Saturday, December 15, 2012

More Cross Cultural (Dancing) NASA Science Style

In case it has not been obvious enough, I have been making the case that dancing is a universal language art form (see previous posts that feature US Marines, Stormtroopers and crazy French guys). Don't get all serious on me just because I am taking the Coursera "Think Again, How to Reason and Argue" class offered by Duke University. Thanks Dr. Cooper for insisting I sign up to check out the format.

Actually it does not take much for me to post a fun dance video. This one is irresistible as it has my hero, Mike Massimino in it who made the first tweet from space. Someday I would like to shake the hand that jerked that door off the Hubble Telescope during his spacewalk I watched live.

Enjoy this delightful mash up of talented young artists with veteran space men and women.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge Winners 2012

The Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge is an annual contest that seeks innovations in immersive learning environments. In 2010, Drs. Calongne and Stricker won first prize for their Mars Expedition Challenge entry.

This video showcases the 2012 winners. The winners are revealed at the annual Defense GameTech conference held in Orlando, FL.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Symposium Renewal of Spirit and Mind

Fall is shining brightly among the shimmering golden Aspens in Colorado Springs. Summer challenged me  with personal circumstances that nearly derailed my academic progress. I missed the opportunity to attend a planning retreat in New Harmony, Indiana in early October that is connected to the Virtual Harmony open simulation project. One of the most exciting things about the project is a curriculum on sustainability. Connecting my studies on Transdisciplinarity to the concepts contained in the Handbook on Sustainability Literacy is central to integrating work, home, and school. The New Media Consortium's new global advisory group and publication on the outlook for STEM education should fit nicely into my studies. The NMC STEM wiki illustrates the evolution of thinking that should lead to new collaborations that cross domains.

My trip represents the fifth time I have come to Colorado Springs for the residency requirement for my program, Doctorate of Computer Science, Emerging Media. It is hard to describe the value of having such a gathering like a conference where so many students and faculty fly in to have a meeting of minds. Blending the online activities at a distance and reinforcing relationships make learning more sacred.

On Wednesday morning, President Bob Lally, CTU Chair of Homeland Security, outlined new changes planned for future Symposia at CTU. The goals sound exciting to increase interaction within the programs face to face. Being able to meet more Doctorate of Management students is appealing to me, especially those who are in the Emerging Media track. The fact that the meetings will stay in the Springs and be held in the Cheyenne Mountain Resort is really exciting. The NUTN2010 Leadership Summit was held at the Resort and I will never forget eating s'mores by the outdoor fire pit with my co-presenters, Anne Keehn and Mark Resmer who passed in 2011.

CTU Symposium Workshop Google Doc Product
CTU Fall 2012 Workshop Google Doc
One of the best things about getting together with my cohort and the faculty is the inspiration that results. The diversity of the students is remarkable and they are all in occupations where they are trying to make a difference by directly applying what they learn in their academic programs. The cross pollination that occurs from interacting with adult, lifelong learners makes the experience invaluable. Dr. Calongne shared the last, all day workshop that discussed topics related to emerging media and technologies and how to get our writing done well. Her passion is infectious and her organic collaboration resulted in a co-created Google Doc that represents a time capsule of our current thinking. The content of the Google Doc can be found at Dr. Calongne's blog site. Enjoy!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

More Cross-Cultural Traditions and Collaboration

Gentle readers, since my research has shifted from game-based learning (gbl) itself as the primary focus to using gbl for collaboration, examples are sought to illustrate the concept. While the example below does not involve gaming, it certainly involves play. Political positions aside, the dance choreography and planning in the video requires considerable collaboration and practice. The US Military has performed joint activities for many years in efforts to coordinate people, technology, and strategy across services. Budget restrictions and costs of wars have forced greater collaboration. Motivation in game-based learning is voluntary whereas compliance is required in such a highly regulated organization. Social media has been stretching the limits of professional courtesy as individuals have equal power to express their humanity. I salute the authorities who gave blessing for this expression of cross-cultural communication via dance. Let's see how viral the video becomes over time.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Interplay: Systems and Design Thinking

The Dance of Change and the Fifth Discipline are two books that really helped me deal with growth and complexity in my job at UCF over the years as it became such a large, public research university. These books were not core to my own rapidly changing field of learning technology. Rather the books were necessary resources to apply many of the concepts of my field. Design Thinking often is sought to provide innovation, yet we know that sustainability and scalability are required to be cost effective.

