I started the day at a session on the state of gaming in education. The presenter was Benjamin Noel who got his start in World of Warcraft, but is now moving on to education. Hi current company has two games for education available or soon to be available. The first is Burn Center. It's goal is to teach peopple how to deal with large scale disasters -- in this case 40 burn patients at once. It makes sense to do that in a game because it is a low likelihood scenario, but one that our health professionals possibly should be prepared for. There is a movie on the game available here -- http://www.360ed.com/products/. The second game is Conspiracy Code, a game aimed at teaching American History to K12. History is another obvious target for gaming as whether or not you found it interesting probably depended entirely on your teacher. We watch the History Channel obsessively, but complain equally incessantly about how it's taught in K12.
Both look like they have possibilities and I do see the positive aspects of games as a learning strategy. I think my older daugher has learned more economics and history from Civilization IV than she has in school. I am not sure we have a financial or educational model that works well with games yet though.
Next I wet to a session on search engines. That was fascinating -- one presenter (Ray Schroeder) has a blog site with links to engines at http://alternatesearch.blogspot.com
There is also a tutorial at About.Com that incudes much of the information from the presentation - http://websearch.about.com/.
They reminded me of really cool sites like Archive.org and the WayBackMachine, which are fabulous if a link you used in a course has gone missing.
Last presentation of the morning was a panel talking abouthte future. Not a lot there unfortunately, but there were brief mentions of software as service, online computing (ie Buzzword from yesterday) and cloud computing in general. There are some very important questions around data storage when you begin to seriously use the power of cloud computing. (Do you know where your gmail or delicious bookmarks are stored? How about the presentations you out up on Slide Rocket?) However, the sheer power, convenience, and ability to scale are going to outweigh many of those data considerations for many of us.
And it's only noon here...
(And I apologize for any typos -- I am sitting by the pool to type this and can barely see the screen. :^))