Previewing the VWBPE 2022 conference in Second Life

via VWBPE

The 2022 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference takes place between Thursday, March 31st and Saturday April 2nd, 2022 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. It’s primary goals are to foster discussion on, and learning about educational opportunities presented through the use of such virtual spaces, a defining core values and best practices in doing so, including:

  • Helping to build community through extension of learning best practices to practical application of those ideas and techniques;
  • Providing networking opportunities for educators and the communities that help support education; and
  • Offering access to current innovations, trends, ideas, case studies, and other best practices for educators and the communities that help support education.

In the context of the conference, a “virtual environment” 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.

Each year, the event has a central theme, which for 2022 the organisers describe thus:

Our theme for this year is Phoenix Rising and the exploration of areas outside of our expertise that may be potentially opposed to our current outlook or world view. As educators, we are having to adjust to more than just a transition from in-person to online methodologies. We are facing urgent challenges in the areas of remote classroom management, outdated policies or policies not designed to be applied to online environments, child psychology and welfare in online environments, health and safety considerations, and personal privacy, among others. This means embracing the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and innovative technologies to their best effect.

– From the introduction to VWBPE 2022

VWBPE 2022 Gateway

Programme

As with previous VWBPE conferences, this year’s event includes speakers, workshops, presentations, social activities 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 (note: all times SLT, and all events at the VWBPE auditorium  – landing points: Auditorium, Area 52; Auditorium, Norganon; Auditorium Skywall – unless otherwise stated):

  • March 31st:
    • 08:00-08:50: Kick-off event at the VWBPE Gateway.
    • 11:00-11:50 SLT: What’s up at the Lab? with Patch Linden and hosted by Kevin Feenan (Phelan Corrimal), VWBPE Director; Rockcliffe University Consortium.
  • April 1st:
    • 08:30-08:50 SLT: Keynote address – Randall Sadler, Professor of Computer-Assisted Language Learning Telecollaboration (incl. Virtual Worlds and Virtual Reality
  • April 2nd:
    • 18:00-19050 SLT: Closing ceremony.

If you cannot get in-world to attend any of these or the other major talks and presentations at the conference, note that you can watch them via You Tube – check the VWBPE website for the full schedule of live streams (also available on YouTube).

The VWBPE Spaceport and (foreground) the Rings of Saturn, start of the Phoenix Egg Hunt

Conference Facilities

For 2022, the conference uses the same as the past two years, with some additional twists. 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 swag bag for arrivals available through several givers.
  • The VWBPE Auditorium: with three access points (Auditorium, Area 52; Auditorium, Norganon; Auditorium Skywall), 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.
  • Social events at this year’s conference features a number of special activities, including:
    • The Gallery 360 Photo Event.
    • Moonwalk on Koray – defy gravity with this walk around a moon.
    • Phoenix Exhibit Hunt – find the phoenix eggs among the exhibits.
    • Rocket Ride – fly a rocket through asteroid fields, past the moons of Lyra Prime, through a worm hole, and landing at the docks of the Lyra Prime spaceport.
    • And more – details in the information packs available at the Gateway!

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

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 swag bag givers at the VWBPE Gateway and is delivered to inventory in a folder. Open the folder and right-click → ADD the HUD. Note that you will need to grant teleport permissions for it to work.

VWBPE 2022 Teleport HUD

By default, the teleport HUD attaches to the bottom of the viewer window, with three buttons available (Help and Detach are self-explanatory).

Click the Main button to display the full HUD (which can be minimised again by clicking the Hide button, displayed when the HUD is fully in view). This comprises two sections:

  • On the left, a display of primary options (shown above). Clicking on any of the buttons in this section will  following: display a further list of options (teleport or web page links). Use the Main button to return to the primary set of options again, when required.
  • One the right, a changing display of event sponsors – clicking on a name displayed in this section will display a link in the viewer’s top right corner to an associated web browser page about the sponsor.

The primary set of options comprise the following (note: at the time of testing, Special and Administration were both blank, and so are ignored below):

  • Teleport to Gateway: go directly to the VWBPE gateway station, where you can grab freebies (if you’ve not already done so) and use the teleport kiosks inside the main building, meet with friends, etc.
  • 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.
  • Auditorium: displays the three teleports to the main auditorium.
  • Social: displays the teleport to the space station and other social elements.
  • Exhibits: teleports to the conference exhibition spaces.
  • Sponsors: displays a set of teleports to the exhibition spaces of the conference’s major sponsors.
  • Post-Conference Survey: offers a link in the viewer’s top right corner to an associated web browser page, where attendees can offer feedback on the conference.
VWBPE 2022 Main Auditorium – pull up an asteroid as take the weight off of your space suit boots!

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

Additional Links

VWBPE 2022 in Second Life: programme announced

via VWBPE

The 2022 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference will be taking place between March 31st and April 2nd inclusive, and both a call for proposals and a call for volunteers to help run things has been issued.

The core schedule of events for the conference has been officially announced, and highlights include (all at the main auditorium and times SLT, unless otherwise stated):

  • March 31st:
    • 08:00-08:50: Kick-off event at the VWBPE Gateway.
    • 11:00-11:50 SLT: What’s up at the Lab? with Patch Linden and hosted by Kevin Feenan (Phelan Corrimal), VWBPE Director; Rockcliffe University Consortium.
  • April 1st:
    • 08:30-08:50 SLT: Keynote address – Randall Sadler, Professor of Computer-Assisted Language Learning Telecollaboration (incl. Virtual Worlds and Virtual Reality
  • April 2nd:
    • 18:00-19050 SLT: Closing ceremony.

