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Project DIRECT goes to Wales

Written by Peggy Marconi
November 07, 2011

The idea of going to Wales was enough to create a sense of excitement that rivaled any 6 year old the day before Christmas. Add to this a conference full of international attendees that are equally interested in the notion of blurring boundaries in the mixed reality of ubiquitous computing and I could nearly contain myself.

If you follow this blog you’ve probably noticed that I write a number of the blog posts. I think now is a good time to quickly introduce myself and explain my fascination with 3D immersive environments and the amazing work that is being done with Project DIRECT.

For the last five years I have been academically driven to really look at the integration of virtual and physical reality. In other words, I’ve been looking at how we create and perform our identity in 3D immersive environments, specifically Second Life, and what affects this has on us.

When I came to Project DIRECT a year ago, I had no idea how much I would learn in regards to this focus. But mostly I was surprised to see how blurring boundaries with Second Life greatly factored into the success of this project. Because Project DIRECT was designed to use the virtual space of Second Life for 20 teachers from rural schools to meet, learn and share, the importance of space (both physical and virtual) was core. Therefore, the blurring of boundaries was beyond evident in this project.

On September 9th 2011 I presented Project DIRECT to an international group of academics and practitioners at the “Creating Second Lives 2011: Blurring Boundaries” conference in Wales. During the presentation, I played a few videos/machinima that showcased the project. As I stood up on the stage I was able to surveillance the room and really observed the audience’s reaction. Anyone who presents at a conference can probably attest to the many distractions one will have during a presentation. Often times you see people looking into mobile devices, slumping behind laptops and scanning the room. In this case, all eyes were on the screen that projected Project DIRECT. It was wonderful to see an entire room watching what we are doing here.

Project DIRECT is something quite remarkable and I’m excited to be a part of it. In November we will be holding our second annual workshop in Medford Oregon. As we are gearing up for another full year of revolutionary work with Project DIRECT, I again feel like a 6 year old the day before Christmas. Project DIRECT is moving and shaking the way we blur boundaries and ultimately creating an opportunity for rural school educators that would otherwise be limited due to physical boundaries.

(written by Alina Padilla-Miller)