Using Virtual Worlds and Web 2.0 for ICT4ED and Eco-Tourism

A recent article in 3DTLC 3D Training, Learning and Collaboration reported:
“Lauren Papworth, a social networking strategist, told the Australian Tourism Futures conference that travelers will increasingly use virtual worlds to help plan their next vacation according to the Brisbane Times. The talk was targeted at the Australian tourism community, but has relevance to the entire global business.”

I have been working on a virtual worlds and web 2.0 strategy in the Dominican Republic. Some of the uses we are looking at are directed at eco-tourism. From a top down supply side perspective virtual worlds used for tourism is just another version of colonialism. But my idea is directed at the web 2.0 phenomenon of user generated content. In other words, the suggestion is, that as part of a content creation strategy (and unique intellectual property is a value proposition, and one way to create wealth, in a knowledge society) locally created content based on stewardship of the biome, is a way to develop an eco-tourism infrastructure. But if content is developed locally in an immersive and rich way, the interest of tourists would be aroused. Furthermore, those who cannot physically go–for political, logistical or financial reasons–virtual tourism and rich content created locally–can provide a way to generate income as part of a eCommerce strategy. Community supported conservation, or Local Stewardship of the biome is a sustainable eco-tourism strategy. Building an infrastructure of destinations devoted to this goal can contribute a wider support and help transition economies to one based on content creation instead of resource extraction or exploitation. Fundamentally this is a Creative Economy idea that leverages Information and Communication Technology for Development. I prefer to add “Emergent” development to the concept to re phrase the proposition to include the immersive internet and Bottom of the Pyramid wealth and knowledge creation strategies.
The Galapagos are a case in point. Tourism–even so called eco-tourism–is killing the very attributes that make the Galapagos a destination. But think about the volume and quantity of information that could be available–and most likely exists, horded by scientific institutions world wide– If this was generated, maintained and developed locally it would provide a solution to the onslaught of tourists, while providing income to the local people. Then, serious eco-tourists and tour companies could properly protect the heritage of the site, finding more equitable ways of allowing visitors to the delicate ecosystem.
Even this stage of virtual tourism that we are discussing is quickly morphing into augmented reality. A data rich environment, created and maintained by local people will be providing a new frontier to monitoring the planet and its resources and ecosystems. The sooner local communities can get aboard the sooner they will be in a position to generate wealth and provide a sustainable future.


More about Ontogenetica

The ceation of being. Not in a heavy sense. Not burdoned by being, but the incredible lightness of being. And this is offered in a ‘hyper-techontic’ fashion, energized by the quickly evovling web and technology. But this is not a constructivist theory. Being, resonating emergence, is a spontaneous ever changing phenomenon which we participate in with various degrees of awareness. So you could say awareness of being accompanies creation. Its clear that in order to deeper understand the roots of creativity and innovation one must be in tune with the spiritual dimension. But as I try to understand this evolving state of communication, of fascilitating, of evolution there has to be an organic, ecological way to integrate this with the other dimensions of the new pedagogy. The thing is, its happening at break neck–quantum speed before our very eyes.  I’m trying to comprehend what I see fantastically.

The medium is the message. Thinking about this in the context of my curent exploration of web 2.0 and the emerging pedagogy–the ecological neccessity makes perfect sense. Everyone is keen on naming the age–I’d venture “The Age of Ecologies.” As if we have suddenly been made aware of systems in nature and society.  Media ecology has a neccessity that is dawning on me.  Simultaneous with the swiftness of global climate change, the swiftness of evolving forms of media and communication–and our comprehension of them. Peaks and valleys in a temporal landscape (the earth) situated within the cosmos.

But there is more here, tons of  lightness. I have to go back to the recent conference on Education in the New Environmental Economy–see my previous post–reflecting upon the conference speakers, the passion and urgency that I seemed unaware of while attending, now is crytalizing. There is a rising sense in the media and the blogsphere of the inescapable truth that good ecology means good economy.  Isn’t this the ultimate expression of the idea of environmental economics–ie., the opposite of what it serves to remind us–that all activity has an effect throughout multiple environments and wealth emerges from the ecological economy of motion?  So I’d have to say that an economics (as presumably past ‘fossil fuel’ thinking is) that is unaware of the environmental costs is not a very accurate model and has had a devastating effect upon the earth.  So the urgency is twofold and upon us as the ultimate survival game: can we bring about a paradigm shift and transform our societies into ones of ecological economies before the planet is destroyed, or much of it? And this: can we evolve our consciousness and behaviour fast enough to precipitate a paradigm shift?

This is an ontological dilemma. Our very being depends upon our success of recreating our being with an ecological awareness. I thoroughly believe we have the means and ability to achieve this.  We are developing the tools to collaborate and solve this problem as a species through the World Wide Web.  My very important act of writing this blog serves to build the synapses as millions of others contribute.  I find the timing auspicious, contemporaneous, synergistic.