VWBPE 2020: Above the Book with Ebbe and Patch – summary

via vwbpe.org

The following is a summary of the VWBPE Above the Book session held on Thursday, March 26th. The session featured as guests, Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab and Patch Linden, Vice President, Product Operations and a member of the Lab’s management team.

The video of the session is available on You Tube and is embedded at the end of this article, while the following is a summary of the discussion’s key points, with time stamps to the relevant points in the video for reference.

Notes:

  • Ebbe Altberg had a significant viewer issue that precluded his participation in the first half of the discussion, as such the majority of the summary points below are based on Patch Linden’s responses to questions etc. Where they are based on a reply or comment made by Ebbe, they are preceded by “[EA]”.
  • Time stamps commence at the 18-minute mark because there is a significant blank lead-in to the video.

Educational Discount and Work Opportunities in SL

Educational Discount

[18:48-19:45]

  • On March 13th, 2020 linden Lab introduced a limited time offer for education and non-profit organisations to to obtain full regions in Second Life / reduce their current full region tier to US $99.00 per month.
  • Once granted the fee reduction will remain applicable “as long as their [the organisation’s  / individual’s] invoicing is current.”
  • The reduction is something that had been under consideration by the Lab prior to the SARS-Cov-2 / Covid-19 situation, but it seemed that given the situation with learning centres around the globe being closed around the world, now was the time to introduce the offer in order to help organisations find a place where they can continue to offer lessons / services alongside of other options they might be exploring.

Business / Work Opportunities

[20:14-24:17]

  • Alongside of the educational / non-profit discount, Linden Lab also created a micro-website and an accompanying updated FAQ promoting Second life as a working environment.
  • This is designed to appeal / apply to to broad range of potential use-cases: educational, business, etc.
  • It is being actively used by LL to coordinate responses to the needs of those making enquiries and correspond with applicants / interested parties.
  • Connected to this work, the Lab has offered a set of seven turn-key solutions for interested parties.
    • Comprising single and multi-region facilities, which see a clever re-purposing of existing designs (e.g, the Horizons hub area, the Bellisseria Campwich lodge, the SL16B auditorium, part of the Paleoquest regions), as well as the 4-region Linden Town Hall facilities.
  • The single region facilities have been intentionally optimised such that they can comfortably and consistently handle 75 avatars apiece without becoming stressed.

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The seven new pre-fabricated business/ meeting environments provided by Linden Lab.

  • There has also been some marketing work alongside of this to help raise awareness of SL’s continued presence as a platform (the UK’s Daily Telegraph ran a paywalled article on SL and remote working on March 26th, for example).

SL and Technology Related Questions

  • [24:24-25:33] Cloud Uplift: will sharding / instancing of regions be possible?
    • Potentially, but much further down the road.
    • The focus at the moment is on transitioning the SL infrastructure and getting it to a point where regions can be operated via the cloud.
    • Opportunities for product offerings, etc, will be considered some time after the uplift has been completed and costs, etc., better known.
  • [32:07-34:34] Despite all the talk of VR headsets and immersivity being ” the future”, the fact is virtual worlds already provide a 3D, immersive experience, even if viewed via a 2D screen. Given high frame-rate VR systems are still outside of most people’s pockets / interest, don’t you think worlds like SL are due a renaissance?
    • VR is a fully immersive experience that cannot be matched for its sense of presence.
    • SL has some significant challenges when it comes to that kind of immersive experience it will need to rise to [FPS, optimised content / content management], and / or the VR hardware requirements will need to come down to make VR is SL acceptable. They will likely draw together in time, but that’s not something for SL’s current roadmap.
  • [40:17-42:25] Has the more widespread availability of bandwidth and higher speed connectivity made it easier for people to connect to Second Life?
    • Yes. The ability for ISPs to provide faster connectivity, particularly now with fibre, has helped with SL’s global reach and accessibility.
    • 16-17 years ago, cable DSL was just coming in, and people without it, particularly if far away from the SL data centres, could experience issues with connecting. Over the last decade, the reported incidence of these kinds of issues has decreased to a point where they seem to be rarely heard.
  • [1:10:55-1:11:41] Given the current pandemic and the situation with the Second Norway / Sailors Cove East estates (see Second Norway & Sailor’s Cove East: rumours & statements), is LL considering providing region holder who are facing financial issues / lack of income due to SARS-Cov-2 some form of relief?
    • Region owners facing such issues are encouraged to approach the Second Life support team.
    • As it is, LL is working specific with Ey Ren, the estate owner for Second Norway / Sailor’s Cove East to try to resolve that situation.

