Leaving ReactionGrid: Moving Onward and Forward

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As of this week I will be leaving my role as Chief Learning Officer at ReactionGrid.

It’s been a good run. In the past 5 years I’ve become an expert at using Unity to design and deploy multiuser 3D environments for both entertainment and immersive learning. I’ve honed my executive skills in knowledge management and product management, and I’ve learned the ins and outs of powerful distributed collaboration tools like Confluence and Slack. Best of all, I’ve had the opportunity to work with wonderful coworkers and customers.

My immediate focus will be shifting to more fully embrace my current role as Lead Technology Evangelist at Wiggle Planet, a small startup developing a new platform for emotionally-intelligent animated characters that live in the physical world through geolocation-based augmented reality. These characters, called “Wiglets,” incorporate artificial intelligence, virtual physics and genetic inheritance, and are ideal for educational applications, games and staged augmented reality events. I’m extremely excited about the possibilities behind this platform.

I’ll also be keeping an eye out for new career and contracting gigs where I can more broadly apply my skills in community development and knowledge/product management. As one says when one is seeking to expand their horizons, I plan to keep myself open to new opportunities.

If you have any questions about ReactionGrid, please contact their service desk. And if you’d like to chat with me directly, please ping me at john.e.lester@gmail.com or @Pathfinder on Twitter.

Take care,
-John “Pathfinder” Lester

P.S. Keep an eye on this blog if you’re interested. I’ll be ramping up my writing in the coming weeks. 

Just reached a fitness goal – 200 situps

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Just reached one of my fitness goals: 200 consecutive situps  Woot!

I used the program on twohundredsituops.com. Very helpful and motivational.

Next goal: 100 consecutive pushups. ;)

-John “Pathfinder” Lester

 

Changing My Life to Improve My Health

tppThe People’s Pharmacy is a great radio show broadcast nationally on Public Radio, providing health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.  Joe and Terry Graedon are the wonderful folks behind the show, and I’ve been friends with them for many years as I’ve followed their innovative insights into participatory medicine.

I was recently interviewed on their radio show about my own health-related journey over the past year.  In a nutshell, I went from being overweight and always tired to now being stronger than ever and back to wearing clothes that fit me in college.

Me Before, Me After

(left) Me Before, (right) Me After

You can listen to my story on Show 995: Changing Your Life to Improve Your Health.  You can also get the show on iTunes.

Spoiler Alert: My story doesn’t involve any wonder drug or fad diet.  It basically comes down to a lifestyle change involving lots of walking, strength training, not eating crap and eating lots of plants. ;)

Take care,
-John “Pathfinder” Lester

 

Street Art in Montreal

The weather was really nice and sunny this past weekend, so I wandered around the city all day Saturday.  I love the beautiful street art you see all around Montreal.  Here are a few I stumbled upon.

Be sure to click through to the high-resolution versions of pictures.  Amazing detail.

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I’m an editor for the International Journal on Innovations in Online Education. Want to contribute?

screenshot while exploring OpensimI’m working with John Bourne on a new academic journal.

It’s called the International Journal on Innovations in Online Education (IJIOE) and will be published by Begell House.  The Aim and Scope of the Journal is provided below.

The journal will be organized into subtopic areas called “Streams,” with each Stream consisting of a collection of articles published quarterly. The content of each stream will range from short news items to longer in-depth articles and reviews. All published articles will allow for active commentary by readers and all the other stream editors.

Here’s a list of all current Streams:

  • Nursing Innovations
  • Online Laboratories
  • GIS Online Innovations
  • Analytics
  • ePortfolios and Prior Learning
  • Immersive Online Education (my stream)
  • StoryTelling for Online Education
  • Startups in Online Education
  • Industry On-line Education
  • Competency-based Education

I’m on the Advisory Board for the journal, and I’m also the Stream Editor for Immersive Online Education.

My Stream will focus on innovative online learning environments that immerse students perceptually (3d simulations, VR, AR, etc.) as well as provide opportunities for collaborative learning (leveraging multiuser virtual worlds, social media tools, etc.).

I’m currently looking for interested authors who would like to contribute. Your article can be about your own work, a review of interesting developments in the field, or anything innovative you’d like to discuss. Suggestions about others who might want to write articles for the journal would be welcomed.

Please email me directly at john.e.lester@gmail.com if you’re interested or have any questions.

Take care,
-John “Pathfinder” Lester


Aim and Scope of the Journal

The aim of IJIOE is to provide the field of online higher education with quality knowledge about what is going on in important areas of the field, with a specific emphasis on what is new and likely to affect the field. IJIOE has a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) online education, including related fields such as healthcare. IJIOE is the purveyor of “WISDOM” about the field, providing short articles, discussions with author experts and reviews of methods for moving the field forward in selected areas.

The scope of IJIOE includes all of online higher education, but has a loose focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and healthcare. Articles are managed by “stream editors,” experts in specific streams of interests within this scope, including disciplines within the above content areas. From time to time, streams will be started that are thought to influence the major streams.

My Interview on The Drax Files Radio Hour – Second Life and Community Development in Virtual Worlds

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I was recently interviewed by Draxtor on his highly informative and entertaining radio show “The Drax Files Radio Hour.”

Check out the full show and hear me chat about Second Life, Jibe, Unity, WigglePlanet, and the role of community development in multiuser virtual world platforms.

Take care,
-John “Pathfinder” Lester

My old lighthouse in Second Life

old lighthouse home in SLI was meeting some educator friends in Second Life today when I looked across the virtual landscape and saw this nice view of my old lighthouse in the historic neighborhood of Nova Albion.

Amazing to think I’ve owned the parcel for over 10 years (since 2004).  So much has changed in both my life and technology over that time, yet this specific virtual place remains constant and very special to me.

Take care,
-John “Pathfinder” Lester

Magic Leap: Violence…With Love

John "Pathfinder" Lester:

Given all the excitement and hype around Magic Leap these days, I think this article by my friend Jeff is priceless.

Originally posted on Self-Animated Systems:

If you follow news on Augmented Reality, you may have already seen this video by Magic Leap:

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It simulates what you would see if you were looking at your office through augmented reality glasses while killing robots that are trying to attack you. At one point near the end of the video, blood is splattered onto the augmented reality glasses. Man, that sucks: those glasses are probably very expensive.
jw_glassesQuestion: do robots spurt blood when they are shot? Probably not – I guess the blood is coming from the eyeballs of the guy wearing the glasses.

To put it all into perspective, here’s a quote from the company blog, written on Valentine’s Day:

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“What does love have to do with a technology company? Everything. At least for us here at Magic Leap. Our whole company is based on it. It starts with a love for people in general – wanting to bring joy and…

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Vanson Leathers (and the most awesome entrance of any store in the world)

Vanson Leathers is one of my favorite stores.  They make amazing hand crafted leather goods.  If you want a piece of clothing that will last forever and allow you to survive the Zombie Apocalypse in high style, this is where you shop.

I’ve purchased a number of items from them over the years, both for riding and for daily wear, and I had a chance to stop by their store in Fairhaven, Massachusetts this weekend.

The entrance says it all.

vanson main location in fall river

I was wearing my trusty Comet leather jacket, the first thing I ever bought from Vanson, and as soon as I stepped into the place an employee remarked “Oh, an old Comet. Looks good!”

Here’s a pic of me wearing the jacket a few weeks ago.

Not bad looking for a piece of clothing I bought in 1995.

Take care,
– John “Pathfinder” Lester