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Third Life and The Internet of Things

Whose idea was this? Weiwei
Who else might want to work on it? Eva


We all know Second Life; however what is Third Life. I get this idea last week, while I was talking with my group memembers. I thought I must be the first one who prompted this concept. But I'am wrong, this concept has been coined by someone in Jan. 2007.(refer to . Third Life, in my opinion, is the world that integrate the physical world and the virtual world seamlessly, e.g. Sencond Life. What you do in the virtual world is really what you achieve in the real world. It is not just an online game which is played only for fun. Even what you have done in the physical world can be displayed in your virtual world. In other words, what you behave in the real world is embodied at your virtual world by your avatar. Currently, First Life and Second Life are seperated, at least, we know which one is virtual and which one is real. Even situations in Second Life are fabricated. On my judgement, Second Life supplement First Life, but not replace it. In the future, Third Life must be a tendency wich combine First Life and Second Life effectively and seamlessly.

The possible solution, at least the first step, is for Google Earth to creat avatars like that in Second Life in it, not just account. Because, everything in Google Earth looks more real and reflects our real space and planet. On the contrary, Second Life is created mostly by imagination. If the age of Third Life comes, I think that is cool to live just in one world instead of shift between two different Lifes: First Life and Second Life.

The Internet of Things may be the next step of information technology reform, which will transform the information access technology, especially those information and raw data about each object in the real world through sense transmiting technology, rfid, and so on. The last important steps for information change are computers, which improve information processing ability, and Internet, which accelerates the speed of information transmation. If all the things in the world are connected with computers, Internet, and Internet of things, The Third world for all human beings will come ture, which means you can feel, smell, touch the exsitance of things on the other side of our planet, not just see texts, images, audio, and video about them. I am looking forward to the Internet of things coming ture years later.

What do you think? my friends.

Jim: I think this is awesome. I've always wondered about using google earth as a mash-up with second life. Imagine if it ha a "personal layer" - maybe building on MyMaps -so that I could zoom in on google earth, to see my house (which I can already do), but then into my living room. turn to see my tv; program my PVR; etc.... feed the dog?


Whose idea was this? Bodong
Who else might want to work on it?


My dream when I was a child was to become an astrophysicist, but obviously I went onto a track absolutely different from what I expected. However, it will still be fun if we could design some tools to immerse learners and fans in the joy of exploring the universe and galaxies.

This design idea is pretty simple. My experience of viewing maps of universe or galaxies turns out to be not interactive or even boring (check here, here, and here). But at the mean time, we can use iPod Touch to play racing games by simply turning the screen, we can search restaurants nearby using Urbanspoon in iPhone by locating where you are, and we can also tour most places in the world by clicking buttons in the Google Earth. So I wondered if we could design a device that embeds sensors of location, movements and postures, and then integrate it with a database or model of universe, we can tour the universe by simply turning the device in our hands. The experience would be "just like" looking into the unverse with a super telescope. Even better, we can read information about stars, planets, galaxies, and nebulas layered by in the database or by other people. This will open up educational opportunities of this system.

Basically, this tool is a layered information system. We can layer information on a start or galaxy for any purpose. For example, we can layer the basic spatial data of a planet for learners. Meanwhile, it could also be built to be an immersive or gaming environment where users could interact with each other or play a task collaboratively.

This tool might not be hard to implement. It could be an independent device, or could be an application for devices with those sensors, like iPhone or iPod Touch.

Have you seen this, Bodong? or this? or, more recently, (it's near the end of the clip) -Alyssa

There's also Starry Night software -Cresencia

Thank you for these great resources, Alyssa and Cresencia! -Bodong

Common Knowledge

Whose idea was this?  Cresencia
Who else might want to work on it? Jim, Bodong


This is an idea that I began to think about in a course I took last semester.  Having worked extensively in the Knowledge Forum environment when I did my Master's at OISE (2000-2002), I found that learning experience to be highly engaging and really pushed me to think deeply.  Now in 2010, the environment feels a bit dated to me - considering the advances in many free web 2.0 environments (e.g. Wikispaces, Edublogs, etc.).

I want to design an update to Knowledge Forum (or design something like it, but better).  The environment will have a video game feel to it and video-game-like scoring (formative assessment).  There is also a social networking aspect incorporated into it - either Facebook, or an internal SNS built into it.  For now, I'm thinking of calling it 'Knowledge Commons', or 'Learning Commons', or 'Idea Commons'...or "Common Knowledge". 

I'm thinking of this environment first and foremost as a digital space in which to engage in collaborative knowledge creation - but with a virtual world look and feel to it, and a video-game-like scoring system (for formative assessment).  So somehow, this environment is going to have the AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities to determine the depth and originality of the knowledge creation activities of the learner and score them accordingly.  Ranges of scores will correspond to different levels of knowledge-creation status (i.e. "budding knowledge creator", "knowledge creation whiz"). 

