Cool Toys Conversations 2008-July-29 (Campus Community)

Conversation was the big focus on this month’s Cool Toys Conversation! We met at Kinesiology, and thanks to Jean Hunt for hosting the event. Next month we’ll be meeting in Room 1601 at the North Campus Acute Care (NCAC) (2901 Hubbard) at noon on August 26, thanks to Betty Sheldon. Attending were folks from kinesiology, computer science, distance learning, UM-Dearborn, engineering, University Libraries, and University administration.
Tuesday was real conversation, with wandering themes and folks swapping business cards. We started with Second Life (SL). Some folks were familiar with it, other not, about half and half. One person has a grant to develop an education project in SL, which got a lot of interest. We talked quite a bit about what value there is in SL, whose there, and what are they doing.
This lead to Plurkshop ( especially the newest one ( in which I participated the evening before. A plurkshop is workshop + Plurk. I was a featured “plurker” at the ones this week on “Second Life – The Value of Immersive Experience”.
Plurkshop: Plurkshop #11: Second Life – The Value of Immersive Experience:
A plurkshop is kind of like a public chatroom on a specific theme that allows the discussion to be archived permanently. Anyone can join who is interested in the topic. It has some real potential as a collaboration and education tool as well as for preliminary surveys or focus groups.
While we were talking about that, I promised to include a few tools for making your own chatrooms for a class or distance learning. A couple weeks ago, Kathy Schrock (the famous educator) put a call out on Twitter for folks to test out ChatMaker with her. We had a good time and good discussion, and as a tool I really liked it. Another that was recommended but I have not tried include Chatzy.
Chatzy: http://www.
You might also be interested in Kathy’s list of Web 2.0 tools at Diigo.
Diigo: Kathy Schrock: web20tools:
The Plurkshop made a really interesting example of the blending of various social tech tools, since it was using microblogging as a chat tool for conducting what amounted to a professional session and training introduction on Second Life, an online virtual world. Next in the discussion was another example of blending a variety of social media to do something we might not expect. I think we spent about twenty minutes talking about woodworker Keith Burtis, which was so interesting I will do a full blogpost just on that. Next.
Conversation veered over to distance learning and using online social networks as spaces to recruit future students and present accurate information about our disciplines. The question was asked how to find out which social networks or virtual worlds are the ones most used by teens. This was a great graphic for this.
KZero: Updated: Virtual world analysis for tweens and teens:
We also poked around in the results of these two Google searches, seeing what turned up most (MySpace) and I showed folks how I save searches to reuse later in my Delicious account.
Google Search: (myspace OR facebook OR OR youtube OR flickr OR twitter OR “social technology” OR “second life” OR “web 2.0” OR “social tech” OR “social media” OR slideshare) (teens OR adolescents OR youth):
Google Search: pew internet (metrics OR statistics) (~teens OR ~adolescents):
We also talked about issues with safety, security and organizational presence in teen virtual worlds. Here are a few links we had up on screen.
Worlds in Motion: Virtual Worlds Collaborate for International Justice:
Global Kids Digital Media Initiative: [why] Global Kids Brings Kofi Annan into Whyville:
From here, we talked about transparency in public online spaces, distance learning, and the University of Michigan’s new open courseware initiative.
Open Michigan:
That got us onto the problem of verifying intellectual property rights for materials we plan to use or share in online spaces and how to find images that are safe for use.
NOTE: Search engine that allows you to load a picture to find more like it.
Wikimedia Commons:
Last but not least, Eye-Fi was mentioned – a memory card for your digital camera that will upload pics whenever you enter a wi-fi zone.
I will admit, I was pretty tired by the end. 🙂 Hope you all enjoyed this!


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