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