Track: Invited Speakers

Title Gutenberg to Spielberg
Author(s): Gord Holden
Moderator(s):Valiant Westland
Date Friday, March 16 17:00
Location: Central Auditorium
Abstract The writings of Marco Polo played a role in supplanting the western tradition of learning through questioning and debate with the “text-based” memorization pedagogy of the orient. While the invention of the printing press greatly enriched the availability of ideas and thoughts, it also added voluminous amounts of information to be processed as part of a standard education. Now, Kindles and their kin make the sharing of digitized text more efficient, contributing to an overwhelming overload of facts. The resulting textual gridlock may in fact be making personalized learning an oxymoron, as students have increasingly less time and opportunity to internalize anything other than what others have written about what THEY think.  What to do? The movie “Avatar” posits that a deeper more profound learning can be gained by experiencing issues first hand. (What a concept.) My hope for this session is to demonstrate that while a picture may say “a thousand words,” a unit of learning built and/or experienced in a contextually authentic virtual setting that is a shared interactive environment may in fact say “millions of words.” This is not science fiction, but part of the “engagification of education” that needs to take place, and how my students love to learn. I will look forward to showing you both what they have built and the experiential learning environments they participate in.Immersive Technology 4 Learning 
Bio(s): Gord Holden:

Gord Holden was encouraged to go into teaching because of his success with teaching students with special needs to read, using a computer game and began his teaching career 20 years ago in British Columbia, Canada. His use of games and technology in teaching was both successful and popular with students and their parents, but a move to distance education 5 years ago created gulf that needed to be filled. This is when he added virtual worlds to his teaching repertoire and subsequently discovered that it added much more to his teaching practice than he would have anticipated. Now, he works for Heritage Christian Online School, a large independent school where he coaches teachers in Quest Atlantis, provides workshops to student teachers, coaches both students and teachers in project-based learning using Active Worlds, and designs and builds virtual worlds for curricular uses.

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