Have you seen the PostPet program by Sony? Exchanging e-mail raises a virtual pet, and it has many other interesting features. It has given my sons in elementary school more motivation for keyboarding and other information processing functions. Although I'll probably be late, coming from Shikoku, I'll bring my iBook to the Playshop and show you if you like.
I read that slum children in India were given access to online computers in their play area with no explanation at all, yet they quickly became Web-surfers, developing their own vocabulary and so forth. This shows that networked computing is educational and tends to encourage creativity.
My friend Prof. Julia Keefer at New York University recently reported on a media conference at MIT: "I was on a Transforming Teaching panel where I presented my paper 'Cyberperformance as an Acdemic Ritual.' We spent some time discussing online teaching strategies and cultural diversity, at which point I talked about the _Journal of Online Education (JOE)_ and the World Association for Online Education (WAOE)..."
Julia edits the JOE journal, which is affiliated with WAOE. Ask me about it, since I'm the President :)
Julia continues: "Some traditional professors have a hard time adapting to the new media, but MIT itself is the home of the AGELESS MIND, geeks who play forever. It's inspiring the way some of these brilliant programmers can continually create with the imagination of a teenage genius and the methodology of the most meticulous, mature professor. It is time to join the best of traditional academe with cutting edge learning strategies that have been developing for years in cyberspace. Eventually I hope to use JOE as a way of bringing the two worlds together."
See the Journal of Online Education (JOE) at: http://www.nyu.edu/classes/keefer/waoe/waoej.html
Collegially, Steve McCarty Professor, Kagawa Junior College, Japan President, World Association for Online Education (WAOE): http://www.kagawa-jc.ac.jp/~steve_mc/WAOE-founding.html Japanese language home page and online publications page: http://www.kagawa-jc.ac.jp/~steve_mc/ http://www.kagawa-jc.ac.jp/~steve_mc/jpublist.html (an Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library 4-star site)