Second Life and the Future

  • [1:02.07-1:07:38] As LL is again a single-product company, what is the vision, looking forward?
    • As already mentioned, the cloud uplift to AWS and Google is a major focus, and will take up most of the Lab’s time and effort throughout 2020, with the goal of completing the work in 2020.
    • It is hoped that the basic transitioning to the cloud will produce meaningful performance improvements.
    • There will not be a significant number of features coming on top of this work outside of those committed to (e.g. EEP, Name Changes, Premium Plus).
    • However, the uplift should position LL / SL for a long-term future, and should be seen as a commitment on LL’s part to the continuance of SL – the investment required in the shift would not have been made if there was a lack of confidence about the platform’s future.
    • LL itself is in a very comfortable position and profitable.
    • Further, the company’s organisational set-up means that it has not been overly impacted by the current pandemic crisis.
    • Second Life is seeing rising engagement and concurrency at present.
    • Overall the company has a very positive view of the future for SL, and very pleased with where they are in terms of the SL product offering.
    • Those interested in learning more about the technical side of SL can tune-in to the April 3rd edition of Lab Gab, which will feature Oz Linden, VP of Engineering and members of his teams.
    • Ebbe himself is now “100% devoted” to Second Life and Tilia.

Education Related Questions

  • [25:45-26:47] Will SL be able to connect to Canvas LMS? A lot of this can be supported through the in-viewer browser and via the viewer’s implementation of Chrome Embedded Framework (CEF).
    • Improvements to media  / web handling in the viewer are being made (notably media and CEF), and there should hopefully be more news on this Soon™.
  • [27:39-28:29] Can more be done to allow people to bring in their “traditional” and familiar 2D means of presentation (e.g. PowerPoint, etc), into SL beyond having to use use things like Media On A Prim (MOAP), etc?
    • The coming updates to media / web handling might have a lot to do with this, particularly in displaying 2D information formats. Essentially, if it is web-based, then you should be able to display it in-world.
    • [EA – 52:49-54:29] SL is perfect for iterative, interactive classroom activities and allowing students to contribute content to the classroom and in experiential education (field trips, learning through directed activities / simulation / training). However, more could be done to make the more traditional teaching tools – blackboards, whiteboards, video presentation, etc., – available / easier to utilise with Second Life.
  • [37:57-38:55] What about screen sharing / desktop sharing with SL?
    • Would be challenging to provide through Second Life, but obviously there are applications that will allow Second Life itself to be shared between screens / desktops.
    • It’s unclear as to what form any path to providing screen / desktop sharing within SL / the viewer might take.
  • [55:25-57:40] Can teaching environments be locked down to only allow students and staff access, and to prevent students teleporting away?
    • Regions do allow levels of privacy (access by group, access list, region / estate-level access blocking, etc.). It is also possible to bring users directly into a specific region / estate, and created accounts can be locked to a specific region / estate.
    • The siloing capability is available in Second Life, and it is made available to educators to use, and are available as a part of the educational / non-profit region fee.
    • [EA – 59:10-1:01:55]:
      • While it is not being considered by the Lab at present, it might be possible, post cloud uplift, to enable separate Second Life grids to be spun-up with completely different user name / account spaces associated with them.
      • If there are specific use cases for access control that aren’t provided by the Lab, or ways in which LL might provision specific market silo support, educators / physical world business users are encouraged to contact Patch and his team to discuss them or send ideas to business-at-lindenlab.com.
  • [1:07:53-1:10:54] Could a controlled space be provided where educators could collaborate to produce material in-world for students?
    • Can already be done.
    • A portal style space showing what is available for education in SL might be possible. One used to be provided, and LL might be interested in partnering with educationals to again provide one. Ideas can again be passed via business-at-lindenlab.com.

