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March 19, 2007

Welcome to Education Island

Sorry, didn't have a chance to post anything last month. But that's for the good reason – we just opened Education Island.  As always, regardless of all plans and schedules, most important questions had to be answered, problems solved and options added immediately before the opening.  Luckily, this is all behind us and Education Islandhas become a known Second Life destination for educators. We tried to make it interactive and fun – after all these are the qualities that make Second Life an attractive educational and training tool. 

One of the examples of interactive tools is our Team Tester.  Psychologists have known for a long time – and we, lay folks, have known this forever -- that a team of individuals can be more and can be less than a sum of its parts.  Results of a team effort depend much more on how well people work together, rather than on how great they are as individuals.  There is an experiment that allows you to test a team – give a group of people a simple task they need to complete in cooperation with each other and you will find if it’s a group of people or a team.

In Team Tester #1 we created a puzzle consisting of 9 cubes. The task is for several people to solve the puzzle without direct communication with each other.  We have been offering Second Life tours for educators and Team Tester seem to be very popular.  Interestingly, the difference in time it takes several randomly assembled people to solve the puzzle together varies between a couple of minutes to … forever (that’s when people just cannot work together).  Even more interesting that it happens to educators who know what the test is all about and one would think they would be able to better organize team effort.

There is also another variant of Team tester and an open auditorium with a few movies showing Second Life educational capabilities. Of course, you are welcome to sign up for a free Second Life tour. We currently run at least two per week and I would love to see you there.

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Alex Heiphetz received Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Pittsburgh. After working for a

consulting firm he started an independent company in 1997. Delta L Printing specializes in business services to training companies and educational institutions: training management software, publishing, audio and video production. Dr. Heiphetz can be reached via e-mail at alex.heiphetz@deltalprinting.com or through the company web site www.deltalprinting.com.

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