Friday, June 10, 2011

The Relentless Mission of Bryan Carter

Bryan Carter discussing Second Life & Virtual Harlem with his avatar awaiting instruction.
Like last year, Bryan Carter, a professor of literature at the University of Central Missouri, traveled to the AALCI to spread the gospel--the gospel of getting more of us to make technological devices and digital humanities more central to the work that we do.

In the weeks leading up to his presentation, Professor Carter wanted to gain a little more information about our Institute Fellows. He wanted to know their majors, yes, and how their academic and professional interests related to our program goals. But most importantly, he wanted to know how many of our participants had "smart phones" and "semi-smart phones."

He was already solidifying some ideas related to the use of smart phones in the study of literature and composition, and if enough of our group had up-to-date devices, he was ready and willing to share. And share he did.

Over the course of a few hours, Professor Carter exposed us to dozens of new, cutting edge digital devices and practices. He made us aware of the best and safest storage devices, useful and free software, all kinds of digital tools, and hints about what next big things to expect on the internet and in the world of electronic devices.

And then, there was Second Life.

Since I had previous experience witnessing the reaction to Professor Carter's demonstration on the 3D virtual world Second Life, I knew that it would be a good idea to have that portion of his presentation done after everything else. Once he starts on Second Life, all bets are off. When Professor Carter leads folks onto the "islands" of Virtual Harlem, everyone becomes, as Joycelyn Moody noted, "mesmerized."

Our group spent nearly two hours in Virtual Harlem and Virtual Montmartre, a 3D replica of the famous area in Paris. It was a fun and deeply informing and engaging experience. Just another day's work for Bryan Carter in his relentless mission of spreading the gospel.


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