Sansar Related Discussion

  • [43:05-49:54] Second Life (and OpenSim) has always offered the ability for real-time content creation, which has been seen as one of the major attractions for it, and it was something lacking in Sansar that may have contributed to its lack of appeal. Do you think there is a long future for Second Life with its ease-of-creation?
    •  Yes.
    • [EA] Nowadays original content creation within SL is rare; most users are more customisers that original asset creators; they purchase items and then lay them out. Clearly, content creation & collaborative design are required in a virtual space, but do they need to be in the run-time environment?
    • [EA] Sansar took the route of separating the design process from the run-time environment to allow the latter to be a more performant environment, allowing everything placed in the design environment to be properly optimised [“baked”] to provide a good run-time experience.
    • [EA] Sadly, LL never got to the point of implementing collaborative design in the editor, or in really giving power to users to design their space without having to have a lot of expertise.
  • [49:55-51:47] On the sale of Sansar  [EA]:
    • Decision was made to sell Sansar and give the team that had been working on it to go and raise funds to try to go it alone with Sansar.
    • Was felt that it was easier for them to raise money as a separate entity from LL, given that Second Life is an established brand and Sansar was effectively a start-up brans within the environment responsible for Second Life.
    • As it is all of the staff who worked on Sansar are getting employment offers from Wookey project Corp., the new owners.
    • Linden Lab remain something of a partner to Sansar, as the platform will continue to use Tilia Inc, the Lab’s micro-payments  / virtual world tokens subsidiary to manage Sansar Dollar payments and payouts. Tilia itself will be growing its customer base with more clients lined-up to join it.

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

Programme

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 a 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 include lecture and workshop spaces and locations for presentations, all of which can be access 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.

About VWBPE

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.

Additional Links

VWBPE 2020: keynote speakers and recent updates

via vwbpe.org

The 2020  Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference will be taking 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 which this year will see them designed in a matter to reflect the conference theme, and will comprise its usual engaging programme of events and activities. I’ll be offering more of a preview of the conference’s facilities in due course. In the meantime here is a round-up of the latest news from the organisers on the event programme.

Keynote Speakers

The keynote speakers for this year’s event comprise:

Thursday, March 26th – Dr. L. Robert Furman:  Dr. Furman is an educator, leader, scholar, speaker and author; but most notably, Dr. Rob is a true champion for education in the 21st century. Beyond speaking at venues across the country, Dr. Rob is also a contributing Educational blogger for The Huffington Post as well as Ed Tech Review. He has received numerous prestigious awards, such as being named in the National School Board Association’s 20 To Watch in technology education and an ISTE Best Selling Author.

Friday, March 27th – Dr. Michael Thomas: a Professor of Education with a focus on digital learning, social justice, social mobility and the student experience. Dr. Thomas is a Principal Fellow of the HEA and hold two PhDs, one from the Newcastle University, UK and a second from Lancaster University, UK. He has studied for an MBA in Educational Management at the University of Leicester, M.Ed at Manchester University, an MA at Newcastle University and change leadership at Cornell University, USA. He has worked at eight universities in Germany, Japan and the UK, from ancient, to Russell Group to modern, and led large, multinational research groups and project teams.

