Title: "Augmented Mind: The Evolution of Learning Tools from Language to Immersive Reality”
Abstract: Innovative educators are constantly facing the challenge of matching pedagogical goals with complementary technological tools. Unfortunately, given the wide range of technologies and devices that vie for consumer attention, the right choices are not always clear and are typically obscured by media hype. In this presentation, John Lester will describe how focusing on the way the human mind interacts with the world and other human beings can help identify the right tools for the right jobs. From a mind-augmentation perspective combining constructivist and behaviorist approaches, John will explore web based tools ideal for knowledge management, augmented reality based self-animated autonomous agents, and finally the unique (and sometimes over-hyped) affordances of perceptually immersive multiuser 3d virtual worlds for collaborative learning.
John "Pathfinder" Lester is currently the Chief Learning Officer at ReactionGrid, a software company developing 3D simulations and multiuser virtual world platforms. His primary focus is on collaborative learning and instructional design, working with academic and business clients to develop immersive education environments.
From 2005-2010, John worked at Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life. At Linden Lab he led the development of the education and healthcare markets while evangelizing the innovative use of virtual worlds in research, training and distance education.
Previously, John worked at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, creating online medical education and patient support communities while exploring the underlying neuroscience behind how people communicate and collaborate effectively.
John has a background in neuroscience research and a deep interest in how to best design and use virtual world technology to enhance education, build collaborative communities and augment the human mind. His areas of expertise also include knowledge management, business development and project management.
John is currently focused on virtual world research and development using Unity3d, Opensimulator and Jibe. His active research interests include designing immersive multiuser VR environments using the Oculus Rift and creating AI-based avatars that communicate via natural language using ChatScript.
John lives and works in Montreal, Canada and frequently gives professional presentations on best practices for virtual world development. His favorite hobbies include caring for his dogs, horology and cryptocurrencies.
PLENARY TECHTALK SPEAKER
Stefano Santo Sabato is currently serving as CTO for MediaSoft (www.mediasoftonline.com), an Italian cutting-edge company operating in Information and Communication Technology specialized in the design and implementation of solutions based on new communication channels and digital media and mostly involved in Collaborative Virtual Environments and in Internet of Things fields.
He received a master's degree in computer engineering after graduating from the University of Lecce and earned the PhD in Information Engineering defending the thesis “OPENWEBTALK: a structured approach to generate 3D collaborative experiences” in the same academia.
His research activity has focused on the design of service oriented architectures and collaborative virtual environments with particular interest in virtual collaborative learning management systems. Until 2009 he carried out his research in GSA-Lab (Graphics and Software Architectures Laboratory), which he co-founded, strictly collaborating with HOC (Hypermedia Open Center) of the Electronic and Information Department in the Polytechnics of Milan.
Now he collaborates with various companies as a senior software architect and as coordinator of agile development teams in projects related to CVEs, Virtual Presence, 3D simulations, Internet of Things.
He is a member of the Digital Agenda Task Force, a unit created by the Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta to lead the development of the Digital Strategy, being involved in the "Digital Identity" initiative.
He is also expert of embedded system also being able to code firmware for microcontrollers.
In his free time he plays guitar and also enjoy by doing music arrangements.