MariMUSE Interview

The following interview was conducted in a virtual studio at the MediaMOO site at MIT in August, 1994 (or '93). The interviewer, Pei, is David Warlick, currently a consultant in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Interviewees are the teachers, administrators, and volunteers for the first "Camp MariMUSE," a summer experience for academically at-risk students in cyberspace.

The Interview was captured with a virtual video camera which recorded all of the dialog and gestures. The tape was then played back on Pei's TV and VCR. A wonderful event follows.

[on Pei's TV]      ***********************************
[on Pei's TV]      **   C a m p   M a r i M U S E   **
[on Pei's TV]      **  An Interview with the staff  **
[on Pei's TV]      **      of the first virtual     **
[on Pei's TV]      **         Computer Camp         **
[on Pei's TV]      ***********************************
[on Pei's TV]      
[on Pei's TV]      . . . the camera pans left to right over 
                 Pei's Studio
[on Pei's TV]  A cozy corner with two comfortable sofas 
               aranged for conversation in front of a large  
               picture of a schoolhouse. Curiously, the  
               walls of the schoolhouse appear to be  
               transparent. There is a copy of Tuesday's  
               *New York Times* on an end table.
[on Pei's TV]  Lila smiles at the camera
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "I'm here with a few friends today  
               to talk about a project that they have been  
               involved in this summer, Camp MariMUSE.  I  
               call them friends although I have never met  
               them face-to-face, and don't even know the  
               sounds of their voices.  Yet I have  
               profoundly enjoyed their companionship by  
               interacting not only with their words, but  
               with their imaginations, and -- most  
               importantly to this interview -- with their  
[on Pei's TV]  Pei turns to the rest of the group.
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "Hi, Pei"
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon  looks toward Pei, pleased to be  
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Why don't we start with my guests  
               introducing them selves."
[on Pei's TV]  Woody waves to TV land
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K giggles
[on Pei's TV]  Lila says, ""I am Lila on the MariMuse, a  
               volunteer for the project.  I am a student  
               at Phoenix college, a returning student"
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon says, "I am Billie Hughes aka Avalon  
               on MariMUSE.  I worked with the team that  
               first brought Muse to Phoenix College."
[on Pei's TV]  Pei senses that another member of the  
               MariMUSE team is looking for them and  
               disappears suddenly for parts unknown.
[on Pei's TV]  Lila waits for Pei to return
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "I am Miss-K on the Muse, and  
               Susan Oram in RL (Real life) -- the school  
               librarian at Longview Elementary School. "
[on Pei's TV]  Pei has arrived.
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad materializes out of thin air.
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Hi Wlad!"
[on Pei's TV]  Woody says, "I am Rod Brashear, Woody on  
               Marimuse.  I am a student at Arizona State  
               Universtiy-West and also work for the  
               Arizona Department of Education.  I  
               volunteered to be involved with the Longview  
[on Pei's TV]  Lila waves to Wlad, and thinks she has seen  
               him before ;)"
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "Hi, Wlad"
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Wlad, would you introduce  
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "Hi, and I am Jim Walters.  I  
               work at Pheonix College and am intensely  
               interested in this medium."
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Is that everyone?"
[on Pei's TV]  Lila thinks that is all for the moment,  
               Platoon will join us later"
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "Thanks"
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon turns toward Pei,anticipating a  
[on Pei's TV]  Pei reads from his clipboard, then faces  
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Avalon, would you begin by  
               explaining how Camp MariMUSE came to be?"
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon says, "Wlad and I were in the library  
               one day when the Dean walked in.  We were  
               excited about what Muse was doing for our  
               college students.  She suggested we do a  
               summer camp for kids."
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon says, "We jumped at the chance and  
               the rest is history."
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "Avalon had heard a rumor that  
               Joanne, the principal at Longview, might be  
               supportive of a technology linked proposal.   
               So we set out to meet with her."
[on Pei's TV]  Pei turns to Wlad.
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Wlad, what exactly went into  
               setting up a virtual environment?"
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon looks at Wlad, fully awary of all of  
               the work that involved.
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "First we explored virtual worlds   
               in MicroMUSE at MIT."
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "Then we brought in the code and  
               began to build from the basic one room MUSE.  
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K can hardly believe it all began in  
               one room."
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon adds that Greg Swan, a colleague at  
               Mesa Community College helped us compile the  
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "IT involves building the  
               community as well as structuring how to  
               develop the database. - What metaphor will  
               be followed, and a lot of things up front."