  • Address time: 08:50 SLT.
  • Address title: Virtual Worlds and Social Justice: An Impact and Civic Engagement Agenda
  • Biography at VWBPE.
Keynote speakers (l to r): Dr.Robert Furman, Dr. Michael Thomas, Lorelle VanFossen and Daniel Dyboski-Bryant

Saturday, March 28th – Lorelle VanFossen and Daniel Dyboski-Bryant : Lorelle VanFossen is a keynote, trainer, writer, and consultant on web writing, digital storytelling, content curation, social media, and blogging, especially working with WordPress and virtual reality. Called a digital evangelist, on Lorelle on WordPress she writes and teaches more than you may want to know about how all this social publishing business stuff works.

Daniel Dyboski-Bryant is a lifelong educator from a family of educators and speaks 5 languages. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant of VR in Education with clients including schools, colleges, universities, design teams, training companies, councils and private individuals. In his daytime job Daniel is the Project Lead for Exploring VR in Further Education, Remote Learning and Language, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Lecturer, and Trainer at Coleg Llandrillo, Grwp Llandrillo-Menaia in North Wales UK.

Note that all keynote addresses will by at the VWBPE main auditorium, SLurl to be made available closer to the conference opening.

VWBPE Programme

The VWBPE programme offers full range of presentation, social events, workshops, discussions and more. There is also a series of special Immersive Experiences that commence on March 15th and run through until April 5th.

Running to around 60 to 90 minutes each, these Immersive Experiences offer the chance to see what others are doing in virtual learning environments from Kitely to World of Warcraft.  Check the VWBPE 2020 Immersive Experiences page for more.

For full details of all events and activities so you can start planning your time at VWBPE, visit the VWBPE 2020 Programme page.

Volunteers

VWBPE would not be possible without the dedicated service and support of its volunteers. Roles are still available to be filled – if you are interested, please visit the VWBPE 2020 Volunteer Roles / Sign-Up page.

About VWBPE

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.

Additional Links

VWBPE 2020: call for proposals

via vwbpe.org

The 13th annual  Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference was recently announced, together with a call for proposals, which combines calls for presentation proposals, proposals for exhibits, and proposals for and immersive experiences.

The conference will take place between Thursday, March 26th through Saturday 28th, 2020 inclusive, and has the theme Stellar, with the organisers noting:

When we look up into the night sky, almost every one of us is filled with awe as to the immense possibilities of what could be out there. New stars, galaxies, planets … even the very real possibility of life. There are a billion, billion opportunities, so rich in ways in which it can influence our understanding of everything around us.

Education is no different. We are surrounded by hundreds of millions of people teaching and learning from each other, all filled with possibilities … Instructors hold a special place in that cosmos. They are the guiding stars that help fuel the imagination to create, to build, to communicate, to partner. It is little wonder that instructors are innovators themselves, seeking out new worlds, new frontiers, and new opportunities for learning, as well as teaching.

On November 13th, 2019, VWBPE opened its call for proposals for the 2020 conference. This year the conference will include four conference presentation formats: in addition to the Spotlight Presentations, Hands on Technology Workshops, and Compass Points Round Table Discussions, the 2020 conference will include an additional track, Micro Burst Clusters for presentations no longer than 15 minutes.

Full details on the tracks and formats can be found on the VWBPE 2020 Call for Proposals page. In addition, those considering participating in the conference as presenters are asked to read the Presentation Paper Submission Guidelines for additional and supporting information.

The closing dates for submissions are as follows:

  • Presentations: Monday, January 13th, 2020.
  • Immersive Experiences: Monday, February 10th, 2020.
  • Exhibits: Sunday, February 16th, 2020.
VWBPE 2019: Lecture Area B

Sponsorship Opportunities

The VWBPE organiser are currently seeking sponsors for this year’s conference to help to keep this open source conference free for all to participate and to help with the conference’s informational systems, live streams, and archives active.

Your generous support will help raise your organization’s profile to gain the attention of over 1000 conference participants, including K-12 instructors, post-secondary instructors, researchers, non-profits, creative designers, education business leaders, and social media influencers in the field of education.

