Just to show the breadth of this post I’m starting with sad news of a children’s author. Anna Dewdney, a children’s author famous for the Llama llama series of books, died over the weekend. I only have young children, so I’ve only recently been introduced to her works. However, they fit several important personal criteria for children’s books: they were obviously written by a parent, they were able to capture the point of view of children and parents, and even on the four hundredth reading they were still enjoyable and cute. I am saddened to hear of her untimely passing.
Which now segues, somehow, into mixed, merged, virtual, or augmented reality. Over the summer we purchased a Holo lens at Parkland. We’ve enjoyed playing with it, and thinking about how it can be used in classes. We even have some faculty in Natural Sciences thinking of all the potential uses for their classes. And THAT is part of the key, getting faculty to think about it. As this article discusses based on a recent report, versions of AR/VR will be in the classroom in 2-3 years. What does that mean? For students? For faculty? For IT? It appears from Microsoft literature and the Holo lens store that Case Western’s very cool use and adoption of the Holo lens for Anatomy and Physiology will be in full use and downloadable within two more years. As the Occulus or Holo lens, or whatever device “wins” becomes cheaper, there will be an impact on campuses, but those devices will need to become cheaper, easier to wear, and part of the curriculum design, not just an after thought. With the success of Pokemon this summer, the future of VR/AR or merged is nearer, but will we adapt or adopt?
And a final thought on the digital domain, and our participation, but lack of ownership of it. So the first time I heard about the “Domain of one’s own” through the University of Mary Washington was a few years ago, through a librarian blog I read. The goal is empowering people to take “ownership” of their digital goods, which is a noble 21st century idea. However, as Audrey Waters writes, it may be ephemeral at best. As she discusses what do we “own” digitally? My children can inherit my 800 dusty music CDs, but can they inherit my Amazon episodes of Game of Thrones? What about e-books? What about these blog entries? Or even my Facebook pictures (if I don’t save them)? What do I own, and what do I control? Which, is how I understand the domain of one’s own came about, due to these types of questions. Though if we expand this idea to corporations, what do they own? I saw a very interesting slide on Facebook from a conference presentation, which talks about all the big tech companies and how even they don’t actually “own” anything. Uber owns no taxis, but are the largest taxi company. Skype the largest phone company with no infrastructure. Google and Apple the largest software vendors who don’t write apps……Alibaba is the largest retailed with no inventory…. What type of future are we creating, buying, and selling? All very interesting questions for all sorts of classes across campus.
If there is a thread to this, perhaps it is questioning what we consider real. Is it the memories of childhood books and authors? Perhaps it is the “reality” which we can interact with, but which isn’t there. Or perhaps it is with things we can see, hear or read, but don’t actually touch or own, and will disappear without us.