Archive for October, 2010

Snaps to Linden on Education and the Economy

October 8, 2010

An educational or not-for-profit institution that is currently under contract with us will be able to renew early (or purchase additional regions) and continue to receive the current 50% discount on land maintenance provided that the renewal takes place prior to the December 31, 2010. You will be able to select contract renewal options of 6, 12, 18 or 24 months under these terms. If your organization renews and enters into a contract no later than December 31, 2010, it can lock in the current discounted rate for up to 24 additional months.

This is a virtual world platform that says community, is in touch with its people, knows how to increase customer loyalty and advance their business model. Taking care of the educational long term is a brilliant move.

However, I am secretly hoping this opens the door to privatized education. In an era of scarcity, we needed institutions to bring our kids to common locations for access to people and resources. What Linden Lab and all the other virtual world platforms are providing is access to virtual places and virtual resources at a significantly lowered cost.

Instead of paying for overhead, cutting back on textbooks, classroom size, teacher pay, and struggling with a Union that is so Sinclair Lewis, wouldn’t it be great if we focused instead on the affordances of virtual worlds for education at a price that is affordable? With experiences and access to people that are actually immeasurable in their innovation.

Access to the student today is even more important than access to the teacher. Students are solid. They know how to get information and they know what to do with information. What they need is jobs. And if the job pays participation and accreditation, what a great entree into the work world, and what a fantastic way to get an education.

The price that Linden is charging for educational islands is a drop in the bucket. You can move so many students in and out of an island – hopping from topic to topic, job to job, experience to experience.

I embrace that Linden is taking care of the educational community for the time being. But, they are setting a great timeline — 24 months. Start figuring out how to get more market driven, more innovative, more participatory, more interactive, more fun … let the virtual world teach you (the teacher, the school district, the principal, the school boards) how to move elegantly into the 21st century. You may have to go struggling, but in the long run, education will be available to all and there is hope that the aggregate will result in creating a place where people come together to solve problems, identify solutions, and visualize everything from anthropology to zoology.

Thanks Linden!

Now roll up your sleeves educators and get out there and use the virtual platform that will become your best affordable chance for transformation.