– From the VWBPE sponsorship page

Sponsorship opportunities start at US $250 for organisations and groups. Those interested are referred to the official VWBPE Sponsorship Opportunities pack, or sign-up directly / contact the organisers via the conference sponsorship page.

About VWBPE

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.

Additional Links

VWBPE 2019: Patch and Grumpity Linden

via vwbpe.org

On Thursday, April 4th, 2019, a public Above the Book events was held at the VWBPE 2019 event featuring Grumpity and Patch Linden, who answered questions about the platform and Linden Lab. The following is a summary of the broader points raised during the session, with the full video also embedded at the end.

A general Q&A session from the audience was held

Grumpity Linden

Grumpity Linden – Director of Product for Second Life

Grumpity originally came to Linden Lab while working for The Product Engine, a company providing end-to-end consulting and software development services, and which supports viewer development at the Lab, and she was initially involved in the development and viewer 2 (as designed by 80/20 Studio).

She became a “full-time Linden” in 2014. Her current position involves coordinating the various teams involved in bringing features and updates to Second Life (e.g. Engineering and QA), liaising with legal, financial and compliance to ensure features and capabilities meet any specific requirements in those areas, etc. This work can involve looking at specifics within various elements of the overall SL product, such as UI design and layout, etc.

Patch Linden –  Senior Director of Product Operations at Linden Lab

Patch Linden

Patch originally a Second Life resident, he joined linden Lab in 2007, after being invited to apply to the company as a result of his work as a community leader and mentor from 2004 through until the invitation was extended.

His role also encompasses Sansar, as he manages the respective support teams for both platforms. In this regard, he recently established a support centre in Atlanta, Georgia. For Second Life, his work also involves overseeing the content development teams, the Mainland Land Team, the Linden Department of Public Works – LDPW, aka The Moles, and managing the account support team.

Status Update

  • A lot of focus is on infrastructure work; making SL more performant for those in-world, and on moving Second Life services to the cloud.
    • The latter is especially time-consuming and difficult, as it requires moving services over without disturbing the way things are currently set-up.
    • As has been previously stated in public forums, there are currently no projections on whether this will lead to any reduction in region costs.
    • Currently, this work is taking a lot of resources in terms of staff, time and effort.
    • Overall, it is hoped the move will result in LL being more operationally streamlined and cost-effective, however, this could take time (a few years?) to achieve.
  • Feature work has obviously included:
    • The recent release of Animesh.
    • The continuing work to fully deploy the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP) that will replace the current windlight settings for controlling the appearance of the environment.
    • The continuing work to deploy Bakes On Mesh (BoM), that will allow system layers (skins / clothing) to be directly applied to worn mesh items.
    • The new Estate Access Management (EAM) capabilities (see the Alternate Viewers wiki page for the latest EAM RC viewer).
    • See my Content Creation User Group summaries for information on Animesh, EEP and BoM.
The Estate Access Management update sees significant changes to the region access controls in the viewer
  • The work on a mobile solution (iOS) for accessing Second Life is continuing.
    • This will initially be text-based.
    • Should be able to take advantage of the naked accessibility options available in iOS.
    • Won’t be available for some time yet.
    • iOS was selected because there are already popular Android solutions (notably Lumiya and Mobile Grid Client – there is also MetaChat for iOS).
    • An official Android client will follow, however.
  • Linden Homes are progressing (there will likely be another preview at SL16B).
    • Work is progressing on the new continent; this will be more organic and natural than the old Linden Homes mini-continents, and will be water / air navigable.
  • There has been the re-vamp and re-launch of Linden Realms.

What Audience Does Linden Lab Try to Address with Features?

