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Re: Looking for assoc. wizards

Jason Nolan <> writes:

  Jason> Does the social and collaborative nature of MOOs
  Jason> encourage female students to work with computers? 

My personal observation (based actually on mostly MUSEs rather than
MOOs) is that this "nature of MOOs" definately *DOES* encourage
females to use the computer.  My daughter is almost 14, and she has
been actively using the internet since she was 12.  I run a server on
the net, so we always have internet connectivity in the home, and she
has come to expect this availability about like the telephone and
running water and electricity.

She used to hate computers, saying they were "boring".  (She looked at
her programmer dad staring blankly at the screen and almost falling
asleep over mountains of reference manuals for many hours every day,
and could not understand for the life of her why anyone would want to
do *THAT*.)

But now, and for the last year and a half, she has discovered that
there are actually other *PEOPLE* out there on the net.  She uses
email a lot and has pen pals all over the owrld, but it started with
"Virtual Chicago", a MUSE.  We had just moved to *REAL* Chicago, so VC
had a certian initial interest.  After only a short time, she
discovered that computers were not just boring technological time
wasters, but they were also another way to intereact with other real
flesh and blood people.

When I was in my 20's the CB radio was all the rage in the US.  The
internet and social virtual environments serve much the same purpose
today.  But the CB was like IRC.  IVEs have scenery, and rooms, etc.
It is a much richer place, and the users can usually help construct
the place and make it their own.  My duaghter even has a business in
Virtual Chicago, and a home on "Mars".  The real estate in downtown
[virtual] Chicago was too expensive, and so the suburbs whimsically
expanded to the next planet outward, where the prices were more
affordable!  Her "house" there is decorated in a way that only a
teenager could love :-)

Not only has she met friends around the world, but she has learned
many things about computers from the desire to communicate with these
friends.  She has even learned to program some in the MUSE
interpretive language, in spite of herself.  She insists to me that it
is not really programming, it is "scripting", but I am a professional
programmer of 23 years experience, and I fail to see the difference.

So, yes, the social aspect to MOOs (and other interactive multi-user
virtual environments) do encourage females to use computers.  My
daughter started the summer of 1995 typing in a very slow humt and
peck style, but after only a few weeks of MUSEing, she was running
about 50 wpm, and now she literally flies over the keyboard at a
frightening rate of speed.  All this was without any typing lessons or
requirement to learn to type.  Her sole motivation was to communicate
with others on the net interactively using MUSEs.  MOOs are no
different in this respect.

She has brought many of her girl friends home from school and church
and the neighborhood, and they all love it!  They take to it
instantly, laughing and having a great time.

Now if I could just get my wife interested in the computer...

--------  "And there came a writing to him from Elijah"  [2Ch 21:12]  --------
Robert Jay Brown III  1 847 705-0424
Elijah Laboratories Inc.;  37 South Greenwood Avenue;  Palatine, IL 60067-6328
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