Also, this environment will be seemlessly integrated with mobile technology and augmented reality.  For example, a child goes for a walk in the park one day and notices an interesting bird.  Since her class is studying birds at the moment, she takes a short video of this bird feeding its young, and attaches her own hypothesis for why mother birds have slender beaks.  The next time she logs into the online learning environment, she sees that her audio note has been transcribed textually and has the original audio and video files attached to it.  She also sees that a couple of her classmates have created "build-on" notes to the audio note that she created in the park. 

I hope to gain:  (1) learner engagement (virtual world environment, constant feedback/formative assessment), (2) facilitate collaborative knowledge creation, (3) utilize "web 3.0/AI" (whatever the term is) to have constant formative assessment (i.e. agent or a pop-up window that makes helpful suggestions and predictions about possible resources the learner can make use of).

This design would integrate almost all of this course's themes:  knowledge building and semantic aggregation, social networking environments, layered information systems, augmented reality.


Whose idea was this? Jim
Who else might want to work on it? Alejandro


This is a Sim City-based (which is now open source) application that allows us to embed questions about democracy - possibly linked to political movements or ideas.

For example: Should Ontario guarantee childcare? There are strong arguments for and against - and both arguments talk about the ultimate impact on our quality of life. SimDemocracy Visualizer will let us make those impacts visible.

We can also visualize things like: The Carbon tax, property tax structures, or different forms of health care.

Also, the kinds of transportation programs, trash pick up and recycling programs that we talked about last week

It would allow politicians, economists, policymakers, etc actually have a working model to explore the impacts of such programs and decision. it would also allow them to make the models visible to citizens - allow them to see, for example, what one structure vs anoyher one actually resulted in. Build your OWN property tax structure if you think ours is so unfair...

Food Safari

Whose idea was this? Alyssa
Who else might want to work on it? Dominika


Inspired by chef Jaime Oliver's 2010 TED Prize wish to teach every child about food (, I propose a mobile game to help children identify food, and get more excited about trying new items and eating healthfully. In one mode, the child would take a picture of a food item (e.g., while at the grocery store) and then the system would identify it, telling them the pronunciation (youngest audience) and maybe a fact about it (e.g., walnuts are good for your brain) or a recipe (including international recipes) they could make with their parents. It would be archived with a rating that the child could assign after trying it (playing off the idea that sometimes kids forget that they like foods, despite the urging of a parent). I think the target age group would be around elementary school kids. The system could also send the child on an adventure to find a food at the store/market that is in season to capture that item and learn about it. You can imagine a point system for capturing, identifying and trying new foods, too. Or, as a teaching tool/activity, each student could be assigned to find an item(s) for homework (or one of their own) and bring back their knowledge to share with the class or the recipe they made, adding to a classroom database of food explorations/safaris. There could be one day dedicated to this activity, or it could be something spread out throughout the semester. Maybe the students are put in teams to assemble a recipe and share it with the class. I see this as something parents and students could get excited about oding together or something for students to enjoy sharing. The goal of the system is to increase food proficiency, raising excitement about trying new things and sharing healthy eating habits through an interactive, mobile game.

Creating Possibilities

Whose idea was this? Courtney
Who else might want to work on it?


When I was younger I always wanted to be Brigid from Robert Munsch's book "Purple, Green and Yellow". I think it would be fantastic to have a website where children could go on and either become or create their favourite characters from their favourite books. Imagine being able to be your favourite Dr. Seuss Character or Robert Munsch character. Or for older children a Charles Dickens character or for those Vampire fans Twilight. Or not even a character but just be able to live in the world and find out secrets. I know they have chat rooms for such things but what if it worked like an Immersive environment where you could enter the world and play games, make rhymes, interact, find out secrets, etc. I think the imagination is a beautiful gift and I think this would be a great imagination/learning tool to just allow children to explore and create and experience.

This same sort of idea could work with plays where students are required to take on a director role and could create a whole play through their characters that would perform. They could design everything from the set to costumes to lighting to the program and the theatre it is set in. They would have so much freedom to create and discover and learn. I think it would be a phenomenal learning and teaching tool.


Whose idea was this? Courtney and Andrea
Who else might want to work on it? Alyssa


Basically it would be a site very similar to Delicious where all your bookmarked sites are connected and you can share with others however, this would be for recipes. It would be good especially if people put if they made it how it turned out and what it was like and how much it actually made and if something when wrong how they corrected it, etc. I think this could also include people's homemade/personal/heritage recipes they can share. It can lead to collaborative menu planning, suggestions on how to lower fat in a recipe (for example), or to make something with chicken instead of beef. There are a lot of collaborative opportunities. There could be a nutritional component to this as well.

