I cannot believe that up until a month ago I only thought of Google as a search engine for information and images, oh how wrong I was.
Recently I set up a Google account and am constantly using Google reader to share documents. I have discovered how to personalise an avatar (virtual self) and interact with others through text chats or animations. Users can also able to embed their own photos or video intheir virtual rooms. These can then be embedded onto a blog or website, it is also going to be a facebook application.
These would be a great for communication and for collaborating on group work. Students would be engaged with the animations, the videos, links to blogs and websites. Technology can be a place where students could work asynchronous (accessing information by themselves) as well as been able to work and interact with others, synchronous learning, through the use of technology to communicate.
It's easy to understand why the digital generation prefer avatars. They're alot better to look at than most of my teachers and they make complex things seem simple, visually and auditory. It's interesting to note that the style of the avatar with its big eyes and head is drawn in, is from the Japanese drawing style, Manga. Which all the younger generations cartoons are based on. Maybe if this technology was around 20 years ago the avatars might be more like Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse?
This application will take over where Google Lively, WeeWorld, IMVU, Habbo and others left off. With the power of google behind it, the user will automatically be linked by their RSS feeds. Its a lot of fun and the best thing is that it's free.