Monday, July 07, 2008


What's Plurk? Well, if you use Twitter, than you've got the idea plus or minus some features. (if you don't know what Twitter is, watch this video and you'll get the idea.)

The interesting thing to me about Plurk isn't the microblogging (we've had that) or another way to build a personal learning network (there are MANY ways for this to happen) but how one uses Plurk to build 'Karma.' Every users builds a karma value. One gets more karma by
  • Updating your profile (picture, location, birth day etc.) will gain your more karma
  • Quality plurking each day
  • Responses from other plurkers will gain you karma.
  • Inviting your real friends will boost your karma
So this concept immediately got me thinking about. Gaia Online. This site was a huge draw for many of my students last year. It's market's itself as the

"Gaia provides a fun, social environment that inspires individuality and creativity. With everything from art contests to discussion forums on poetry, politics, celebrities and more, to fully customizable profiles, digital characters and cars, Gaia is a place where teens can create their own space and express their individual style."

Sound familiar? Users, mostly teens, can go there and by chatting or playing collaborative games with each other earn gold to buy virtual clothes for their avatars. And believe me, they work they tail off for some digital image of a shirt or mask or whatever.

Educationally we must ask why they do this and how can we tap into this desire to produce. I had students who did not consider themselves writers who had made hundreds of posts to deck out their avatar.

For more info, here are my students explaining Gaia Online here in Part 1 and Part 2.

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