Immersive Theatre for researchers

Whose idea was this? Anne
Who else might want to work on it? Murat, Eva


Ethics does not allow for digital footage of real students to be used or shown to the public. It seems that theatre in a virtual environment could protect anonymity and still convey the experience of the process of playmaking to an audience at a conference. How might second life allow for playwrighting in new ways and in what ways might it free up the process as avatars are the characters and not the students. Would they feel any accountability for what they create. How would they be evaluated? Only collectively? Can collaborative creative processes remain anonymous from start to finish? These are very first thoughts, thinking out loud. I will repost as I think more and get closer to class.

An Augmented Birthing Experience

Whose idea was this? Eva
Who else might want to work on it?


I would like to think of some ways that augmented reality & immersive environments might contribute to preparing for or experiencing childbirth.  Hospitals endeavour to create a home-like experience for women experiencing a childbirth though this still allows for much equipment (blood pressure & heart rate monitors, doppler devices, heat lamps etc) and the usual fixtures of a hospital room (call cords, adjustable bed, ugly lighting, cabinetry etc).  I would like to propose a layered environment that allows for a less intrusive experience. What if the family could project images of their home (or some other favourite place) onto the surroundings? What if families could bring in their own music or other ambient sound to help with the experience. If a family member can't come to the hospital (and it doesn't need to be a hospital) then they could visit through a virtual connection. There could be a layer for the health professionals too.  For example, rather than be encumbered by all the clinical equipment... the room itself could track the birthing mother's bio-information.  The midwives, nurses, or obstetricians can monitor the information at the bedside or even on the mother's gown. The advantage is that for most normal births the healthcare providers can easily access the information they need to manage risk while being freed from material constraints to provide care to the birthing woman. All of the forms from health records to birth certificates could be issued (or at least submitted) on behalf of the family, by the room itself.

Consumer Decisions (don't know what to call this)

Whose idea was this? Peggy
Who else might want to work on it? Nisha, Jim, Alyssa, Sarah, Nathan


I am an environmentalist at heart who often gets discouraged by the barriers put up by lack of knowledge in making environmentally informed decisions as a consumer. It seems to require a lot of up-to-date research which I am willing to invest in (when I can) but many people aren't. I have always wondered if there wasn't a way to make it easier for people to make an informed choice when buying.

My design idea is for there to be information in the bar code or other code on all products which would give the consumer information on the environmental and social impact of the making and consumption of the product. This would require a "consumer app" in a phone, for example, which could read the information on the product. This information would be kept up-to-date and the date of the latest information would be part of the data. This would require a huge initial and ongoing environmental and social assessment of all companies and would be open to abuse if it weren't well controlled but we already have fair trade associations, organic trade associations, etc. who have systems in place for doing this kind of thing and expertise in how one would go about setting this up. This may be an idea where the technology design end of it would be easier than the gathering of information end of it.

The bar code could also give you food information such as the ingredients (for allergies or healthy choices). It could also give you the ecological footprint (ie how much energy did the product use during manufacture, or fuel in transportation)

Web-mediated Instructor Training in Technology

Whose idea was this? Loredana and Peggy
Who else might want to work on it? Dominika, Alyssa


The issues:
1. Instructors need to use technology to more effectively teach their adult classes.
2. Instructors often aren't familiar with technology tools or are not comfortable with using them.
3. Instructors are busy and don't have time to take classes to learn about technology.
4. Instructors like to do things at their own pace and in their own time.
5. Instructors like to bounce ideas off other instructors.

Possible solution: Would it be possible to design a website (or some other site) that would mediate instructors' learning about various technologies by having them use the technologies themselves? The site would allow instructors to explore different web technology tools; it would provide a forum for instructors to interact with each other if they wished; it could be customized so as an instructor increased in facility he/she would be given more challenging technology tools to work with; an instructor could go at his/her own pace and time; as an instructor finished "practising with/using" a particular technology application the site would somehow "know" and they would be given a recognition of proficiency in that application. Need to think it all through more but the basic idea is that the technology would be designed as a teaching tool itself to teach technology with space provided for instructors to knowledge build with each other during the process.

Here's a blog I created to teach teachers how to create a blog:  Is this what you mean?  ~Cresencia

Smarter Classroom

Whose idea was this? Loredana and Peggy
Who else might want to work on it? Jim, Bodong, Cresencia


Another idea: building on an earlier project of the smart desk top, how about a smart space where the walls would also be smart and where students would bring in something like an iPad which could interact with the desk and walls. Perhaps students wouldn't buy books but would buy an iPad-like device instead which would be keyed to specific classrooms and have specific texts in them, as well of course, connected to the internet, etc.

Balance the Budget

Whose idea was this? Denise
Who else might want to work on it?


Gaming can be an excellent space to test real issues, and one that can also harvest the thinking of many people. One application for immersive environments that comes to mind is a sort of test space where people are invited to try and balance the federal budget in a game of prioritizing various issues/programs. The game would be competitive and "good budgets" could influence real political action in beyond a theoretical way.


