TAPPED IN is an unusual on-line environment. It's a MOO
- a tangled bit of acronym obscurity which refers to the fact that it
provides multiple users with the ability for each to establish an
identity, a "virtual" space, and the ability to interact in a
variety of ways with other members. Hence TAPPED IN provides more than
simple on-line forums or email discussions, though it is that too. The
services are completely free - they require registration with the
making that a non-issue. The members cover the entire gamut of education,
and are truly international in scope. The original focus was social
studies, but no such strict subject allegiance exists now.
Included in the services are the possibility of live
"chats" with well-known or heavily-involved names on a variety
of subjects. TAPPED IN regularly posts these events in other discussion
forums, and maintains their own email distribution list for notices. Many
are archived, and available for review. Of course, the environment is
available for teachers and other interested persons to establish and
monitor their own chats or other interactivity - for classroom use, or
simply as a way of connecting with like-minded individuals.
TAPPED IN is financed by SRI
(originally Stanford Research Institute, now a separate non-profit), The National
Science Foundation, and Sun
Microsystems (who provided the computer which runs the system). Be
sure to visit and poke around!
That's nice. What's a MUD?
- Multiple User Dialogue. Weeeell, sorta. A
co-designer of the first MUD was Richard Bartle, who offers this
caveat: "...The 'D' [actually] stands for 'Dungeon', but
not because the original MUD...had a dungeon in it;
rather...there was a hacked-up version of Zork doing the rounds
at the time, which bore the name 'Dungeon'. We thought that this
program would act as the archetype..." (See this
FAQ for more.)
Where did all this come from?
- As is true of many of the advances in general
computing, MUDs were first used for games. On-line gaming
provides for user identification, interactivity, and graphic
representation, three very useful general characteristics of
One last question: What's "Object
- Objects are such only in the virtual sense. The
term comes from computer programming, where "objects"
are passed between program and user, and between users. Objects
can be data, they can be the results of a query (the
"answer" to a "question" asked by a
computer), or even a query itself. The results are an
environment which is much more efficient in managing
|Submitted by Joy