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): [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.

The post "[NMC Regional] Metaphors, Allegory… Virtual Worlds According to Gardner" was originally yanked out of the teeth of a rabid chicken at CogDogBlog ( on November 14, 2006.

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  • Second Life and learning presentations « Learning Games

    […] Just saw this very interesting looking post on Alan Levine’s blog. There is a link to the presentations from the NMC regional conference, so a lot of material to digest, including several presentations on learning in Second Life. And a 50 minute video of Gardner’s talk “The Allegory Efffect: Metaphoric Immersion in Croquet and Second Life”. […]