When telephones were a new technology, a phone call with a friend did not count as a real conversation. It was necessary to stop by the house to show the friends they were not being snubbed, ignored or taken for granted. People could not let go of eye contact and shaking hands to legitimize the conversation as sincere. No one would have believed our network of contacts we've never met in person and all the different ways we send messages to each other.
When TV broadcasts of baseball games began to be watched at home, the TV announcers were not considered legitimate. The TV audio was turned down to listen to the game on the radio. People could not let go of the vocal mannerisms of their favorite radio announcers that established credibility, familiarity and reliability in each listeners' minds. No one would have believed our hi-def camera broadcasts, concurrent webcasts, real time online game stats and text message updates sent to cell phones.
When VCR's were new, it was unusual to tape over an previously recorded program. Most everyone was building up their own library of videotapes made off of TV broadcasts. Watching reruns on TV, renting videos or borrowing friends' tapes was not considered to be reliable. People could not let go of keeping a massive personal archive to feel safe about seeing something again. No one would have believed our TIVO's for time-shifting the broadcasts while eliminating commercials and our downloading digitized TV shows & movies onto PC's through broadband connections.
When desktop PC's were new, people continued to buy IBM Selectric typewriters with carbon ribbons, changeable font balls and proportional spacing. The advantages of word processing software did not seem legitimate when sending the document to the printer was a sure ticket to discovering problems with installed drivers, ribbon cartridges, paper feed mechanisms or incompatible formatting protocols. People could not let go of putting each letter on the paper with their personal keystrokes. No one would have believed our blogs with formatted text, side columns with all those widgets, post with embedded videos, photos or links to PDF's, and auto-published RSS feeds.
When 3D environments gained usage in education, people continued to gather in virtual classrooms (as here described by the MSIT SecondLife wiki)
Classroom EmulationThe advantages of creating educational experiences by conforming with brain rules or creating pro-learning ecologies did not seem reliable. People could not let go of making sure everyone got the same information in real time. No one would have believed how classrooms fell into disuse as educational experiences became phenomenally effective, personal and social.
In this use of a 3D learning environment, the idea is to re-create the actual classroom environment within the 3D world. ... The learners sit in the virtual seats, look forward and raise their hands or ask questions as if they were in the same space with the person presenting the instruction. Current, this is by far the most wide ranging use of 3D worlds. The advantage of this delivery is realized when it is compared to 2D Synchronous Learning where you want to get everyone in the same space and looking at the same thing and provide people via distance with a sense of connecting to one another through the visual representation of their avatars.
It's only a matter of time.