[on Pei's TV]  Woody says, "wlad and Av planted a seed and  
               didn't realize how big the tree would be.
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon grins knowing the Woody is right.  We  
               had no idea how big and wonderful this would  
[on Pei's TV]  Lila says, "...and still growing!"
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "it's rather like falling into  
               the rabbit's hole with Alice."
[on Pei's TV]  Pei grins with understanding
[on Pei's TV]  Lila laughs at the rabbit hole analogy
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "So it began as an environment for  
               college student?"
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon nods about it beginning as an  
               environment for college students.
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "We did try to start with the  
               basis that it could accommidate learners of  
               all ages."
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "But college students were the  
               group we began with because that was the  
               group we had access to."
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Was the MUSE part of a particular  
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon says, "We tried it first with our own  
               students, but always dreamed of a huge one  
               room school for learners of all ages."
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "The dream is starting to come  
               true, isn't it?"
[on Pei's TV]  Lila nods agreement
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "We took some risks in bringing   
               in some of our own students, then to try to   
               offer a class entirely in this environment."
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon nods in agreement with Wlad.
[on Pei's TV]  Pei looks at his watch.
[on Pei's TV]  Pei turns to Miss-K.
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Miss-K,  Could you describe some   
               of the landmarks of MariMUSE that your   
               campers saws when they first entered the   
[on Pei's TV]  Woody notices sweat on the brow of Miss-k.
[on Pei's TV]  Lila hands Miss-K a tissue
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K smiles sickly!
[on Pei's TV]  Pei reaches over and touches Miss-K's hand!
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "Well, we went to Lady   
               Starlight's castle first. "
[on Pei's TV]  Pei 's eyes widen with excitment.
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "We also visited some of the   
               places the first group of campers had   
               created.  Also, Some of the campers spent   
               quite a lot of time in an amusement park."
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "A couple of the volunteers had   
               created a space station that was the initial   
               home of all the Longview campers."
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Tell me about the students who   
               participated in Camp MariMUSE?"
[on Pei's TV]  Woody says, "Do you want a feel for what   
               they were like in RL, when they entered the   
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Yes!"
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon sits back listening to those who were   
               with the children the most to talk.
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "Well, it was quite a mixed   
               group of children.  Our school is very   
               multi-ethnic and those groups were   
               represented at the camp."
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon looks at Miss-K remembering just how   
               diverse the group really was.
[on Pei's TV]  Lila remembers being surprised at the young   
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "The kids were all going into   
               the fourth, fifth or sixth grade."
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "The children who attended were   
               children who were definitely at-risk for   
               failure in school either because of their   
               back grounds or skills.  They were chosen by   
               the teachers at Longview on the basis of who   
               we thought might benefit the most. "
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "The first day of camp was an   
               exciting day.  Students had heard exciting   
               rumors and were very eager, with a bit of   
               confusion and trepidation, to come to a   
               college and work with the MUSE."
[on Pei's TV]  Platoon materializes out of thin air.
[on Pei's TV]  Platoon says, "HI Pei, sorry I interrupted"
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Platoon, my man! gime five!"
[on Pei's TV]  Platoon ^5's Pei
[on Pei's TV]  Platoon sits back and listens
[on Pei's TV]  Woody says, "The first couple of days the   
               children were very quite and shy.  After the   
               comfort level was attained the kids were   
               conversing in the muse and RL with real   
               excitement and interest"
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "They seemed very young, and shy   
               and seemed to be wondering why they were   
               here, but then they got started began having   
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K nods.
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "How did the students first   
               approach the text-based virtual environment?    
               What was their early reaction?"
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "On the first day, I heard   
               whispers of, "This is dumb."  By the end of   
               the first session, all the campers agreed it   
               was about the coolest thing they had ever   
[on Pei's TV]  Lila recalls the excitement of the children   
               when they left for the bus, how anxious they   
               were to come back the secondday."
[on Pei's TV]  Lila recalls how quickly the children became   
               conscious of correct spelling"
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "How was their keyboarding?"
[on Pei's TV]  Lila "That varied but was as a whole not   
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "It was very slow at first.    
               But they were extremely motivated to learn   
               keyboarding and worked very hard at it."
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "Some had some familiarity with   
               the keyboard, but others were one finger   
               typers at first."
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "Some students had had a   
               keyboarding class but only became interested   
               once we began the camp."
