According to its website, "Edusim is a 3D multi-user virtual world platform and authoring toolkit intended for your classroom interactive whiteboard," (Eduism.com). Now if you are anything like me, you would have read that and had pretty much no idea what it does. However after watching this video, I was actually quite impressed about what this tool can do in the classroom. This tool basically turns your entire whiteboard into a tablet device, meaning that students can draw pictures, point out items, and navigate through virtual landscapes, just by pointing at items on the whiteboard. The site also advertises that teachers could use the tool to take its students on a virtual field trip. As a history teacher, I could see using this tool to take my history class to Gettysburg, and navigating the landscape to actually show where Chamberlin made his stand, without leaving the classroom. This other video shows how a science teacher could use it to teach anatomy. Really cool stuff.
Question 1: Would I use this in my classroom?
A: Maybe. I would have to check it out a bit more. The examples on youtube look pretty interesting, but I have a feeling that it still may be fairly limited on what it can do , and you probably have to depend on the interfaces that are already produced, which may not be that extensive. This technology is still probably a few years away from being revolutionary.
Question 2: Do tools like this help narrow the digital divide?
A: Again, not really sure. What is good about this program is that it is primarily used in the classroom as a learning tool, meaning that it is not dependent on students having access to the internet or even a computer at home. However, it is dependent on the teacher or the school having access to this technology, and the website does not make it clear about what exactly you would need to run this program, and how much it would cost. It is possible that the equipment needed to run the program is expensive, and only wealthier schools could afford it. The website should do a better job of explaining exactly how it works, and what is needed to run it.