Terra Nova has a post up today that covers an interview with Howard Rheingold:
Peter Burgaard’s interview centers on cooperation in virtual worlds like Second Life. Here’s a quote from the post that is especially relevant for educators:
“Q: Now, about a Second Life setting for brainstorm sessions for development of new ideas. Would the mediated communication through avatars yield a greater potential for generating better ideas than in real life?
Howard: You always have more bandwidth in a face to face setting, and that isn’t going to change soon. Humans have evolved highly sensitive perception mechanisms for evaluating micro gestures, tone of voice, etc. The point about virtual worlds is not that they are better for human communication, but that they enable communication that wasn’t possible before — connecting with people you never met and don’t know but who share an interest, interacting in real time or asynchronously with people all over the world, socializing in a simulated environment and using simulations in communications. However, in brainstorming, I’d say that there might be an advantage in NOT seeing the look of skepticism (or tone of voice that denotes skepticism) on the faces of others. The only way to tell is to experiment.”
Howard says that more experimentation is needed to decide what role these virtual worlds will play in our future. Click on the link above and read the full interview.