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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Online Communication Tools - which reality do you prefer?

For most of the day today, I've been logged into the Australian Flexible Learning Framework 2006 Networks Online Event. The theme of this year's event is 'Tapping into Social Networking for E-Learning'.... right up my alley! ;-)

From the Online Conference website:
Tapping into social networking for e-learning intends to stimulate conversations and connections that will enable you to build knowledge and gain practical skills in e-learning. Central to the conversations are exploring some of the emerging social networking technologies and pedagogies that are presenting new possibilities in the way learners interact and collaborate with others.
The first day of the conference has been great and congrats must go to the organisers! I'm actually writing this post while I listen to an interesting presentation by Marg O'Connell titled Blogging for Learning. (View her Blogger blog here)

For me, the highlight was Stephan Ridgway's informative presentation titled Introduction to Podcasting & Vblogging in Education. Check out his impressive Wiki to access the resources he put together to support his presentation.

About half-way through the day, I snuck out for a little while to join an online meeting in Second Life. It was hosted by the SL Grad Student Group and held at the New Media Consortium Campus in Second Life. The guest speaker at today's event was CBD Barkley (aka Alan Levine of CogDogBlog and Director, Technology Resources and Member Services for NMC).

It was great to take a seat on the virtual grass and listen to the amazing things that the New Media Consortium are doing on SL, and also to hear about the work being done by this group of Grad students - teaching all sorts of interesting subjects within the Second Life space.

CBD Barkley even took us on a tour of the new NMC virtual art gallery, which features some truly amazing works.

I've come away from another great day of learning in both my 'real life' and my 'second life', with lots of new ideas to follow up on and new tools and resources to explore. In particular, it has me thinking again about the types of tools we use to communicate online.

Comparing the two modes of online communication I've used today has been an interesting exercise. As I get more immersed in Second Life, more text-based learning environments are becoming much less appealing to me personally, and I'm really interested in looking into this further.....

So I'm wondering...... Which mode appeals to you, and why?