Stories and Art in 3D: Wander the Watercolours

Artists and writers have new media opportunities to explore with digital tools.  For example, artist CK (Creakay Ballyhoo in the virtual world of Second Life) created watercolour (spelled that way in her part of the world!) paintings in 3D to illustrate a story presented in a virtual world.  Read the story of a little girl on a watercolour wander.

A group of educators, the Virtual Pioneers, take virtual field trips to simulations in Second Life.  A recent trip allowed the pioneers to wander through CK’s story paintings.  This machinima shows the educators inside A Watercolour Wander.

The Virtual Pioneers  are an open group, welcoming others to come along on virtual adventures.  Through collaboration with groups like this, the Community Virtual Library strives to connect virtual communities with high quality simulations.  This machinima illustrates how the future of libraries and the future of education may include mixed reality and amazing new ways to enter art, history, and all subjects for all learners.  Learning will never be the same.

In Awe of the Stacks

(Comparing Twitter to the Library Shelves)


Tweet are serendipitous and I am reminded of walking through the library stacks as a young girl.


What is all of this?  How amazing!



But there is a difference-





The library stalks were part of a carefully selected collection….curated (planted by a trained gardener and carefully weeded).



Things have changed. The gardener or “the gatekeeper” no longer keeps out the weeds and pests.

There are tons of weeds and pests online. It is increasingly difficult to find the cream of the crop- the authentic, aesthetically pleasing, accurate information that helps individuals learn and grow toward knowledge and wisdom in the 21st century.


I am not in awe of these stacks.



But, I know I can still learn and be in awe of the people in my PLN.  Yes, just like the stacks…tweets are serendipitous.  Those I follow will lead toward what I need to learn.


I must learn to garden for myself.


Photos labeled for reuse with creativecommons licensing.

Human-power or Algorithms?

A recent article suggests that human-powered searches may be on the increase due to social network sites.  The author argues that human beings can provide better search strings (more relevant or meaningful) than searching by keyword algorithms and lead information seekers to the best websites.  That seems logical, especially with the move toward user-generated content and a “push” instead of “pull” attitude toward information.  I repeat what I have said before, “the hierarchy of information has changed.”  But what, I wonder, about authority?  As a librarian, I have always valued the best in literature, the best in reference sources- the most accurate and reliable–not necessarily the most popular.  Will human-powered searches and social networks lead us to the best?  Does the cream rise to the top?  I am hopeful, but not sold on the idea that it will happen.  I guess my doubt springs from the observation that most social sites value entertainment over education.

This week, in my school library, I had a student hold up a World Book encyclopedia.  I told the class to take a look because I will never be ordering an encyclopedia again.  The words came out of my mouth before I realized what I was saying.  I am working inside a beautiful space that is dissolving and changing right before my eyes.  As fascinating as it is to watch, I am left with a question about librarianship in the future.  I wonder if Google would offer me a job.

Book Discussions



Book Discussions and Book Clubs are traditionally a highlight of library programs (certainly my elementary school library book club is a happenin’!).  On July 23rd, I led my first virtual book discussion in Second Life on Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, a 1992 novel which first coined the term “metaverse.”  I worried that no one would show up for the discussion, but it turned out there was standing room only with 27 avatars. Conducting a book discussion in a virtual world made me realize the potential for reaching a wider (global) audience with similar interests.

Virtual World Conference

Amazingly, the Virtual Worlds: Libraries, Education and Museums Conference was just like presenting at a real world conference!  My presentation was at the end of the day (1opm my time zone) and I was rather nervous- this being my first virtual presentation.  The best part was that my machinima about the grand opening of the Land of Lincoln sim actually played!