The role of dialogue in collaboration has been both a positive and negative force that I learned best from Peter Senge's research into learning organizations. The Society for Organization Learning (SOL) explores how organizations collaborate. The book Presence describes qualities and actions that make use of dialogue to anticipate the future.I finally got around to reading the book and it was perfect to apply in my research into collaboration.
The 2012 annual conference of the New Media Consortium was held in Boston in June. The presentation with Cynthia Calongne, Andy Stricker, and Francisca Yonekura involved for my part, describing the importance of curating habits through presencing. Below is a recent talk given by Peter Senge in Argentina where he emphasizes the importance of planning for interaction with interconnected systems. I wonder if his recent work into sustainable education focuses on how people learn. It is so refreshing to reconnect with thinking that involves the head and the heart for sustainable innovation.
25 Minute Video of Dr. Peter Senge speaking to a Group in Argentina

Malcolm Brown presented the terrific talk below at the 2012 NMC Conference in Boston where he mentions design thinking. Can we embrace both systems thinking and design thinking? Must we? What are some examples?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Pay Off for Individuals, Families, and Communities

One of the neatest things I have been able to do in my academic career is to participate in creating a Leadership Institute for the professional association, EDUCAUSE. The Institute was originally for instructional designers and was later changed to learning technologists. As founding faculty members of this Institute, myself, Alan Levine, Larry Ragan, Rick Shearer, Kathy Cristoff, Heather Thompson, Cynthia Golden, and Carole Barone saw first hand just how diverse America is with the variety of educational institutions that exist. Public, private, for profit, large decentralized state schools, and very small Liberal Arts Colleges make up the tapestry of opportunities available to attend college in the United States. Some staff have very specific specialized occupations while others are generalists wearing multiple hats. Leadership was a constant need across the continent to assure academic success.

This blog is typically used for my doctoral studies performed at Colorado Tech, where I have felt like my brain is all lit up and my pants are on fire. Recent blog posts about graduation ceremonies compel me to share another video.

This is the best video my home institution has ever made in my opinion. It is a reminder of what I do for work and school. Often, I am reminded how I am living my dream to be able to pursue a doctorate degree. For all the nontraditional students out there, I dedicate this video to you. Your personal learning network is behind you as well as your kids, your parents, your siblings, and friends and someday all the hard work will pay off.

When you graduate, make sure you take the time to thank your supporters.

Enjoy this video! The voice of the speaker is Judge Belvin Perry who presided over the famous trial held in Orange County, Florida in 2011.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cross Cultural Traditions, Graduation and Engagement

 Anyone who spends time in Second Life soon learns the importance of dance. Sharing elegant dances cements memories and creates deeper bonds with the people behind the avatars. When I dance in harmony through synchronized scripts, it feels like personal ballet in my head. These dances often do not occur in dance clubs, rather they are embedded in events as part of designed experiences. Sometimes dancing is a spontaneous response during breaks in conference presentations where a leader sets the tone.  

Today, the United States Department of Education posted on its blog a story called "Endless Possibility" about the success of Navajo Technical College where there is an 85% graduation rate. The curriculum sounds impressive. Clearly some things are working to retain students. Secretary Arne Duncan is shown in the video below learning about the students and curriculum, but what impresses me most is the incorporation of the dance. How nice it would be if in our graduation ceremonies our families could join in and march during the pomp and circumstance after the ceremony.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Emerging Media Cross-Cultural Communication

I dedicate this video to the more high tech, trans-media version of cross-cultural communication. References to Star Wars rarely fail to connect. Whichever your preference, do get up and dance. Get those neurons and synapes shufflin' inbetween doing your research of course.

