Feeding time at the Media Zoo
Developed by those clever folk at the University of Leicester’s Beyond Distance Research Alliance (BDRA), the Media Zoo is designed to allow staff the chance to explore the full range of cutting-edge e-learning facilities available, which can then be incorporated, where appropriate, into their teaching. This ranges from straightforward stuff like wikis and blogs to more exotic ‘technological wildlife’ such as eBook readers and 3D virtual worlds.
In fact the BDRA has a bit of an animal theme going which extends to the (sometimes gloriously tortuous) acronyms of its many projects, which include GIRAFFE (Geographical Information Research And Future-Facing Education), CHEETAH (CHange by Embedding E-learning in Teaching Across HEIs) and DUCKLING (Delivering University Curricula: Knowledge, Learning and INnovation Gains).
Currently there is an online version of the Media Zoo and a version in Second Life for your avatar to explore. Now, for those not experienced in navigating a virtual space, the concept has extended into the real world. The actual physical Media Zoo will be officially opened on Friday 16 April by the Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Robert Burgess and Sir Peter Soulsby, MP for Leicester South.*
The Media Zoo is at 103 Princess Road East, the former home of our School of Museum Studies (some of whom apparently wondered whether the building was going to be converted into a nursery when they saw how it was being decorated!). The opening ceremony will run from 1.00pm to 2.00pm with the actual ribbon-snipping at 1.30pm.
After the ceremony, the Media Zoo will throw wide its non-virtual doors for an Open Afternoon. Between 2.00pm and 5.00pm, any interested visitors will have the opportunity to discover what goes on there and try out some of the fancy high-tech stuff for themselves. The building is fully disabled-accessible.
* Pedantry alert: Sir Peter was MP for Leicester South when he accepted the invitation and when this blog entry was posted. However, the pre-election dissolution of Parliament on Monday 12 April means that on Friday he will technically no longer be an MP.