As a part of the run-up to its 10th anniversary, Virtual World Best Practices in Education has announced the VWBPE Virtual Science Fair, and is inviting educators, schools, colleges and universities to participate.
The event will form a new element in the annual VWBPE annual conference, which in 2017 will take place between Tuesday, March 28th through Saturday, April 1st inclusive. It was announced via a VWBPE blog post on June 21st, which also gives a definition of “science” for the purposes of the fair:
In this instance, the term “science” encompasses a body of knowledge, whose systems, concepts, or major paradigms can then be demonstrated, experimented, and/or designed through the lens of any number of social, behavioural, and natural sciences as disciplines.
Those wishing to participate are invited to submit proposals which may include, but are not limited, to:
Science and Mathematics (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Mathematics)
Social Sciences (Education, History, Anthropology, Economics)
Behavioural Sciences (Psychology, Sociology)
Fine Arts (Languages, Art, Music, Theatre)
Submissions can be made in one of three categories:
Submitting as a group for an entire class (Grades 9-12) or
Submitting as a group for an entire class (University/Continuing Education), or
Submitting as an individual teacher.
Each option his is own Requirements for Proposal Submissions, which applicants are asked to review, and each of which includes a link to the relevant proposal submissions form. The deadline for the receipt of all submissions is Friday, July 15th, 2016.
Meet the Lindens is a series of conversations / Q&A session with staff from Linden Lab, held as a part of the SL Birthday celebrations in-world. These present opportunities for Second Life users to get to know something about the staff at the Lab: who they are, what they do, what drew them to Second Life and the company, what they do, what they find interesting / inspirational about the platform, and so on.
Thursday, June 23rd saw Xiola and Pete Linden sit down with Kess Crystal and Saffia Widdershins, and this article hopefully presents some “selected highlights” of the chat, complete with audio extracts from the event. The video of the discussion is embedded at the end of this article.
About Xiola and Pete
Xiola Linden is the Lead Community Manager at Linden Lab. she originally came to Second Life in 2006, and joined the Lab in 2011. Her role is broad-ranging, including elements of customer supporter, through blogging and social media output for the Lab, to organising events such as the in-world get-togethers and the likes of the SL13B music fest. She leads a team “100% focused” on supporting and serving the communities of Second Life, and who may be travelling in-world as Linden or equally, using her alt for that ground-level “resident eye” look at things.
During her time in Second Life, Xiola has enjoyed many roles: DJ, designer, shopaholic, music event lover – and outside of her official account still finds time for many of these activities.
Pete Linden is the Lab’s Senior Director of Global Communications, a role which sees him leading the company’s PR work and managing the Marketing team, covering all of the Lab’s activities and products – Second Life, Blocksworld and Project Sansar.
He joined Linden Lab in 2009 from a PR firm which representing the company, and became a PR specialist and then PR Manager, before moving to manage the PR and communications team and thence to his current role, which includes overall management of all of the Lab’s communications activities – PR, marketing, communications and community management.
What were your first impressions on joining the Lab? Was it what you were expecting?
Pete: For me it was, but part of that was because I’d had the good fortune of working with a number of people quite closely at Linden Lab for about three years before I made the move. I was working pretty closely with Catherine Linden Melissa Linden and some others at that time. So, I had a pretty good sense of what the company was like, how things worked here.
And obviously, that’s changed over the past number of years; Linden, like Second Life has been through quite an evolution. But it’s still the most exciting and most fun job that I’ve ever had. It’s a great place to be.
Xiola: It’s interesting because I had actually been watching the careers page at Linden Lab for quite a while, waiting for the right opportunity to arise. The timing ended up being perfect and it worked-out really well.
So that aside, I think – it’s a tough question, because like Pete mentioned, the people here are some of like the coolest, smartest people you’ll ever meet. So every day there’s something surprising. It’s kind of how I feel about the Second Life community, which sort-of makes sense, that the people working here, working on Second Life, have similarities with our community as well, because they are the community as well.
But there’s always some things that surprises me about people, and it’s almost, I would say, 99.9% of the time delightful. And so in that regard, I really didn’t know what to expect coming here, and I enjoyed that, actually. I was excited about something new and different, even though I had been a resident and understood the product from a resident’s perspective. My background had been more in straight Internet, web and e-commerce sites, and that sort of thing.
So I came here, and it was almost like, “These are my people! This is my tribe!” And it’s continued to be that way over the years, it’s very cool. But the people I have as friends before and after Linden Lab have that similarity. I really appreciate when people surprise me; and I definitely get that every day here.
I think Oz was talking about not going a week without the residents surprising him with something; that really is a common theme, I think, internally as well as externally. It’s really cool. You definitely have to be on your toes, but it’s fun!