[on Pei's TV]  Lila says, "By the end of the camp, great   
               progress in keyboarding had been made."
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "I had worried that the ones who   
               couldn't keyboard might become discouraged   
               and quit, but they just hung in and their   
               skills kept improving."
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "Even this morning some kids   
               were asking about getting back on the system   
               so they wouldn't lose their keyboarding   
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Those of you who were volunteers,   
               how did you assist the campers and what sort   
               of impact did this experience have on you   
[on Pei's TV]  Platoon says, "My best the very best   
               experience I had was when I started paging   
               some of the campers and ask them if they   
               need help...and they responded where are   
               you...and i said that I am kinda far away   
               from you...they couldn't imagine that "
[on Pei's TV]  Lady Starlight materializes out of thin air.
[on Pei's TV]  Platoon says, "I thought that was so cool to   
               have to convince them that I am about 20   
               miles away from them"
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "She was having difficulty with   
               him being in the scame virtual room with   
[on Pei's TV]  Lila says, "To build on Platoon's comments,   
               one child initially refused to believe a   
               volunteer was really in California."
[on Pei's TV]  Pei smiles
[on Pei's TV]  Lady Starlight says, "And another looked for   
               a volunteer in the disk drive."
[on Pei's TV]  Pei laughs and laughs and laughs
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad ecalls one student looking in the disk   
               drive slot trying to see Angus."
[on Pei's TV]  Lila laughs at the rememberence
[on Pei's TV]  Platoon says, " I think those kids had a   
               life time experience in that camp that they   
               will never forget"
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "This program was enormously   
               motivating to me as a teacher. " 
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "What, exactly,   
               did the MariMUSE campers do on a daily   
[on Pei's TV]  Woody pulls out his muse curriculum daily   
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "every day the students were   
               asked to complete a journal entry.  They   
               also wrote at least one article per week for   
               the newsletter.  They were also responsible   
               for doing some creating in the MUSE."
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad recalls some of the homework and how   
               serious the students were about getting   
               together their descriptions and setting   
               their character names.
[on Pei's TV]  Azure_Guest says, "What amazed me was that   
               they were so unwilling to leave for break."
[on Pei's TV]  Woody adds that they felt three hours was   
               too short of a day on the muse.
[on Pei's TV]  Lila says, "Do you remember how Ginji would   
               go home, make her sister help her research   
               so the cave could be exactly what she   
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "At the end of the first week,   
               the students were wanting to come in over   
               the weekend, knowing they could get someone   
               to bring them here."
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "Yes, Ginji is especially eager   
               to get started again.  She asks every day."
[on Pei's TV]  Woody snickers happily at the Ginji comment.
[on Pei's TV]  Lady Starlight says, "They were all very   
               proud of their work."
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "Ginji wears her Phoenix   
               College t-shirt often."
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon says, "Above all, we learned that   
               this medium was exciting to students, it   
               captivated them despite its text-base.  And,   
               they could handle the coding.  They were   
               reading and writing for 3 hours a day,   
               thinking and problem solving, and loving   
[on Pei's TV]  Woody says, "It taped the intrinsic   
               motivation of all the persons connected to   
               the program.  Students Teachers, and   
[on Pei's TV]  Pei nods
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Have the kids come back to school   
               yet?  If so, what are they saying about the   
               MUSE now?"
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "Everyday I am asked, WHEN can   
               I come back on line?"
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "The children are eager to get   
               back on-line and are stating that they have   
               projects to work on, and they really want to   
               check their mail."
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "I called all the MUSE kids   
               into the library this morning and they were   
               all talking at once.  They did not want to   
               leave to go back to class."
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon says, "We believe we are just seeing   
               the tip of the iceberg.  We believe we are   
               on the wave of the future.  This medium is a   
               window to a new way of learning."
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K agrees heartily with Av.
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon looks at Miss-K remembering the child   
               who said, You don't think I am stupid, do   
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "The kids are so proud of the   
               NY Times article.  They all want copies of   
[on Pei's TV]  Woody says, "We assisted the campers on an   
               entusiastic, caring, proactive level.  And   
               because we were projecting such a   
               personality the children emulated this   
               eagerness  to their classmates in the muse."
[on Pei's TV]  Pei nods in understanding
[on Pei's TV]  Lady Starlight pats Woody on the head. 
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "How did the parents react to Camp   
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "We had an enormous turn out on   
               the parent day.  We were amazed.  The   
               parents are especially proud of their   
               children.  I think it raises their self-  
               esteem too."
