Learning Matters

Monday, May 02, 2005

Croquet: Cool Platform. Killer App for pre-service?

Our keynote speaker this afternoon is Julian Lombardi of the Croquet Project. Croquet is a consortium project to develop a peer-to-peer (no client-server) virtual environment. So far I'm seeing 3D simulations with incorporated video from web-cams, spread sheets, and the ability to draw new figures in space.

Oh my, now we are playing chess on two separate computers. The game resides on a MAC, but the other player is on a PC. Not a fancy chess app either, just a plain human vs. computer game, but exposed to the other computer through the Croquet architecture. A non-multiuser app inherits the interactive, multiuser qualities of Croquet. My, oh my!!!

Evidently, Croquet is stateful, so less communication between nodes.

A few little glitches. Annotation of created objects did not work in the demo, but really this is pre-alpha stuff.

Lombardi just showed us a phone booth and said that this year they hope to incorporate the ability to call in and out of Croquet.

I'm a bit overwhelmed right now and clearly a distributed platform like this has many potential applications, probably something of an understatement. But what I am thinking of right now is how frequently we discuss the disconnect between the theory of teaching as presented in pre-service programs in Ed Schools and the practice experience new teachers encounter when they enter the classroom. I'm trying to envision the ability to create an authentic MUD where pre-service teachers could take their lesson plans and materials and introduce them into a Croquet space, either with computer generated students of real students. Interacting with parents, administrators, other pre-service teachers, etc.

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