For Immediate Release: Jan. 14, 2010
BLOOMSBURG — "Avatar" is more than the title of a blockbuster film currently in theaters. It is the term used to describe 3-D representations of ourselves used in video games, virtual worlds, educational software and Web sites.
Karl Kapp, professor of instructional technology at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, explains the educational use of avatars and the 3-D virtual world where they reside in his new book, "Learning in 3-D: Adding a New Dimension to Enterprise Learning and Collaboration." Tony O’Driscoll, a Duke University professor, is co-author of the book, which grew from a 50-page essay about 3-D worlds of learning. It includes case studies, models and implementation processes provided by more than a dozen contributors.
To build awareness of the book, Kapp has embarked on a 30-day blog book tour. The tour started Monday, Jan. 11, with the blog maintained by Ron Burns, CEO of ProtonMedia, who wrote the forward for "Learning in 3-D." Each stop on the blog tour offers a review of the book and a discount on its purchase.
The 3-D virtual environment, also known as Second Life, has practical applications in organizational learning, Kapp said. Science-based Second Life sites, referred to as "Islands," for example, give students the opportunity to learn about a human cell from within or experience what happens beneath the devastating waves of a tsunami. In a professional environment, the technology is currently used to train emergency first responders near Washington, D.C., and teach employees to troubleshoot the malfunction of a turbine, handle the ins and outs of pharmaceutical sales and conduct a physical inventory, to name a few. "Your personality comes through in your avatar," Kapp said. "It's an extension of yourself that acts and behaves like you would. Training in a virtual environment provides varied experiences and shortens the learning curve." More information is available at Kapp's Web site, his blog or the book's Web site.
Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 9,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.