Seeking Relativity – 2012

NASA Image of Kepler Telescope Logo

No gloom, zombies, or prophecies of doom for 2012. New Earth-like planets discovered by the Kepler Telescope reveal unimagined diversity. Years are so variable, not to mention time. Or should I say space-time? Each day new data reveal intricate mysteries that open new possibilities for how our lifestyles can be designed and lived. Learning addicts rejoice!

My studies progress and my dissertation topic of game-based learning is well in hand. It is clear to me that the focus on the learner within everyday, informal contexts is paramount. Metacognition is key. For my institution, I hope to see a genre of applied research advanced what we call the “Scholarship of Learning with Technology.” The Learning Sciences are particularly interesting as a field of study. The University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies demonstrates projects and research that involve Learning Sciences. My personal research is focused toward these type of learning innovations.

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Lost in (Cyber) Space

My first quarter at CTU was eventful, more so than I thought probable. Routines and schedules require greater regulation and pacing to manage simultaneous coursework, research, and writing.

Attending the first Symposium in mid-October held anticipation to meet the professors and my fellow classmates. I question whether I belong in the Management group or the Computer Science group. My aptitudes qualify me for both, but my interest is more for Computer Science. My new colleagues work mostly as IT professionals in security, enterprise architecture, and cloud computing. Two others in the cohort work within education and everyone is distributed throughout the US. One classmate works and lives in Germany. Alas, my worldview is re-established just as it was for me as a former military wife living overseas.

Arriving at CTU for the 1st symposium

The power outage in the hotel was most memorable. Several of us had just returned from dinner. A car in a nearby parking lot ran into a light pole. The whole block went dark. In my room, I had just read on Facebook where UCF News reported how Bill Gates praised UCF’s online learning then poof!

I brought my new Canon Tsi digital camera and took photos nearly every chance I could to remember the event. My mother would have been 80 years old during the Symposium. Her passing earlier in the year made me reflect on the importance of communicating story for our children.

Here is my Flickr stream of CTU photos

During the semester, while studying the four books required for Usability, I also learned to use Endnote and collected works for my annotated bibliography that will be used in my dissertation. Assignments were aligned with work, but making homework real comes at a cost. Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval was required at both institutions. Ironically, the required tutorials were different, but complementary. The timing required to obtain approval caused angst to meet the deadline. My family has been especially supportive with doing yard work, bringing over food, arranging home improvements, and participating in my research of course. When I was a kid growing up in Princeton, Indiana one of my favorite games was to play Lost in Space where we emulated turbulence trying to stand on a piece of plywood supported by a large rock. That TV show had it right. Obtaining an education is a family affair and I hope to contribute to the design of family learning quests someday.

Here are my top 10 personal resolutions for 2011

10. Process thoughts and redefine voice
9. Refine inquiry and focus pursuit
8. Keep the photographer’s eye alert, whether carrying camera or not
7. Find the edges of where disbelief is suspended
6. Synchronize optimism for the future and enjoyment of the present
5. Practice feeling awe everyday
4. Fold up thoughts into mental origami
3. Seek out authenticity in all its forms
2. Be true to oneself, be original
1. Never give up, never surrender

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Research & Development

Photo of Barbara Truman April 2020Greetings. I’m Barbara, a scholar, and researcher exploring innovative ways to facilitate networks of people and organizations across education, government, military, and industry. My quest is to promote inclusivity and accessibility using virtual reality, specifically virtual worlds to create smart, enabled, and sustainable communities. Photo taken at the Red Geranium, New Harmony, Indiana, the town modeled in the virtual world grid, Virtual Harmony.

I study open source, virtual world communities. My research has found that cultivating an avatar persona creates attachment, building a personal identity as a mirror to ‘self’. When the avatar attachment is strong, enhanced collaboration with other avatars can result in attachment to the virtual world milieu that can now involve the physical world using extended reality (XR) and the Internet of Things (IoT).  Why is this important?

Discovering and using strengths! I think of Appreciative Reality as the practice of inquiry into what factors contribute to the development of avatar identity that leads to constructive, leadership activities used across virtual-physical communities for the benefit of society and sustainability. Integrating an Awareness of Selfhood and Society book

Experience has led me to be a champion of The Metaverse committed to building strength-based leaders, citizens, researchers, educators, and most of all collaborators.

My research into collaboration using immersive, virtual environments seeks to model interactions that promote Transdisciplinarity, a skill and philosophy needed to deal with complexity. In 2017, the IGI Global book, Integrating an Awareness of Selfhood and Society into Virtual Learning was released. I am a co-editor and we are working on an update. Check it out! Drax Files interview podcast from February 2017.

This site provides information about my experience, current studies, and future goals. If you are a researcher interested in these topics, please contact me about collaborating. First name.Last name at Gmail. Thank you!

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