Classic Cross Cultural Communication

My last post was a bit heady and long so to illustrate some of the same concepts I dedicate this video to those hard working scholars and researchers who can use a break.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Greetings! As a follow up for my EM820 Social Media doctoral class, I have been learning about study abroad programs. The trick of getting an applied degree is to align assignments with work or life. In this case, I have learned from the following articles how social media is used in study abroad programs and how metacognition plays a role in trans-cultural literacy. These topics will be useful for my dissertation on the topic of trans-cultural collaboration. Enjoy!

Annotated Bibliography 

Briers, G. E., Shinn, G. C., & Nguyen, A. N. (2010). Through Students’ Eyes: Perceptions and Aspirations of College of Agriculture and Life Science Students Regarding International Educational Experiences. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, 17(2), 5-20.

This article chronicles a study performed at Texas A & M University that involved 956 students within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences that described attitudes towards study abroad. 79% of students were white. Findings showed that students preferred faculty-led programs they communicate values. Migrants represent 13% of North America. Affordability was the primary barrier to participate. 83% of respondents believe that engaging in study abroad would make them more competitive and 65% of undergraduates and 72% of graduate students indicated desire to study abroad. The study recommended application of simulations and case studies within traditional courses to transition to real-world experiences.    

Burke, M., Marlow, C., & Lento, T. (2010). Social network activity and social well-being. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 28th international conference on Human factors in computing systems, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

This article represents a collaboration between researchers at Carnegie Mellon and Facebook. Social capital is explored through bridging and bonding via directed communication and consumption. Almost 1,200 participants were recruited and their activity in Facebook was analyzed and compared with self-reported data using the Hadoop distributed computation program. Engagement with Facebook is correlated with overall well-being. Future work is called to determine cultural norms among individuals and group interaction.  

Diehl, W. C., & Prins, E. (2008). Unintended outcomes in Second Life: Intercultural literacy and cultural identity in a virtual world. Language. Intercultural Communication Language and Intercultural Communication, 8(2), 101-118.

The article discusses findings from an exploratory study where findings are analyzed related to the construction of cultural identity and development of cultural literacy. Twenty nine Second Life participants were involved using Cultural Historical Activity Theory and Heyward’s model of intercultural literacy. Intended and unintended outcomes resulted from what the authors describe as participation in an Activity System. Respondents constructed shifting identities through changing their avatar appearance. Openness toward new viewpoints, use of multiple languages, cross-cultural encounters led to intercultural literacy. A Reuters report from 2007 indicated that of the 100 countries countries represented in Second Life, 61% were European. Four types of dialogue were studied identified by Burbules (1993) that include dialogue as conversation, inquiry, debate, and instruction. Shock and discomfort that result from cross cultural encounters and experiences are required to create intercultural literacy, described as six levels, with the ability to consciously shift between multiple cultural identities as the highest level.       

Fouts, J. S. (2011). Technology and Innovation Report Using Virtual World Journalism for Health Education. Journal of Healthcare, Science and the Humanities, 1(2), 127-139.

The report describes actions made to support critical health science journalism among key political bloggers two years before the 2011 revolution in Egypt. Twitter, Facebook, and virtual worlds were critical venues empowering revolutions across the Middle East in 2011 as media censorship was common. In 2009, the global scare for H1N1 swine flu led the Egyptian government to slaughter pigs across the country to minimize pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control had most accurate information although the World Health Organization had responsibility to provide information. A virtual newsroom was made in Second Life that allowed participants to gather, collapsing geography to hold press conferences that was streamed to the Internet.  

Fowler, S. M., & Pusch, M. D. (2010). Intercultural simulation games: a review (of the United States and beyond). Simulation & Gaming, 41(1), 94-115.

