VWBPE 2020: a Stellar educational event, March 26th-28th

via vwbpe.org

The 2020  Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference takes place between Thursday, March 26th and Saturday March 28th, 2019 inclusive. A grass-roots community event focusing on education in immersive virtual environments, VWBPE attracts 2200-3500 educational professionals from around the world each year.

Carrying the theme of Stellar, the conference will, as usual, take place in a group of dedicated regions, and will comprise its usual engaging programme of events and activities.

VWBPE 2020 Gateway


As with previous VWBPE conferences, this one offers an engaging and broad-based programme, including keynote speakers, workshops, presentations, social events and more. The best way to find out what is going on over the three days of the conference is through the VWBPE programme page,  However, here are some of the highlights all times SLT):

  • Thursday, March 26th
    • 08:00: Kick Off and Ribbon CuttingVWBPE 2020 Gateway: the official opening of the conference during which the Conference Executive and Organization Committees will share a few of the upcoming highlights.
    • 09:30: Keynote – Are you future ready? Steps to build your stairway to the future, Dr. L.Robert Furman – VWBPE Auditorium.
    • 14:00: Above the Book: What’s up at the Lab? – Ebbe Altberg and Patch Linden – VWBPE Auditorium.
  • Friday, March 27th
    • 08:00:Keynote – Virtual Worlds and Social Justice: An Impact and Civic Engagement Agenda, Dr. Michael Thomas – VWBPE Auditorium.
  • Saturday, March 28th

    • 11:00: Keynote: Lessons Learned from the 2020 Educators in VR Conference, Lorelle VanFossen – VWBPE Auditorium.
VWBPE 2020: Lecture A

Conference Facilities

As with previous years, the 2020 VWBPE conference is a multi-region affair. However, unlike recent conferences, it offers facilities designed to match its stellar theme – the majority of which are located in the air (or rather in space) over the regions. The following is a quick run-down of some of core facilities.

  • The VWBPE Gateway: located on the ground level, the Gateway offers a main landing point for in-coming visitors, complete with a teleport HUD giver. The latter offers the easiest means of getting around the various facilities and locations, and is explained in more detail below.
  • The VWBPE Auditorium: with three access points, the auditorium is an asteroid that has a cloud of debris floating before it – just click one of the little rocks and take a seat!
  • The VWBPE Social Spaceport: the spaceport is the main entertainment centre for the conference, and offers rides and freebies and opportunities to relax.

The conference also includes lecture and workshop spaces and locations for presentations, all of which can be accessed via the teleport HUD.

The Teleport HUD

As noted above, the VWBPE teleport HUD is the best way of getting around the facilities. It can be obtained via the HUD giver at the VWBPE Gateway and is delivered to inventory in a folder. Open the fold and right-click → ADD the HUD. Note that you will need to grant teleport permissions for it to work.

The VWBPE 2020 teleport HUD

By default, the teleport HUD attaches to the bottom of the viewer window. Click the Show button to reveal / hide it. When displayed, it will show the main buttons to the left:

  • Stations: displays buttons for all of the conference facilities except the main auditorium. click one of the buttons to be teleported to the named location.
  • Exhibits: displays a directory of exhibits, each numbered, and a corresponding set of numbered buttons. Again, click a button to go to the desired exhibition.
  • Sponsors: displays a directory of sponsors, each numbered, and a corresponding set of numbered buttons. Click a numbered button to visit the listed sponsor’s exhibit.
  • Special: offers a teleport button to the VWBPE Luminaria centre.
  • Auditorium: displays three buttons corresponding to the three landing points for the VWBPE Auditorium.
VWBPE 2020: Social Spaceport

To keep up-to date with the conference, be sure to check the VWBPE website daily.


VWBPE is a global grass-roots community event focusing on education in immersive virtual environments which attracts over 2,000  educational professionals from around the world each year, who participate in 150-200 online presentations including theoretical research, application of best practices, virtual world tours, hands-on workshops, discussion panels, machinima presentations, and poster exhibits.

In the context of the conference, a “virtual world” is an on-line community through which users can interact with one another and use and create ideas irrespective of time and space. As such, typical examples include Second Life, OpenSimulator, Unity, World of Warcraft, Eve Online, and so on, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or any virtual environments characterised by an open social presence and in which the direction of the platform’s evolution is manifest in the community.

Read more here.

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Art and a fort in Second Life

Grauland, March 2020 – click any image for full size

Grauland, the Homestead region held by JimGarand, is a location that undergoes periodic redesign on the part of its owner – something that keeps it an interesting and intriguing place to visit. We dropped into the region on Friday, March 21st having heard a whisper that Jim had been working on a new design; but as he was still in the process of moving walls and buildings around (and we didn’t want to intrude – or get clobbered by a wall passing by!) we quickly skedaddled away.

However, working with some speed, Jim took the region from a collection of wall sections and three buildings plonked down seemingly randomly, to a complete new setting that – as has always been the way with the region – offers a new delight for visitors.

Grauland, March 2020

The latest design – called Grauland Castle and Art Park – again offers an interesting mix. Split into two islands with what might be a sandy-bottomed tidal channel between them, the region presents a setting dominated by a great fort-like structure on the larger of the two. This has a mixed look of both Roman and medieval influences, presenting a large walled courtyard dominated by a basilica-like building together with a pair of clearly medieval buildings.

While the buildings were empty at the time of visiting, the rest of the grounds of this fort – it strikes me more of a fort than a castle, but that’s just a personal thing – offers 3D art awaiting appreciation. It’s an eclectic and attractive mix of sculptures and modern art pieces,  the courtyard also offering an outdoor seating area and a pergola covered bird cage, also with places to sit around it.

Grauland, March 2020

The art continues beyond the main, west-side gatehouse (which I’m using as an arbitrary landing point for this article), which contains the teleport to Jim’s sky-based store. Outside of the gate are two more pieces of art, one pointing the way to Grauland’s signature motif: it’s own version of the Giant’s Causeway formed from Cube Republic’s excellent basalt columns set.

To the south, across the narrow gorge / channel and on the smaller of the two islands, sit a ruined rotunda and a copy of Stonehenge. They lie separated from one another by the islands’ scrub grass, a single track running south from the fort to connect it to them, passing by way of a small bridge to do so. The south island can also be reached from outside the fort by following its walls south, while to the east there sits a low beach, its lie again suggesting it might also be tidal in nature.

Grauland, March 2020

This is a simple, minimalist build, but one offering an interesting mix of things to see, including a fair few – the fort, the henge, the rotunda and a tombstone raised in the last century – that suggest the island is a place with great age to it. One where art sits well within its boundaries, offering a further layer of interest for the Second Life traveller.

All told, another new twist on looks for Grauland, visually engaging and as worth taking the time to explore as the previous builds.

Grauland, March 2020

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