Kung hei fat choi from Second Life

China Grove
China Grove

February 19th, 2015 sees the start of the new year – the Chinese New Year, that is. With it, we say goodbye for now to the horse, and hello to the goat. It’s a time for celebrations, with lanterns, firecrackers, colour, Lions Dances and more; and doubtless, there will be lots of celebrations taking place across the weekend to mark the Festival.

For those wanting to get a feel for China – ancient China in particular –  there are lots of Chinese-themed locations to be found in Second Life. Some associated with role-play, others offered as places to visit and enjoy, some which offer a gateway to shopping in SL, and some which mix Chinese and Japanese elements into a happy blend of the ancient oriental, reflective of their past histories and interactions. Others offer what might seem more curious mixes.

China Grove
China Grove

China Grove, for example, describes itself as offering a beachfront location with private accommodation, jet skis, swimming, and even topless bathing. But above an behind it sits a beautiful Chinese palace. The work of Selene Nirvana, and featuring creations by designers such as Ryu 竜, the palace sits atop a great rocky outcrop rising about the surrounding lands, protected by broad, strong walls and guarded by its very own terracotta army, complete with chariot-riding warlords.

Reached via a small waterfront village sitting in the protective arms of the palace walls and watched over by dragon canon, the place offers a wealth of colour and opportunities to wander through its cobbled terraces and courtyards, and through its great halls. Tai Chi is offered for those wishing to clear their minds, while a dragon atop a tall tower keeps a vigilant watch towards more open waters, his fire perhaps a beacon for ships trying to find their way to the docks below his high perch.

Jomo
Jomo

For another feel of ancient China, one can also visit Jomo, the home of Xiaoduo Abbot’s store, is set amidst a glorious build I wrote about in November 2013. With walls, gardens, places to relax and stages for entertainment, it encourages the visitor not only to shop, but to tarry awhile and explore.

Or, for a different flavour and feel, you can hop over to Aston Leisen’s artful and slightly surreal design called, simply, China, which has been a delight to visitors for several years now, sometimes moving up or down in the sky, but always offering a visual treat and a place were hanging-out and AFKing is welcomed.

China
China

I’m barely scratching the surface of things in mentioning these three; but hopefully they’ll be enough to whet your appetite and get you searching things oriental in your SL explorations this weekend, and perhaps enjoying the New Year celebrations.

And while we’ve already seen Yuandan for this particular New Year, if you are worried about bumping into Nian while you’re out and about, just make sure you’re wearing red and carrying a firecracker or two before you leave home!

Kung hei fat choi!

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VWBPE 2015: of deadlines, calendars and registrations

VWBPE_LogoThe 2015 Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference will take place in Second Life and OpenSim between Wednesday, March 18th and Saturday, March 21st inclusive.

VWBPE is a global grass-roots community event focusing on education in immersive virtual environments which attracts 2200-3500 educational professionals from around the world each year.

The theme for this, the 8th VWBPE conference is Crossroads, and the organisers have released an update to remind people that the first set of crossroads regarding their involvement is approaching, with deadlines drawing near.

Important Dates

VWBPE Exhibition submissions extended – but must close on Friday, February 27th

Exhibition space is available at the main VWBPE venue in Second Life, providing the opportunity for exhibitors to display and promote their products and / or services in 3D. Spaces within the exhibition area are limited, and will be provided on a first come, first serve basis, with priority being given to educators, community organizations, and non-profits.

Please visit the conference Exhibits page for further information.

2015 Thinkerer Award nominations set to close on Sunday, March 1st

Named after its first recipient in 2014, Thinkerer Melville (Selby Evans in the physical world), the Thinkerer Award is presented to an individual whose deeds and actions have shown consistent selfless service towards the promotion of learning, community, and educational practices, and who exemplifies the spirit of cooperative development within immersive environments.

Nominations are currently open for potential recipients of the 2015 award, and those interested in nominating someone are directed to the Thinkerer Award nominations guidelines for further information.

Post-Conference Tours – submissions close on Friday, February 27th

Explorations – the VWBPE post-conference virtual tours – provide an opportunity for  educational leaders to share their visions of education beyond the traditional classroom setting, by offering tours of their virtual environments to their VWBPE peers.  These tours have historically generated the greatest excitement in the spirit of inspiration and sharing, and and promise to do so again, both through them and through the use of social media tools.

Those wishing to present a tour of their virtual environment can find the guidelines and submission requirements for doing so on the VWBPE Explorations page.

The Programme and Calendar

vwbpe-15The conference calendar is now available, and can be seen on-line (use the Go To options to advance to March and the conference, if necessary).

Conference events will commence at 13:00 SLT on Wednesday, March 18th, with the opening keynote address by Ebbe Altberg, entitled Education in Second Life and in the Future. This will see Ebbe share his thoughts on the value Linden Lab places on the education market, some of the compelling educational uses cases he’s seen during his tenure as CEO, and his perspective on how virtual experiences and education will be important to one another in the future.

Following the opening keynote, and throughout the four days of the event, the conference will present a mix of keynote addresses, presentations, talks, discussions and more, covering a broad canvas of education and virtual mediums.

Attendance

Attendance at the conference is free, and the attendee registration page is open. For those who which to support the costs involved in staging VWBPE events in both Second Life and OpenSim, can also opt to register using one of the Crowdfunder options available via the registration page.

Sponsorship

Best Practices in Education are at the forefront of a technically revolution that is creating inspiring innovation in the classroom; a revolution which is adding momentum to the intersection where academic learning meets a student’s willingness to engage in simulations which build moral character, leadership ability, and critical thinking.

Be a part of these exciting trends by helping support a conference for educators who use leading edge tools and techniques in the classroom. The VWBPE conference reaches over 3000 educators from around the world who are advancing these educational techniques.

Donations are used to help create open-sourced, peer-reviewed archives which extend well beyond the 3-4 days of the VWBPE conference, as well as permit teachers and educators to learn how to work with changing technologies in the classroom.

In addition, your brand recognition will expand well beyond a simple 4 day conference given that it will be part of the public record and accessible through the US Library and Archives. You can view past conference proceedings at the Journal of Virtual Studies.

There is no better investment than in educating the future leaders in advanced education, so learn today how to become a sponsor for the 8th Annual Best Practices in Education Conference.

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