Ian Hughes (@epredator) from Feeding Edge ltd. Ian describes himself as a ‘metaverse evangelist’. Ended up presenting a section on ‘Cool Stuff’ on CITV – and finding he was talking about exactly the same stuff to talk to children as he’d been talking to the commercial sector/large corps about. Tries to include mentions of open source, and show that children can get involve and affect stuff … in the way he did when he was young.
A lot of the stuff Ian talks about comes back to games – perhaps because about playing and about building – he went into computing because he wanted to build games. Not just about writing games – but using toolkits to mod characters, game play etc.
Also interest in animation (involved in a BCS group about animation) – and this is about art and technical skill – you need to bring together people with these different skill sets, and each needs to understand what the other has to offer. Things like http://unity3d.com and http://opensimulator.org allow you to write stuff yourself . Tools like http://evolver.com give you easy ways into building characters etc. Also platforms are available http://smartfoxserver.com – used to delivered Club Penguin – and if you have <100 people connecting it is free to run.
Forza – racing game/driving sim – that allows you to mod the car – including paintwork etc. – and then when you race against someone they see your car. Can include things like logos etc…
Ian now demonstrating how he can run OpenSim on his laptop – his customised avatar wears digital version of the leather jacket he is currently wearing – identity and links between virtual and real. Can create virtual objects immediately – and all viewers of shared space see it immediately – you’ve distributed just be creating it. Ian talking about how he finds virtual objects as useful cues for talking – using ‘3 dimensional’ cues for what he is going to say (reminds me of ‘palace of memories’ type stuff).
Ian says, a shared ‘space’ when presenting gives different effects and works well for some people – you can share presentations in the space, and also place discussion in the space.
Now moving onto Minecraft – much more game based, but lots of similarity with virtual worlds. You can run a Minecraft server yourself, or on the web. Starting to see some use of this in schools – mentions “Minecraft Teacher” http://minecraftteacher.net/. Ian describing how his children used Minecraft together for the first time – collaboration, exploration, building etc. Minecraft also allows building of mechanical devices – using things like trip switches, trains, etc.
Ian mentions Arduino and 3D printing as things he’s got onto the Cool Stuff program. Ian is especially enthusiastic about 3d printing – highlighting possibilities of moving between environments like Skylander – you could print out your own figures, with RFID chips in them….
Finally Ian closes by talking about how engaging children is about presenting this stuff in fun/interesting ways – but perhaps also about trusting children will be interested and will learn, if you make it interesting.