Meadows International

Vijay Saraswat

Table of Contents

Version 1.0
Last modified date:
Wed Oct 29 11:42:39 1997

The basic premiss

In this world, as we understand it, space and time provide the unchanging context for physical reality and interaction, the context in which most of human experience is based. For decades, AT&T has pioneered instantaneous communication --- anytime, anywhere --- as a way to bring people together, transcending these gives of space and time, refashioning the course of human experience --- personal, business, artistic.

Computer-mediated communication carries enormous additional power, peril, promise, opportunity. For instance, I argue in a related white paper that we must take ourselves and our customers into this age by providing "universal" instant messaging services on the Internet.

But beyond that lies an even richer arena, an additional dimension for human interaction, an arena for not just talk but action , the arena of what I will call computer-mediated reality . And this is the notion of situating computer-mediated communication in the context of persistent, interactive virtual worlds, constructed and extended by their participants. Memory, history, property.

Network spaces. Network communities.

School-centered network communities

Where best might these ideas be explored? What is unquestionably at the heart of the fabric of human society --- in Iceland and Tanzania, in Kazhakastan and India, in New Zealand and Montana?

Parents. Children. Teachers. Schooling.

Basic elements

Connectivity . Anytime anywhere, through the Internet.

Communication . Children and other participants connect. Safe environment (authentication). Email. Chat.

Construction. Objects.

Ownership. Brings certain kinds of power. Freedom of expression. Idiosyncratic construction.

Extensibility. Fundamentally new kinds of objects can be created. (Programmability)

Text-centered. Must read and write in order to communicate.

Pedagogical themes

Cross-age environment : K-grey. 4 generations in Pueblo.

Cross-grade environment : Collaboration between middle and high school. Older kids tutoring younger kids, naturally. Co-explorers and co-creators.

Cross-cultural: Local history. Online constructions reflecting local situatedness.

Cross-curricular : Languages, Social Studies, Math, Science, extra-curricular projects.

Constructive environment . Children get to make things. Learn by doing. Learn by teaching.

Social themes

Between home school and playground. Parents can connect. Parents have fine-grained visibility into peer-group behavior that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.

Social interaction.



Authorship. Reputation.

Governance Crime, punishment, power structure. origin, growth, evolution of powers. Testing limits.

Technical infrastructure: Matrix and TicToc

Future Development

Collaboration with NASA, and possibly Lincoln Center and Franklin Institute.

Dozen carefully chosen schools. Committed parents, teachers, administrators.