Thursday, 31 July 2008

Barriers to innovation

Steven Warburton has a nice post on Liquid Learning discussing the barriers to innovation in virtual worlds in the context of teaching and learning.
He suggests 6 areas in which there are barriers - technical, identity, culture, collaboration, time and economic - which seems like a useful breakdown to me.

He closes with a discussion about the choice of technology for a remote presentation with colleagues from the UK to an audience in Kuala Lumpur. In short, Elluminate was chosen over Second Life:
Not only were we going to have to trust the technical robustness of the platform (gulp) but we were also forced to assess the question of added value from using Second Life? Fighting server lag, low bandwidth problems, variable audio quality and the sheer awkwardness of manipulating an in-world slide viewer were just too much to contemplate so we shifted to the Elluminate.
While this doesn't seem unreasonable given the nature of the presentation (RL presenters speaking to a RL audience) he ends with:
here is a vision for SL that would help make it more usable - a whiteboard, an integrated IRC type chat client and a status indicator panel.
I suppose so... though SL already has an "IRC type chat client" (in-world chat - which in my experience serves perfectly well as a back-channel while voice is being used to carry the main presentation) and status indicator (just ask people to '/clap' or chat something when you want explicit acknowledgement). I agree that the whiteboard is missing and as I've argued elsewhere, this highlights SL's fundamental problem with handling text-like documents in any collaborative sense.

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