What happens when Google kills your student project: The death of Google Lively

In my opinion, Google shutting down Lively on the heels of a major price increase over at Second Life, is a major mistake.  My students LOVE lively with Digiteen and I was just about to come out with a major recommendation on HOW to use this great tool for educators.  On their wiki, students are beginning to describe and share their work.  What are our alternatives?

We need ways to download these rooms!  My students have done amazing work!! This is really horrible — I'm waiting for the “backlash” from my students as I just sent the email out this morning.  Just wait, we're going to talk about how to act in ways that Google MIGHT listen — I'll keep you tuned.

I think when my students read their email this morning, I'll hear them shout all the way to Illinois!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Justin K. Reeve November 20, 2008 - 10:24 pm

You always take a risk when using someone else’s site, and it’s unfortunate that Google is doing this. The difference between Lively and Google Docs, however, is that you can actually get some form of exportable content out of Google Docs, so that if worst comes to worst, you CAN get a “backup” of your work. Lively provides no such means, as far as I’m aware. The fact they encourage everyone to just take screenshots of their Lively rooms indicates they may not be so willing to negotiate. Does Second Life provide export options?

I tend to favor solutions that let you set up these types of sites on your own server, but I realize that doesn’t always give you the “latest and greatest.” And since it seems pretty clear that collaborative document authoring is an increasing invaluable skill after our K-12 students graduate, it’s all the more important to make sure we have stable systems we can rely on. Right now, the big players are Google Docs, Zoho, and MS Office Live (they’re trying, anyway). What will the situation be in 5 or 10 years, though? I wouldn’t be surprised if Google releases some sort of appliance that lets you install your own collaborative document authoring system.

evelyn December 2, 2008 - 5:41 am

I think that it’s very important to teach our students how to be responsible when using a computer. Also, as teachers, we mus be careful when developing the questions for the research or project we want our students to use somehow that it won’t be so easy for students to copy from a site.

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