The article focuses on intercultural simulation games with an emphasis on how the game is played. The distinct individualistic culture compared to the competitive and collective, collaborative culture is illustrated as people move between cultures. Paige 1994 defines 10 cultural differences within the Intensity Factors of intercultural contact. Simulations address the heart set (attitudes and intentions, head set (knowledge) and hand set. The authors assert, the question isn’t whether or not to use a game or simulation, but which one as games are an affordable means to cement the learning through debriefing. Second Life is referred to as a means to do activities.    

Halfin, J. (2011). How Online Tools Can Be Used to Enrich Study Abroad. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Retrieved from

This paper describes how a combination of technologies combined with pedagogy provides opportunities to enhance study abroad in a holistic manner. Learner support before, during and after study abroad programs is enabled by using what students are increasingly using everyday: social media. Halfin cites Dan Pink’s work on motivation calling for educators to make learning outcomes personal for students by embracing their own goals and with metcognition. Second Life and World of Warcraft are also discussed for addressing curricular needs for culture shock, interpersonal literacy, and reentry.   

Himelfarb, S., & Idriss, S. (2011). Exchange 2.0. Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace.

This report is produced by the Institute of Peace and is oriented toward diplomats, but can be applied to students studying abroad. Fewer than 2% of American students study abroad and about 4% of students are international. The least expensive program is $4,000. ExchangesConnect, administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs within the State Department, is an open international online community allowing students to connect with prospective, current, and former exchange participants. The report recommends significant training within public and private partnerships to address challenges that includes an open source clearinghouse or repository of cultural and educational exchange programs.    

Lane, H. C., & University Of Southern California, Institute for Creative Technologies (2007). Metacognition and the Development of Intercultural Competence, retrieved from

The article asserts that a critical component of the development of intercultural competence is metacognition through the importance of self-assessment, monitoring, predictive, planning and reflective practice and skills. The role of intelligent tutoring, experience management and the adaptation of virtual humans is discussed to support metacognitive development. Intercultural competence requires metacognitive maturity that must be fostered in identifiable stages of development. The Peace Corps model to develop intercultural competence is discussed in the context of Bennett’s Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) construes differences. The DMIS posits two worldviews orientations: ethnocentrism and ethnorelativism. Guidance is especially important to avoid withdrawal during mid-stage DMIS when cultural differences are truly appreciated for their significance. Frame shifting ability and the ability to assume different perspectives are advanced stages within the DMIS. Implicit feedback from simulations include speech rate, intonation, tone, emotional state, facial expressions, body language and personality traits. Explicit feedback from the tutorial improves the level of interpretation for the learner and can help with adaptive thinking under stress.   

Mason, H., & Moutahir, M. (August 18-20, 2006). Multidisciplinary Experiential Education in Second Life: A Global Approach. Paper presented at the Second Life Community Convention, San Francisco.

This article was published shortly after Second Life became widely used in education. One finding was that students ability to adapt in Second Life was less dependent on technical skills and more dependent on attitude. The study abroad component was followed up by the use of Second Life for ongoing collaboration.  

Murray, K., & Waller, R. (2007). Social networking goes abroad. International Educator, 16(3), 56-59.

This article describes taking advantage of the social media uses that students are engaged for the purpose of creating more of a community of learners. Student to student connection is described how existing study abroad students can assist with recruiting new students. Facebook was cited for its ease of sending messages to groups. Concerns are discussed for how students may inappropriately publish content and sentiments that are highly unflattering.   

Seigel, S. E. (2010). Gaining Cultural Intelligence through Second Life Learning Interventions. International Journal of Advanced Corporate Learning, 3(3), 45-50.

This research article describes IBM’s involvement with the virtual world, Second Life, to equip employees with more authentic, live training experiences as country-natives around the world are expected to work together. Preparation in advance of face to face meetings is also described to build cultural intelligence, which has no universal heuristics for measurement. The literature review and research design seeks to compare affordances of in-country, face to face training, simulation game, and Second Life immersive training. Twelve participants from 10 countries engaged in one-hour sessions that included interventions, culture sharing, reflection, and debriefing that may become part of IBM’s required worldwide orientation for new employees. One consideration of the design is the limitation of the use of existing rather than new employees of IBM in the study. Stanford University faculty were involved in interviewing study participants, but the data was unavailable at the time of publication.    

