This was our brief conversation:
Abraham Lincoln: Hi.
Abraham Lincoln: who are you?
You: I am a teacher
Abraham Lincoln: Nice to meet you.
You: Why did we fight the civil war?
Abraham Lincoln: A profound sadness to see the Union ripped apart and brother set at brother. Did it make you sad too?
You: Of course. What were the REASONS for the war?
Abraham Lincoln: I understand. Short answer is for political reasons. To expand on that, in spite of the fact that the Battle of Gettysburg was a Union victory, it was also the bloodiest battle of the war and dealt a blow to my war efforts and the public”s ongoing support for the war. At the dedication of the Soldiers” National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on 19 November, in my now iconic speech, I referred to the events of the Civil War and described the ceremony at Gettysburg as an opportunity not only to dedicate the grounds of a cemetery, but also to consecrate the living in the struggle to ensure that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” I asked, what would these men who died for this cause want us to do–quit now or finish the job?
You: That was kind of a long answer. I am a slow reader today.
Abraham Lincoln: I was at the Ford’s Theatre watching one of my favorite plays, ‘Our American Cousin,’ when I was shot by Booth. Nice to meet you.
This site and concept is intriguing to me from the perspective of an educational prosumer. Students and teachers are not just limited to interacting with the existing AI characters on the site, but are also able to CREATE their own and further develop (teach) existing characters on the site. According to the Virsona website:
Virsonas are “Virtual Personas,” created to Reason, Remember and React in the same way that a living, fictional or historical person would. You can create the “Virtual You” as a Personal Virsona™ or you can create and / or interact with one of our Community Virsonas. Interacting with our Community Virsonas opens up a world of possibility – you can actually talk directly to one of your heroes, conduct research or simply have FUN! You can also create Virsonas of departed loved ones, your pet(s), as well as for commonly shared experiences, for example; “The First Kiss.”
Our Virsonas don’t know the answers to everything, but they are capable and willing to learn. As part of the Virsona Community, you can participate in “educating” them using the “Teach” button. So, if you chat with a Virsona and it doesn’t know the answer, simply create your free account, and you can begin to “teach” it by simply inputting the correct answers! That’s the beauty of a Community; participation, sharing and learning.
This can take historical role-playing and re-enacting to another level. As I develop the post-field trip extension activity ideas for the Oklahoma Heritage Association and Gaylord-Pickens Museum, websites like this provide food for thought and new tools for engaged learning. How interesting to think that students could actually “teach” an AI historical character based on the things they’ve studied and learned about that person. What LoTi level would that learning task be assigned?
It would be cool if historical Virsonas could co-exist in Second Life to intelligently interact with others. I’m sure functionality similar to that is coming soon to a virtual world near you.
Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and "eBook singles?" 1 of them is available free! Check them out! Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes' free magazine "iReading" on Flipboard!
If you're trying to listen to a podcast episode and it's not working, check this status page. (Wes is migrating his podcasts to Amazon S3 for hosting.) Remember to follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wesley's Facebook pages for "Speed of Creativity Learning" and his eBook, "Playing with Media." Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Mapping Media to the Curriculum."
On this day..
- Podcast430: Minecraft Summer Camp with Connected Camps - 2015
- Map Media to the Common Core with iPads: Classroom 2.0 LIVE on Saturday! - 2013
- iPhone 5, Steve Jobs Reflections, & Amazing (free) Science Videos - 2012
- Publish student stories online with artwork, text and audio narration with StoryKit (free) - 2010
- Share your 5 Photo Stories on Posterous! - 2010
- Praise for Red Eye Removal and Custom Book Ordering in iPhoto '09 - 2009
- Explaining the value of microblogging and Twitter for educators - 2008
- Hello from Shanghai! - 2007
- Working behind the great firewall of China - 2007
- Podcast190: Implications of the Attention Economy for Schools (Part 3 of 3) - 2007