[on Pei's TV]  Lila says, "Many parents had to take off   
               work, with no pay, to attend any function to   
               which they were invited.  Such as   
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "Some even rode over on the   
               school bus to be here."
[on Pei's TV]  Woody says, "When the parents first met with   
               us, PC volunteers and Wlad, There was a very   
               small turn out.  After the camp was over   
               there was almost 100 percent parent   
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "I loved watching Wlad   
               interacting with the little brothers and   
               sisters on graduation day."
[on Pei's TV]  Lila says, "Running Wind's parents went to   
               great lengths to attend graduation, were/are   
               VERY proud of him and his accomplishments."
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "And parents who had never heard   
               their children talk about what they were   
               doing at school were getting rave reviews   
               and daily updates on the camp activities."
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon says, "We had the superintendent who   
               was amazed at the children's creativity and   
               the amount of writing they did.  We also had   
               state representatives who felt the   
               excitement.  And we had parents who knew   
               their kids were really excited about   
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "On graduation day, it really   
               felt like one big family celebration."
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad laughs remembering how he tryed to help   
               Running wind while entertaining two of his   
               younger relatives.
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon says, "Remember, this was only a 3   
               week camp.  All of this happened in 3 short   
[on Pei's TV]  Lila shakes her head, and says, "Hard to   
               believe we did all that in 3 weeks."
[on Pei's TV]  Pei 's heart is full!
[on Pei's TV]  Woody says, "3 weeks that were like three   
               hours.  Time flew."
[on Pei's TV]  Woody throws time out the door.
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Were there any real surprises?"
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "It seemed like a magical   
[on Pei's TV]  Lady Starlight nods.
[on Pei's TV]  Lila says, "I was very impressed with the   
               increase in global awareness."
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "I was blown away by the   
               research that the students initiated!"
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon says, "One of the other teachers   
               committed this week about how important it   
               was for these kids to see the volunteers   
               from the college working at jobs,   
               volunteering, and going to school.  It   
               helped them see they could go to college   
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "But it was also like a whole   
               other lifetime for some of the kids.  a   
               magical time with fantacy, adventure,   
               approval and a feeling of being peers with   
               college folks and other adults."
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon smiles, very happy that all of this   
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "It was a time of being   
               completely accepted."
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon grins at Miss-K.
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon says, "They felt accepted for who   
               they were, with no strings attached."
[on Pei's TV]  Lila nods in agreement
[on Pei's TV]  Platoon  says, "it was a time of beeing   
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K says, "Actually, I still get misty   
               eyed about it. "
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon hands an embroried hankie to Miss-K.
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K giggles
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "What plans do you have for the   
               future of MariMUSE?"
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon has been assigned to work on grant   
               writing and assessment so we can continue   
               and can learn as we procede into the future.    
               This is a major commitment from the college   
               to a very important project.
[on Pei's TV]  Woody boogies about the future.
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "By the 15th of September, we   
               should have 12 terminals installed at   
               Longview for the students to use.  There   
               will be a 9600 baud modem line to the   
               college.  We know that the equipment will   
               work with that speed.  We want something   
               that will work right away, so that we can   
               get the kids back on-line."
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K squeals in delight
[on Pei's TV]  Pei applauds
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K will never get anything done once   
               those terminals are in!
[on Pei's TV]  Pei rolls over laughing
[on Pei's TV]  Lila laughs and thinks about Miss K darting   
               about from terminal to terminal
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon grins and grins and grins with   
               excitement about the future.
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K wrings her hands thinking of so much   
               to do and so little time.
[on Pei's TV]  Avalon says, "We have very strong support   
               from the Longview, Phoenix College and the   
               district offices to continue and build on   
[on Pei's TV]  Wlad says, "Osborn School District is also   
               thrilled about this project."
[on Pei's TV]  Pei looks at his watch and turns back to the   
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Viewers...I am speechless!"
[on Pei's TV]  Miss-K smiles
[on Pei's TV]  Pei says, "Except to say that I am deeply   
               moved by these people and what they have   
               accomplished this summer.  It is impossible   
               to know all the consequences of how they and   
               the experiences they have provided have   
               touched the lives of a handful of children   
               this summer.  Or how the technologies and   
               techniques they are pioneering will effect   
               lives in the future.  But my bet is that it   
               is enourmous."
[on Pei's TV]  From MediaMOO, this is Pei saying "good