State of Play Academy and Makena Technologies Announce New Semester for
Innovative Virtual Law Conversations in There.com
State of Play Academy and Makena Technologies Announce New Semester for Innovative Virtual Law Conversations in There.co
New York Law School and Makena Technologies, today announced the new spring curriculum from The State of Play Academy (SOPA), the next in a series of highly successful classes, or “conversations”, taught by SOPA that invite the general public to learn about, participate in and discuss cutting-edge technologies and their effect on the law.
"Based on last fall’s successful launch of The State of Play Academy, this next semester will be even more agile and have more breadth,” said Lauren Gelman, Dean of The State of Play Academy and Associate Director of the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford Law School.
“We learned last semester that our classes are better described as conversations, because each hour was packed with extremely interesting and lively discussions among the participants. This semester we plan to continue developing innovative ways to use the University of There to teach. For example, this semester we have a much more international line-up with conversations led by participants from Germany, Hungary and Columbia.”
The spring semester, which starts April 23 and runs until June 8, will consist of three tracks of conversations: (1) Paper Workshops: presentation by scholars of papers related to law and technology; (2) Issue Conversations: group discussions of current events and emerging issues in law and technology, and (3) How-to's: practical advice on all sorts of issues that confront ordinary Internet users.
Participants of SOPA’s free online curriculum attend the classroom conversations using avatars – human-like characters developed by Makena Technologies that feature voice and text chat capabilities as well as nearly 100 different real-time emotional and body language expressions. "The State of Play Academy courses encouraged us to think beyond boundaries in what virtual worlds technology can achieve for learning communities," said Michael Wilson, CEO of Makena Technologies. "As a laboratory for determining how to use virtual worlds to expand upon our social and intellectual interactions, the University of There is providing not only a platform for enhancing our daily lives, but increasing the community aspect of intellectual environments—all of the classes are developed upon these principles.”
SOPA project managers are using the University of There platform both to investigate the value of virtual world learning in legal education and as a broader test of the potential for other kinds of distance learning classes. The University of There and SOPA help overcome traditional distance learning problems by bridging the gap of immediacy between instructor and student, providing a greater impact to the educational experience, particularly due to the ability to communicate with visuals, voice and text. The conversations are listed at www.StateofPlayAcademy.com and this semester will include papers on copyright, privacy and the Fourth Amendment, discussions about the YouTube, Viacom litigation and location tracking and the law, and dos and don’ts for creating your own Election 2008 Internet advertisement.
About The State of Play Academy
The State of Play Academy (http://www.stateofplayacademy.com) is the first law and technology academy built in a virtual world. Its purpose is to challenge the traditional means of imparting a legal education—in time, place and manner-- by experimenting with opportunities offered by the virtual space. It is funded by a grant awarded to New York Law School by There.com.
About Makena Technologies, Inc.
Makena Technologies is the parent company of There.com, a fully interactive, 3D online virtual world where members can customize and create their own 3D character, meet and hang out with friends in real-time using voice and text chat, build their own virtual homes, participate in events ranging from car races to paintball to fashion shows and even create and sell their own virtual items. There.com is a safe and exciting “PG-13” environment for ages 13 and up that has something to offer nearly anyone. Makena Technologies has offices in San Mateo, CA and Laguna Beach, CA. For more information, visit http://www.there.com.
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