Shively, R. L. (2010). From the Virtual World to the Real World: A Model of Pragmatics Instruction for Study Abroad. Foreign Language Annals, 43(1), 105-137. doi: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.2010.01063.x

This research article nicely describes pedagogical components that can be combined with immersive learning technologies specifically for language learning, but applies to intercultural communication. Shively advocates training for learners and faculty for applying support before, during, and after study abroad experiences. Building confidence is gained from a combination of expert guidance and self-directed learning including reflection. A comprehensive pedagogical framework of the 6Rs (researching, reflecting, receiving, reasoning, rehearsing, and revising) by Martinez-Flor and Uso-Juan (2006) applies to develop pragmatic and intercultural competence. Croquelandia is an immersive game lauded for language learning usage as well as Keypals and the DIE model of debriefing (description-interpretation-evaluation). Role plays and simulations are cited for usefulness as well as the ability to continue relationships online.

Sykes, J. M., Oskoz, A., & Thorne, S. L. (2008). Web 2.0, Synthetic Immersive Environments, and Mobile Resources for Language Education. Calico Journal, Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium, 25(3), 528-546.

This article describes Internet-based interactions as real verses simulated communication that has transformational potential to change roles of people. The premise is juxtaposed to computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and refers to the concept of social virtualities. Study abroad blogs are cited as examples for language learning where cell phones enable instantaneous sharing of content to connect communities, whether family or classmates. Steven Thorne’s cultural-historical framework is postulated as aesthetic shifts in human communication emerge within cultures of use. Social experimentation used in MMOGs involves identities in sociopragmatic considerations involving presence, space, and gestures. Synthetic immersive environments enable learners to practice in emotionally-engaging, low-risk to improve pragmatic competence. Users feel results of their actions without causing actual harm. 

Yee, N., Bailenson, J. N., Urbanek, M., Chang, F., & Merget, D. (2007). The unbearable likeness of being digital: The persistence of nonverbal social norms in online virtual environments. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 10.(1), 115-121. doi:10.1089/cpb.2006.9984

This research article cites the utility of using immersive environments such as second life for conducting research similar to face to face research used in social science. Experimental control, precise measurements, and replicability have helped researchers learn therapeutic potential. Presence research measures perceived “real” behaviors such as nonverbal and physical responses. Proxemics, interpersonal distance was studied to compare face-to-face and virtual behaviors among men and women in groups based on Equilibrium Theory. Findings support social norms across virtual environments for utility of longitudinal social interactions that go beyond undergraduate subjects.    

Yeung, C.-m. A., Liccardi, I., Lu, K., Seneviratne, O., & Berners-lee, T. (2009). Decentralization: The future of online social networking. Paper presented at the W3C Workshop on the Future of Social Networking, Barcelona, Spain.

This paper resulted from a professional networking meeting where a call for an open and independent, social networking framework was made. Two problems resulted in the need: information silos and lack of user control over data. Diagrams are provided to illustrate architecture of closed, proprietary and open systems. Protection from censorship and assurance of privacy are cited as drivers toward an open social networking framework. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Use of Social Media for Study Abroad

Greetings fellow lifelong learners. For my doctoral class, EM820 Business Strategies for Social Media, I chose to explore the topic of how social media is used in study abroad programs. At CTU's recent Symposium, my professor, Dr. Anne Marie Armstrong and several students shared their experiences from a week-long, action research trip to Nicaragua. The stories were vivid contrasting everyday differences of living, working, and learning. While reliable electricity and plumbing were not a given, everyone had smart cell phones and enjoyed good telecommunications service. CTU plans to continue the research-service program to enable more students to participate. I wonder how social media can enable greater engagement.
Barbara using her computer at the April 2012 Symposium for CTU in Colorado Springs
Symposium April 2012

At my institution, the University of Central Florida, I learned that there are approximately 400 students involved involved with the International Studies Office who are engaged in study abroad. Nationally there are only about 2% of students who take advantage of study abroad programs, although many more wish they could. Cost is the primary barrier to participate.
What role can social media play in study abroad? When does social media enhance the study abroad experience and when does it hinder it? Which personnel and training are required to integrate social media into study abroad programs. How can costs become valued investments? At UCF, I hope to help apply what I learn as these questions are answered.

