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Busy Training Technology News Week

2009 September 23
by Richard N. Landers
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The last week was pretty busy in terms of instructional technology news, so I thought I’d highlight some of the most interesting stories.

Virtual Reality Training Environments: The Kentucky Community & Technical College System has implemented an interactive virtual reality system, which I previously considered to be pretty far in the future considering cost.  ODU has its own Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (which creates the recursive acronym CAVE), but my understanding was that these were too expensive to justify for use in the classroom.  Apparently not, considering this one is a part of the curriculum in certain programs at schools in this system.

Social Networking in Elementary and High Schools: Kids want to use social networking in their curricula, and half of schools in one survey prohibit it at school, according to this report.  The interesting part, however, is that these students are often talking about schoolwork on these social networks.  So why not take advantage of it?  I am excited about this considering one of my current research areas is the use of social networks to form automated mentoring support systems in organizations.  And if you’re curious just what that means, you’ll have to come listen to me talk about it in Vancouver this October.

A School Built Around Video Gaming: In New York, a public elementary school has been created based around playing video games.  It’s a little more involved than The Oregon Trail.  Just remember, today’s students are tomorrow’s employees.  Isn’t it imperative to design work to engage these people maximally, making the most of the technologies that they grew up with?

College Applicants Friending Admissions Officers: Social networking in the news again as college hopefuls try to add admissions officers and other key college personnel to their social networking friend lists.  Over 70% of admissions officers in a recent survey indicate that it’s happened to them at least once.

The Collapse of Brick-and-Mortar Higher Education: An article in Business Week predicts the death of most brick-and-mortar higher education establishments in favor of credible, convenient online education.  I agree that this is probable to occur in the distant future – but it will probably be quite distant.

Video Games and Gamers Are Becoming Researchers: While not precisely training news, this report on the use of video gaming to help investigate how Alzeheimer’s and other brain diseases function is still pretty awesome.

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