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[NMC Regional] Metaphors, Allegory… Virtual Worlds According to Gardner

For quite some time, I’ve interacted via blogs et al with Gardner Campbell, but today was the first time I’ve heard him present… and there he is a virtuoso. At the NMC Regional Conference, his session was on “The Allegory Efffect: Metaphoric Immersion in Croquet and Second Life”, where he put a nice connection between learning theory, literature, and the strange space of virtual worlds.

We will soon have a copy of Gardner’s powerpoint posted to the conference presentation collection, and below you will find a 50 minute segment of audio from his session (I was late to start recording):

http://media.nmc.org/2006/11/allegory-effect.mp3 [14.6 Mb MP3, 51:04]

Gardner set a great model of presentation by first offering an open wiki for backchannel… and demonstrated his teaching approach by having volunteers from the audience read aloud some of the literature quotes he tied to his main points. Maybe this is small, but by itself, changes the dynamic of a presentation. And lastly, he jogged us into action by a small group activity, where we had to find 3 observations of our physical space and creatively tie them together as a metaphor.

His cleverness showed in the look at Second Life by flipping Vygotsky’s statements of play as finding alienation in real situations to to:

Primary paradox of Second Life is that a person operates with a real meaning in an alienated situation” – flips Vyotsky.

And he reached my literary level with a quote from the great philosopher known as Pooh, with the story of tracking an unknown monster until realizing, with a prompt, who really put the tracks in the snow.

There was a good amount of active discussion in the room as we discussed the limitations imposed by Course Management Systems, the notions of “play” and social interaction, recursion, etc, most of which is already fading in my memory banks.

A top notch session and a Gardner original.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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