Do you still use your other avatar?
Xiola: Every day, actually. Well, lately because of all the Second Life 13th Birthday coordination stuff, I’ve definitely been spending more time on Xiola, even “after hours”, even though no such thing really exists. So, my alt has been a little bit neglected. But I still actually log her in every day, if only to check notices and note cards, as my alt is a creator and I want to make sure I stay on top of that stuff as well. I would hate to go a few days and come back to note cards from customers or something like that, wondering, “what the heck?”
So I spend time on my alt every day. and between her and Xiola, spend a lot of Lindens updating our avatars all the time!
I guess from a marketing and community point of view though, having the alt allows you to do a certain amount of mystery shopping and see how people are engaged in the community. Do you get a lot of feedback on the alt?
Xiola: I do. So, I mean obviously it not like I go around interviewing people or asking when I’m on my alt, that would be a little obvious. But I hang out in places, and people will be having conversations about things, and you definitely get a different perspective when folks don’t know there’s a Linden present. And I try to treat it that way; I mean when I’m doing alt things, I respect the alt code, I’m a resident right now, not a Linden! So there’s definitely some interesting things.
And even some of the outside Second Life stuff, some of the communities that exist on Plurk and Facebook; they definitely have a different perspective. But funnily enough, it’s sort-of like they say, two different parties can have the same goal, but they’re just using different words for it; at the end of the day, I think at the end of the day, a lot of it aligns. And maybe it’s just coming from a different perspective, the feedback I hear externally and the feedback I hear in here, I think a lot of it actually lines up really well. So that’s kind of kismet and kind of cool.
It’s time to kick-off a week of story-telling in voice, brought to our virtual lives by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s Second Life home at Bradley University, unless otherwise indicated.
Sunday, June 26th 13:30: Tea Time with The Jungle Book
Bryn Taleweaver presents selections from Rudyard Kipling’s great adventure.
Monday June 27th, 19:00: The Mouse of Amherst: A Tale of Young Readers
Faerie Maven-Pralou reads Elizabeth Spires’ inspired young readers introduction to the works of Emily Dickenson, regarded as one of America’s most prolific and significant poets of the 19th Century, albeit recognition gained posthumously, as she was also very private in her writings. In this book, Elizabeth Spires introduces young readers to Dickenson’s work in an imaginative way.
When a mouse finds its a place to live behind the wainscoting of Emily Dickinson’s bedroom, Ms. Dickenson’s constant writing at her desk becomes a source of fascination. Venturing forth when it is safe, the mouse – Emmaline – make her way to the writing desk and discovers Emily’s poetry.
Inspired by what she reads, Emmaline writes a poem of her own, leaving it on Emily’s desk. On finding it, Emily replies with poetry, and thus a poetic correspondence between the two is established.
Featuring eight of Dickenson’s actual poems, together with seven “replies” from Emmaline, Elizabeth Spires gently draws young readers through a charming story into the power of poetry to express our deepest feelings, and perhaps start them writing poems of their own.
Tuesday June 28th, 19:00: Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances
Corwyn Allen reads Neil Gaiman’s collection of short fiction intended to entertain and provoke. Within it, he looks behind the masks we wear and at the people we really are, using a rich mixture of genres and experiences on which to found his stories: horror, science fiction, fantasy, fable, poetry – even his own experiences using Twitter.
Within these tales, characters new and established are revealed. Black Dog, an original story for this volume returns to the world of America Gods, whilst elsewhere can be found stories featuring Sherlock Holmes and a story written for the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who.
Neil Gaiman is a literary artist whose unique approach to fiction drives deeply into our imaginations, engaging and stirring us in mind, heart and soul.
Wednesday June 29th 19:00: Ollie’s Odyssey
Caledonia Skytower reads William Joyce’s children’s tale about Oswald (or Ollie, or Oz), a stuffed rabbit and favourite of young Billy. Oz goes everywhere with Billy, until one day, he is accidentally left under a table during a wedding, and is kidnapped by the wicked Zozo.
An unwanted amusement park prize, Zozo hates all toys that are favourites; so much so that he doesn’t just want them lost – he wants them forgotten by everyone – and he has gathered other embittered toys to his cause.
Now Oz must work to not only rescue himself and get back to Billy, he must ensure all the other “lost” toys reach safety.
Thursday, June 30th
19:00: The Dragon of Boeotia (Monsters of Mythology)
Shandon Loring reads Bernard Evslin’s story focused Cadmus, the founder and first king of Thebes, and the first Greek hero. When a fierce dragon plagues a region of Greece, it comes to the attention of young prince Cadmus, who decides to end its tyranny.