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.

ISP Annual Meeting II-Transitions

A significant change this year is that the state transport/managed video core is upgrading to a new, converged IP system. This state network is distinct from the state's primary educational ISP. This entails some changes in how traffic ITp's to the POP's and then to the ISP core, which takes it to the common Internet, Internet2, what have you. Although there are some substantial engineering challenges with the transition, as a business decision I think it is pretty straightforward as long as you remember that transport and Internet service are two separate goods to be purchased.

Another change that the cooperative ISP is implementing this year is greenlighting the creation of ad hoc member working groups to develop value-added services. The goal is to share ideas, achieve economies of scale by collaborating at the cooperative level, and to decentralize/flatten some of the decision making so that the pace of advance continues. Not something likely to happen with a corporate ISP!

State ISP Annual Meeting

Will try a little more liveblogging today from our state ISP's annual meeting. It's a member-based cooperative focusing on the state university system, independent colleges, K-12 education, libraries, and increasingly local government.

Earlier, the candidates for the Board are giving brief statements. The candidates capture the diversity of the network, we have the CIO for a major urban district, a technology director from a medium sized district, two CIO's from private colleges, a library system technologist, and a technology manager for a county.

Now, the Executive Director is up for the annual state of the network address. With changing technologies and economics, it is important to pay close attention to this to get a sense of where we are headed in terms of costs and new services, so I'll post now and focus on listening to the remarks.