Chris Dede on Emerging Technologies that Enable Distributed-Learning Communities

NOTE: Dr. Abbey Brown of Cal State Fullerton, which is local to me, and of Walden University, where I am getting my phd, said to me this summer, “if you’re not reading Chris Dede, you’re not reading the right stuff.” I contacted Dr. Dede of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and he was good enough to send me some of his work relevant to my studies. I may be posting on that as part of my annotated bibliography in the coming days. However, for tonight I wanted to attempt another brief article, so here is a piece by David Winograd about a keynote delivered by Chris Dede. Winograd is an assistant professor of Academic Computing and Educational Communications at York College in the City University of New York. Like the previous article, this comes from Tech Trends.

Winograd (2005) recounted Dede’s keynote at the AECT Conference in Chicago. Dede discussed ways in which multi-player video games could provide a context for learning and a framework for collaboration; he “spoke of learning communities that work well because the learning that takes place is immersive and situated” (p. 39). He had previously been interested in the potential of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORGPs), such as Everquest, but spoke in Chicago about Multi-User Virtual Environments Experiential Simulators (MUVEES). Played on handheld devices (which can sometimes interact with the real world via GPS attachments), MUVEES are adventure games which “allow for co-designing and co-instructing using guided constructivism to provide situated learning experiences and assessment beyond tests” (p. 40). Winograd recalled that Dede acknowledged that use of such games would require significant changes in most teachers “assumptions, beliefs, and values about teaching, learning, and schooling” (p. 40). So, while the games may provide support for student learning, educational technologists will need to serve as change agents and provide support for the implementing teachers.


Winograd, D. (2005). Chris Dede on emerging technologies that enable distributed-learning communities. TechTrends. 49 (1) 39-40.