  • Everyone who uses the platform.
  • The roadmap is designed so the Lab spends time on features for home / land owners, features for content creators, features for new users, features for consumers, features for Premium members, etc.
  • Communities in SL tend to use the platform in a wide variety of ways and continue to surprise LL in how they use the platform. Thus, the Lab try to plan development of SL with as many communities as possible in mind.
  • For the education sector, a lot of work has been put into the RegAPI / Gateway programme to allow educational institutions to bring students directly into their in-world environments, and even brand user accounts specifically to their own institution.
  • Accessibility is always foremost in the Lab’s thoughts.
    • This can in part be addressed by communities themselves in how they take the RegAPI to build their registration process, and gear their gateways.
    • Accessibility options within the viewer are harder to build, due to the nature of the viewer, although some capabilities are presented through third-party viewers  – Radegast being the most obvious (although currently stalled in development).
  • When considering features and updates, backwards compatibility is also foremost in the Lab’s thinking, both because of content available in-world that may be in use, but no longer actively maintained / updated, and because users have become reliant on specific capabilities / content.
    • This isn’t always possible, simply due to the age of SL.

In Brief

  • SL Search: there is a project on the roadmap (yet to be started) to overhaul SL search. It’s too early to discuss specific changes, but Search is complex, and a similar project performed with Marketplace Search took far longer than anticipated, although it yielded positive results.
  • Age Restrictions and Mobile: it is not anticipated that the arrival of an official mobile app for SL will change the current age range access restrictions (just as it hasn’t for the current mobile apps). Any changes in age related access will be a policy change, not the result of any specific technology change.
  • LEA and Art: the LEA is on hiatus and being restructured, and LL are in conversation with the LEA committee and others for the arts community about ideas for moving things forward.

 

VWBPE 2019: overview

via vwbpe.org

The 2018 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference takes place between Thursday, April 4th and Saturday April 6th, 2018 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.

As with recent years, the conference is focused on the 8 core VWBPE regions in Second Life, centred on the VWBPE Gateway.

VWBPE 2019: Main auditorium

Event Calendar

The best way to keep abreast of the full schedule is via the VWBPE 2019 event calendar. By default, this displayed in posterboard (shown below), but can easily be switched to agenda, month or stream views via the drop-down menu in the top right corner. Individual events can also be added to a number of personal calendars – Google, Outlook, Apple – making it even easier for attendees to track the events and activities they particularly want to attend at this year’s conference.

VWBPE 2019 calendar

Event Selection

The following is a (personal) selection of events those curious about VWBPE 2018 might want to attend. All times SLT:

Thursday, April 4th

  • 14:00-14:50 – What’s New At the Lab with Patch and Grumpity Linden in the Main Auditorium.
  • 16:00-17:00 – The Making of Our Digital Selves: My Avatar and Me: at the VWBPE social plaza.

Friday, April 5th

  • 09::00-09:50 – Keynote: Teacher Training with Virtual WorldsMain Auditorium: Dr. Tuncer Can, Istanbul University looks at how training teachers within Virtual Worlds could enhance innovation in the class and change the lives of real people by ensuring them.
  • 10:00-10:50 – Non-Profit Commons Past Reflections, Future DirectionsVWBPE 2019 Quadrivium.
  • 11:00-11:50 – Perspectives on virtual professional learning communitiesVWBPE 2019 Lecture Area A.

Saturday, April 6th

  • 11:00-11:50: Keynote: Crossing the Horizon together: Scanning, transforming, and sharing “What Works” in Immersive XR Main Auditorium: Dr. Jonathon Richter, Salish Kootenai College and Executive Director discusses the Immersive Learning Research Network facilitates collaboration between computer scientists, game developers, educators, learning scientists, and others.
  • 12:00 noon-12:50: Blue Mars on Virtual Harmony for agile mindsets –  VWBPE 2019 Lecture Area B.
  • 12:00-12:50: Re/visioning virtual educationVWBPE 2019 Quadrivium.
  • 14:00-14:50: Catching up with ThinkererMain Auditorium.
VWBPE 2019: Lecture Area B

Getting About

VWBPE takes place across 8 regions (including the exhibitors spaces). While exploring on foot is fun, the quickest way to get to event / activity venues is via the VWBPE Gateway and using the teleport boards there, and similar boards at each of the primary VWBPE events areas.

Additional Links