Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Second Life Symposium

Well, today was my first full day of of the NMC's Second Life Symposium on new media and learning, the fifteenth in the NMC’s Series of Virtual Symposia, exploring the impact of new media on teaching, learning, research, and creative inquiry, especially in higher education. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Second Life, explore here before reading further. For those that do know about SL, NMC has its own private campus that is invite only for these events, so I was honored to be part of an exclusive group learning in a virtual online interactive environment. Nothing like teleporting to the sessions and sitting next to a blue dragon while listening to a 7' tall man describe contemporary understandings of oral history!

Today, we explored digital storytelling. My mind was blown by the speakers. I heard keynote speaker Joe Lambert with the Center for Digital Storytelling talk about Centering the Circle: Storywork in the Era of Media Ubiquity. Joe is one of the foundation people to digital storytelling, and it was a great way to get things started. Next I heard Cynthia Calongne of Colorado Technical University talk about The Mars Expedition as a Virtual Context in Storytelling. We sat on black orbs in a virtual planetarium and discussed throwing money in Second Life to inattentive undergraduate students, among other more meaningful things...
I took a little break and came back to hear Anthony Curtis with University of North Carolina at Pembroke talk about Digital Storytelling: An Ancient Tradition in the 21st Century. Anthony has done some great work with his undergraduate students by encouraging them to work with digital storytelling. After another longer break, I heard Lou Rera of Buffalo State College talk about Digital Stories:Flash Fiction. Flash fiction is a fun genre of writing/storytelling consisting of the basic principle: economy! Lou talked about Hemmingway's six word fiction and we explored the idea of machinima haiku. (If there is a rare chance that a symposium atendee is reading this blog, I do know I am crudely paraphrasing.)
We finished by learning with Ruben Puentedura of Hippasus talk about Mapping the Digital Storytelling Domain: Notes for a Future Cartography. I don't even know where to begin. This was truly a grand finale. Reuben talked about the evolution of storytelling beginning with the pictographs in Lasceaux and ending with a horde of URL's I hadn't even heard of. If you are curious about Reuben's projections, post a comment and I will share my notes. Suffice if to say, he had a charted trajectory of levels of interactivity for storytelling that blew my mind.

So, I will post a snapshot of my symposium experiences if they ever come through the e-mail. Not sure if I sent them correctly, but we'll see....or not. Anyway, as far as learning in an web 2.0 environment goes, this was quite a day. You should try it!