Can you relate to dreaming of study abroad? If you have had an experience learning abroad, chances are it was life changing. Upon investigation, several professional associations and corporate options exist to help learners hone in on their targeted programs. The University of Michigan provides this exceptional site with links to several associations and references to help guide learners to make informed choices to prepare.

NAFSA, the association of international educators, had a Task Force that released a report in 2008. This press release describes the recommendations the report makes called Strengthening Study Abroad: Recommendations for Effective Institutional Management. Four key areas are addressed:institutional commitment; infrastructure; resources; and clarity and accountability. More detail will follow for how my research reveals that social media can support topics within these areas.

Friday, April 20, 2012

EM820 Business Strategies for Social Media

A new quarter has started and I am in Colorado Springs for Symposium with Colorado Technical University.

Garden of the Gods
This quarter, my primary class is about the use of social media. During our class time, we watched Dr. Howard Rheingold's webinar that he presented at the New Media Consortium to promote his new book, NetSmart. So, it seemed opportune to snap a photo and send a tweet to let Howard know that our class was discussing his work. As expected, Howard responded within a couple of hours and let us know that his session is available in iTunesU.

Dr. Armstrong shares the NMC webinar. 
One of our class assignments is to create a brief, annotated bibliography on how our area of interest- in my case- education, uses social media to support effective practice. 

For a final project, it would be nice to show how social networks contribute to personal learning networks (PLNs). My challenge is to align what is learned in the social media course with my dissertation topic that is rapidly changing as well. 

Do you believe that as a professional you can adequately advocate the business use of social media without actually using social media yourself? I think not, but I respect those who choose freely not to use social media. Being authentic is most important in my view while trying to find voice to scholarly expression. If I were an artist or a musician, it would be joyful to share my interest. While I am sharing this post as part of my class, it is not required. I am genuinely interested in how social media can connect the best of our world.  


Monday, January 16, 2012

Machinima for Futuristic Renaissance

Every once in a while focus is grabbed by media. Found this machinima while looking up scholarly references and just had to make reference to it. I have written a script to make a video machinima of the class project based on virtual juror, but I do not have the skills yet to make it or to learn just now.

Here is a video tribute to artists of the past, humanitarian scholars of the present, and technologies of the future. Quite the mash up. As a former Air Force wife, I am partial.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

From Grant Writing in EM830 to Web Privacy in EM835

My semester and year ended really well in December 2011. How wonderful to feel the exhilaration of accomplishment, personal growth, and have products resulting from assignments that are useful professionally. I ended up writing a comprehensive grant modeled for a National Science Foundation program for Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (TUES). The grant focused on training GTAs to not only teach courses and science labs, but to create immersive, interactive content suitable for virtual labs and eventually a serious game. While the particular concept may not move forward, the goals of comprehending what is sought by the funding agency, how to make a worthy case, manage a large grant, and perform innovative research are truly thrilling.

January 2012: EM835 Information Accountability and Web Privacy poses intriguing questions about the future. How interesting that game developer extraordinaire, Will Wright, has a new venture that relates somewhat to the topic of our class.
Will Wright's photo from Reuter's Article By John Gaudiosi RALEIGH, North Carolina | Mon Jan 2, 2012
  Am I the only one who recalls the Hive Mind from the Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card? Let's see what Wright does with this new adventure. He is still for me, the most eclectic thinker I have ever seen.

During the December break I read Dr. Jane McGonigal's 550 page dissertation on Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and ubiquitous games. Her research has given me so much to think about for my own research into game-based learning. I sent her a tweet to let her know I read it and Jane replied that I beat her husband in reading her dissertation. Now, to apply it! Onward.