Whose idea was this? Denise
Who else might want to work on it?


With the emphasis on the sense of sight, I'm wondering about an immersive environment that privileges something else, something like touch - maybe a world that is negotiated through feeling surfaces, or touching devices to certain surfaces as a method of navigation.

Interactive Widewall

Whose idea was this? Bodong
Who else might want to work on it? Jim, Murat, Cresencia


Intrigued by the first scene in a video by Microsoft visioning life in 2019, I propose a smart interactive tool which can interact with students and facilitate direct interaction between students from different places. This design idea goes much further than Interactive Whiteboard which is widely used in many schools right now, so it gets the name: Interactive Widewall.

How does it look like?

It is a multi-touch screen embeded in a wall in a classroom. It just looks like a regular glass wall that students can doodle on it with their fingers. There are two basic usage of this wall. The first is to use it within a class. Students can simulate experiments of Mechanics (e.g. movement of falling objects, collision); students can do their Chemistry experiments with virtual tools and reagents in the "wall"; students can bring knowledge from differents subjects together to inquiry on a complicated problem; or this wall can communicate with distributed small screens on students' desktops, presenting small screens symutaneously or send images or files to a single small screen for the student's need... They are just a few possibilities in my mind right now. The basic point here is this wall is a place where students can play with knowledge ideas in realtime with the aid of a vast and smart knowledge database.

The second usage of this wall is to connect two classrooms from distance together just like neighbors. When the connection is turned on, people in one classroom can see the situation in the other classroom from this wall just like looking through a window or a piece of transparent glass. Students can freely walk to the "glass" to talk with students "from the other side of the glass"; their speech will be recognized by some natural language processing tools and present in multi-languages (depending on the location of two classrooms) on the wall. Students can also scrabble on the wall for any purpose of communication; the wall can react in an appropriate and smart way to enrich the representation of meaning in this communication.

Moreover, students can download stuff from the wall, and take learning materials beyond the walls to anywhere with their cellphones, iPads or other devices.

How does it work?

There is a huge knowledge database that contains common knowledge and a world model to support all kinds of smart reaction and formative assessment. The server linked to the wall have the power to recognize what people are writing or drawing on the wall in order to compose feedbacks maybe with reference to new knowledge from the Internet.

In order to connect classrooms, high speed network connection is needed. A group of cameras need to be deployed in classrooms to bring the image to the other side of the wall. During interaction, the servers can understand people's talking and "mashup" or layer with relevent information out in the world.

(I think I didn't make this part clear. The technical requirements need to be reconsidered in detail.)

Why it matters?

This goes further than either the interactive whiteboard for interaction within classroom or the video conferencing for distance communication. Can it transform education, no matter distance or f2f? I don't know...

Family Control Center

Whose idea was this? Dominika
Who else might want to work on it? Alyssa


There are always miscommunications between family members about who has to be driven to what activities or parties, or who is to pick who up, or why something was left off the grocery list, or why someone forgot to mention a message that was left two weeks ago. It is also a hard problem to manage a family calendar and everyone's activities and parties. My design idea would be a centralized control center for a family. This system would be able to connect each person in the family at the same time so everyone is informed of updates and changes to schedules to prevent a broken chain of information leakage. Each person would connect with the system via a wireless device that would communicate with the central system. So for example, if everyday a child needs to call home to ask for a pickup, instead they can message the system, and the system will notify both parents in order for them to decide which will go to pick up the child. The system would track schedules and sync with google calendars or download updates from the websites of recreational venues. If a facebook event is scheduled, like a party or something, then it will also be synched, just in case some children forget to update family calendars. It would keep a running list of items to buy from the grocery store, and will allow messages updates so everyone ca contribute to the list. The system can be accessed wirelessly so that if a parent is at work, they will be notified with messages or can access the shopping list. The main display would display the daily schedule and any other personalized widgets the family chooses, like weather updates, or current messages sent, countdowns to birthdays or special events, photo collages, or even linked feeds from extended family. THis system will allow for family management as well as syngerizing family communication both within the family that lives together and one that spans across the globe.

Community Agenda

Whose idea was this? Murat
Who else might want to work on it?


U of T offers numerous possibilities to graduate students; however, not everybody knows what is being offered. There are a lot of workshops, DocTalks, Seminars available to graduate students for varied interests. With this "Community Agenda" we can create and share a calendar to know what is interesting to our community. If there is a relevant event coming up, someone can out this event to shared calendar and keep the community updated. This design idea is not limited to workshops or seminars; it could easily be expanded any kind of interest that is relevant to the community, such as up coming course offerings or journal deadlines.

How about Google Calendar? ~Cresencia


Whose idea was this?
Who else might want to work on it?



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