|28 Jul 2004 @ 14:59|
SAGE stands for Simulation and Advanced Gaming Environments (SAGE) for Learning. This is a recently launched collaborative research initiative by Simon Fraser University in Vancouver Canada. Most of the initial work is for the purpose of collecting a foundation of information for using the latest computer technology and applying it towards the creation of learning environments. The expectations are that this will create a new industry in which Canada will be able to play a leading role.
SAGE is a wisdom project. We have evolved beyond facts, beyond knowledge, and now we seek wisdom on a mass basis. Wisdom to know what to do, and why and how. Wisdom which can be learned but not taught, earned but not bought, elusive but essential. Perhaps in virtual environments we can try things on for size and see how they fit before we commit. This is an option we really haven't had before.
SAGE is more than an academic exercise, it involves the academics but also the students and the general public as well. There is a theory side, a participatory side, and the observation of both. This initiative has the support of the universites, the government and industry. There are a lot of qualified people that are being paid to work on this project, it is not just a good idea being held afloat by a handful of volunteers, although I suspect there will be lots of volunteers involved, as well as by those that want experience for future monetary gain. There should be high interest in this project since the content involves health care which is probably the most popular political issue for Canadians.
Vancouver already has an established industry in electronic gaming. There is also a large number of people working in the film industry and the nickname of Hollywood North is well earned. Vancouver itself, along with the high concentration of creative people that have moved here, is probably the biggest asset for this project.
We already have some experience in new education forms such as high school classes where every student was provided with a laptop, which had wifi connection, and classroom projects were collaborative efforts; parents, teachers and students were so impressed with the results that there are plans to introduce this method into more Vancouver schools.
The SAGE project is hyper multi-media. It not only includes all aspects of online communication but a large off line component as well. It also involves that overlapping area where the mass population engages in collective dialogue. For example I heard about this project last week on CBC Radio where David Kaufman the project leader was being interviewed and was also taking telephone calls from the audience. The project brochure (at SAGE link) lists a multitude of well defined objectives, and seeing as how it is in that most disagreeable online format of pdf Adobe Acrobat it will most probably be printed out, and find its way into coffee shops around town, along with newspaper articles, and through word of mouth. Hyper multi-media is not restricted to a communication medium but is diffused throughout the culture.
Vancouver is engaged with experimenting in numerous forms of participatory democracy, and all of this comes together in a culture of creativity and creation.
It wasn't that long ago that I would get very discouraged by the fact that online worlds like Everquest and Ultima would have millions of users paying a monthly fee to engage in escapism, and yet it was damn hard to find more than a handful that would cooperate in an intellectual discussion in a web conference. It will be interesting to see if this latest Vancouver experiment will provide more than mere stimulation. If it can happen anywhere it will be here. More >