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"High Wired" is a collection of essays designed to integrate all aspects of the use and administration of the virtual educational communities known as MOOs (Multiple-user, Object-Oriented environments). MOOs were originally designed as a space for online social interaction. While MOOs bear a resemblance to the "chat rooms" with which many people are familiar, they differ in several important respects: participants can not only communicate in actual time from great distances, but they can also add to this virtual world by building new rooms and other objects, and writing programs that alter their particular MOO universe in profound ways. LambdaMOO, developed in 1990 by Pavel Curtis at the Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center, quickly became a popular hangout on the Internet, and has run continuously since then, with thousands of players from around the world. Today, MOOs are increasingly recognized for their value as an educational tool. In MOOs teachers and students can meet on line at scheduled times and exchange ideas, even calling up online reference materials as they participate in discussions. Educators are currently exploring the potential of this technology for such applications as online writing centers, electronic classrooms, netbased collaborative environments, and even complete cyberspace campuses.
Teachers, students, and researchers who have long awaited a comprehensive treatment of this powerful technology will welcome the publication of "High Wired: On the Design, Use, and Theory of Educational MOOs." Editors Cynthia Haynes and Jan Rune Holmevik have brought together a diverse group of experts whose contributions help answer questions and dispel myths surrounding MOOs and their use in education. Contributors include John Barber, Jorge R. Barrios, Mark Blanchard, Amy Bruckman, Juli Burk, Brian Clements, Eric Crump, Pavel Curtis, Diane Davis, Jeffrey Galin, Dene Grigar, Cynthia Haynes, Jan Rune Holmevik, Michael Joyce, Beth Kolko, Ken Schweller, Sherry Turkle, Victor J. Vitanza, Shawn P. Wilbur, and Deanna Wilkes-Gibbs.
"High Wired"'s essays are arranged in a practical sequence, beginning with the context and history of MOOs, followed by more technical essays on how to set up and administer a MOO. Subsequent essays discuss applications for the use of MOOs in education, and finally, provide theoretical explorations of the nature of MOO communities. "High Wired" is at once a textbook, a reference book, and a handbook. Teachers, students, and other interested readers will find that it appeals to both practical needs and theoretical concerns.
Cynthia Haynes is Assistant Professor of Literary Studies and Director of Rhetoric and Writing, University of Texas at Dallas.
Jan Rune Holmevik is Assistant Professor, Department of Humanistic Informatics, University of Bergen, Norway. In 1995, they cofounded Lingua MOO, a text-based virtual space where writing classes are held on the University of Texas at Dallas's computer network.
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