,

queenbee: Cheers!\

"akejay": *clap clap*

ProfMD: applause

Ginger: Applause

"Urs": thanks

HenrikG: *clap* *clap*

vetunimi: great!

vlearn7: applause

"remi": thanks

"Rowan": clap clap!

katy: Clap clap

mbanz: clap clap

Digigardener: super job patrick as usual

hypatia: whoo hooo!

"Grendel": hear hear!

"3donline": clap

tinkerbell: clap clap clap!

hypatia: clap clap clap

martin sjardijn: *clap* *clap*

queenbee: (to HenrikG) Hi, so nice to see you today!

Policy Guy: Great! Thanks -- clap clap

tinkerbell: awesome

hypatia: Now the incomparable Digigardener will introduce us to Avatars 2001

"brainstorm": Tatata

jeffh: thanks

hypatia: aka Bruce Damer... Bruce?

katy: I love the interface snapshots.

zch: GGGreat!!

Digigardener: thanks

padraic: thanks! now bruce will tell us the past, present and maybe future of avatars.

Digigardener: glad to be here

Digigardener: hey guys can i stand on the stage?

queenbee: please!

Digigardener: dressing in cy for old times sake

Diane: very interesting

Digigardener: well folks i have been graciously given this slot

Digigardener: to tell you all about the avatars2001 event this weekend

Digigardener: which is a cyber conference of sorts in four platforms

Digigardener: on either side of the stage are pix of scenes from the event worlds

Digigardener: some from aw, the main universe..

Digigardener: where we have a huge set of beayoootiful worlds

Digigardener: modeling a "cyber space odyssey"

HenrikG: hi:) I remember you from another event, interesting session:)

Digigardener: a parody/recreation of a famous film whose name is embedded in this year, 2001

Digigardener: you can ride the discovery to the stargate

Digigardener: folllow the monoliths if you get my drift

Digigardener: then there is, right now, over in adobe atmosphere

Digigardener: sesions getting started

Digigardener: in the "interplanetary transit station"

Digigardener: whre mike kaplan, chief of the atmophere project is going to keynote

Digigardener: great, slides!

Immigration Officer: You are being joined by emrys.

Digigardener: see the aw space station

Digigardener: and art gallery

Digigardener: impressive work

Digigardener: the station rotates

Digigardener: (anyeone awake?)

queenbee: :0

Ginger: I'm awake.

Digigardener: atmosphere is a new platform- you should all check out

Digigardener: it is in beta for another year so your suggestions can be turned into features

"Bing Han": I am alive too:)

"3donline": awake

"akejay": Yay Atmosphere!

Digigardener: next is the event in the Palace

Digigardener: 24 hours on the palace

Digigardener: continuing today

katy: How is Atmosphere doing in terms of attracting a larger user community?

Digigardener: palace users continuing their community after thecompany running their world has disappeared

Digigardener: an impressive feate

"akejay": survival of virtual extinction event!

Digigardener: amtosphere is slowly growing but a very solid set of builders has emerged

Digigardener: next is the Traveler event

"akejay": it's the next great medium after photoshop and illustrator!

Digigardener: starting now

Digigardener: voice chat, lip synch avatars, pretty amazing

Digigardener: focus is on communications but also building in a simpler format

Digigardener: than AW

Digigardener: next is outerworlds, another aw universe

Digigardener: cooperating with us this year

"Grendel": Yaaaaayyyy, OW! <I'm from there> ;o)

Digigardener: yes bonnie notes, the aw main universe has a different browser than AWEDU

Digigardener: OW is doing a first

Digigardener: tomorrows big event, the avvy awards

Digigardener: will be broadcast across in to OW

Digigardener: by video streaming and slide show

Digigardener: it is the first ever cross universe mirrored event

Digigardener: so folks, i woudl encourage you to try stuff out

Digigardener: www.ccon.org

Digigardener: gets you to the conference pages, and there is a link in here

Digigardener: we continue to push the creative cutting edge of cyberspace

"Auntie Galen": =++++=+

queenbee: just fine

Digigardener: despite the dotcom and tech crash/slowdown

Digigardener: our medium just chugs along, we keep innovating

tinkerbell: Bruce, what time is tomorrow's big event? PST will work...

Digigardener: ok we start at 10am PST and go to three

"3donline": Yea cutting edge of technology!

Digigardener: the avvys is at 3pm PST

tinkerbell: Thank you! =)

Digigardener: and why not?

Digigardener: we have to keep this medium evolving

Digigardener: it will fall into hands of the community rather than companies

"akejay": we have to keep this medium evolving us!

"Auntie Galen": hi gorgeous

Digigardener: good point!

HenrikG: I hear that if you have a wirld listed in Atmosphere, the copyright will belong to Adobe, is this true?

Digigardener: nope

Digigardener: your worlds are yours, on your server

queenbee: (to "Auntie Galen") I think of you every time my thighs thud against each other. Is that gross or what?

Digigardener: if your world won the design contest last week, then adobe got the rights

Digigardener: but that is the only case i know of

Digigardener: adobe wants this to be an open, user owned cyberspace

vetunimi: yes but worlds are not listed in the browser, i guess

Digigardener: ok 2 mins left folks, any more questions?

HenrikG: Worlds listed in the browser I mean

"Auntie Galen": that is completely gross. is that because mine do?

katy: How large worlds can you build and how many users can you have in one Atmosphere world?

Digigardener: watch for new versions that list worlds, you can publish worlds to a lisst

ProfMD: so is James Burke still stuck in France?

Digigardener: you set the limit yourself, you can publish as many worlds as you have hard disk space

Digigardener: it is free, the servers are free too

omar: the winds are keeping him down ;-)

padraic: yes, but he may try to get into Avatars conf tomorrow

katy: How large can ONE world be?

vetunimi: yes but AW has a list of worlds running on its server

Diane: As a 3D newbie, are there any "good" 3D worlds with Mac browsers?

mbanz: But I guess it will not always be free..

hypatia: Will an atmosphere world hold 100 people simultaneously?

"akejay": hope James makes that French Connection!

Digigardener: they are workig on it

Digigardener: we are up to 30

mbanz: ..especially not the builder (Atmosphere)

Digigardener: optimizing

"akejay": hope it scales well

Digigardener: anyway AW is definitely a more mature platform

Digigardener: but the adobe folks are working hard

Digigardener: and hey, a little competition is good for the medium

padraic: digi, how about the ability of user to manipulate objects in atmos?

Digigardener: so folks i know bonnie would like to intro the next session

HenrikG: I agree on that:) will Adobe offer a SDK?

Nicodemus: dont discount Macromedia entirely either. some of the D3D stuff will happen in the end, it's just lower level (people will build avatar toolkits I have no doubt)

hypatia: Yes folks Panel 2 is about to begin in Babel world

"Grendel": Atmosphere is a fairly passive environment compared to AW

hypatia: or using the teleports just outside this pod

hypatia: "Learning Tools for Interactivity & Dynamic Data Vizualization in Science Worlds"

Click here for transcripts from PANEL 2

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