On Thursday afternoon Julian Lombardi from Wisconsin and Mark McCahill from Minnesota demonstrated Croquet, an open-source, interactive, networked, 3D immersive environment they’re building.
If I understand this project correctly, the goal is to provide a platform where building and sharing interactive objects in a social 3D space becomes as easy and accessible as it has been to write and publish web pages.
While I’m not currently in any position to judge the specific technology or implementation, I think the concept of an easily manipulated shared immersive environment is incredibly powerful and is likely to be very important in the evolution of computing in education. Watching my six year old navigate around the space in his Harry Potter game on the Mac is very instructive – he takes to the environment and the challenges with incredible glee as well as sophistication. Croquet may well be one glimpse into our professional future.