Loved Castronova's book 'Synthetic Worlds - The Business and Culture of Online Games'. It's a serious academic text (but readable) on parallel worlds online - what it's like to enter, inhabit and meet others, as well as a detailed examination of their economies. Online Synthetic worlds promise to be huge in the delivery of learning. As they parallel everything in the real world they will also provide undreamt of possibilities in learning. Lots of real examples already exist in medicine, public health, finance and the military. You enter the world (like Second Life), create an avatar and visit the learning location. Second Life now has a special 'Campus: Second Life' service.
As Castronova says, 'There are enough applications of this technology in the area of education and research to occupy several generations of teachers and researchers' - damn right. Millions play and hang out in these environments and it's one more Web 2.0 tool, such as open source, podcasts, videocasts, blogs, wikis, file sharing and others, that will play a role in informal learning. Being in these worlds may turn out to be as normal as watching TV and learning in them as normal as going to school.
Hi Donald -
You may have come across it, but there's some interesting game-theory / game-history articles at http://ludology.org/
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