This might sound like a brief set of highlights, and direct keynote events are limited this year, but the conference more than makes up for this in the range of presentations, workshops and education-focused Above the Book sessions that are to be held – so be sure to check out the schedule in full.

Call For Volunteers

Volunteers are still being sought to help with the conference. The organisers are looking for people willing to get involved in the following areas:

  • Event hosts.
  • Mentors.
  • Steaming support.
  • Technical support.

Those wishing to give of their time should visit the volunteer page and look at the tabs and then click on the volunteer button.

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.

Additional Links

VWBPE 2022: call for volunteers + Thinkerer Award nominations

via VWBPE

The 2022 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference will be taking place between March 31st and April 2nd inclusive, and both a call for proposals and a call for volunteers to help run things has been issued.

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. For the purposes of the conference, “virtual world” refers to any on-line community through which users can interact with one another and use and create ideas irrespective of time and space, whether 3D in presentation or as characterised through platforms such as Meta, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., in which the direction of the platform’s evolution is manifest in the community. The conference itself is hosted within Second Life.

Volunteers are required for the following roles:

  • Hosts: usually located at the Gateway landing area, but can also be at the Exhibits and Social Events to help participants, hosts are the first people that conference participants meet. and should be familiar with VWBPE areas in Second Life and VWBPE Conference events. A minimum time commitment: 1 hour training is required, with 1-hour blocks of time commitment (we appreciate multiple time sign ups, please do this at your convenience).
  • Mentors: pre-conference coaches and one-on-one support people for presenters attending the conference (presenters are matched to mentors). Minimum time commitment: 1-hour training is required (this includes training in the presentation tolls in their assigned venues). Time per presenter varies from 1 to 3 hours, depending on the presenter’s experience level.
  • Technical Support; experts in providing support across the conference and in liaising with Estate Managers when issues arise on the parcels. Minimum time commitment: 1 hour training prior to conference, 4-hour blocks.
  • Quadrivium Assistants: assist Quadrivium Facilitators in leading a Quadrivium Discussion. Minimum time commitment: 1 hour + .5 hours (Quadrivium + Prep + Assistance with Report).
  • Stream Team: provides video capture and streaming for each presentation at the conference. Members may need to be available for training up to 2 months prior to the conference.

Full details of all roles can be found on the VWBPE volunteers page; if additional information is required these can be relayed to the conference organisers via e-mail.

Those wishing to volunteer can do so via the VWBPE 2022 volunteers form.

Thinkerer Awards

The Thinkerer Award is presented annually 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. It was first awarded in 2014 to Selby Evans (Thinkerer Melville) for whom it is named. Since then, the committee conducts the selection process based on public input. If you know someone who deserves to be recognized by this life-time award, please complete the 2022 nomination form below.

For further details, including nomination criteria, please refer to the VWBPE 2022 Thinkerer Award nomination page.

VWBPE Important Dates

Additional Links

VWBPE 2022: calls for proposals and sponsors

via VWBPE

The 2022 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference will be taking place between March 31st and April 2nd inclusive, and both a call for proposals and a call for sponsors are currently open.

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. For the purposes of the conference, “virtual world” refers to any on-line community through which users can interact with one another and use and create ideas irrespective of time and space, whether 3D in presentation or as characterised through platforms such as Meta, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., in which the direction of the platform’s evolution is manifest in the community. The conference itself is hosted within Second Life.

The theme for the 2022 conference is Phoenix Rising, with the organisers describing it thus:

In every culture, from China in the east to the Indigenous cultures in the west, the phoenix as a symbol of hope and renewal is ubiquitous across the ages. Whether it is referred to as Feng Huang, Garuda, Ho-Oo, Bennu or the Quetzal bird, in every case the phoenix ushers in an era of prosperity and transformation that goes beyond the individual to encompass our home and surroundings.
The world is forever a changed place. Those in education find themselves on the front lines of how the next generation of students are going to perceive and integrate a post-COVID society into opportunities for growth, for renewal, and for a redefinition of the values that once drove us.
The past two years have represented a global case study in real time of the merits and limitations of virtual education: what works, and what doesn’t. Educators have immersed themselves in online learning methodologies that have been mostly talked about but never implemented on a wide scale until recently. There is now a plethora of real-world evidence supporting the practical application of teaching virtually that we have never truly had access to until now.
Like the newly reborn phoenix arising from the ashes of its previous life, virtual education is also experiencing a renaissance of abundance and transformation. Whether it be fully immersive or simple video conferencing, the practical application of tools and techniques over the past two years represents a wealth of inspiration for connecting teachers and students in ways that are comprehensive, progressive, and meaningful.

Call For Proposals

VWBPE 2022 will include six formats for presentations the familiar Spotlight Presentations, Hands on Technology Workshops, Compass Points Roundtable Discussions, Micro Burst presentation Clusters (each no more than 15 minutes), together with two new formats – Tool Talks, and Poster presentations.

  • Tool Talks: The big ideas are often shared at conferences, but what about those “little” things that you cannot do without in your practice – be it a tool, technique, or technology? Share a short and engaging demonstration showing us why this idea is not to be missed.
  • Poster presentations: Share your research in our new Posters venue, with time for both asynchronous exploration and scheduled synchronous presentation times during the conference. Students are strongly encouraged to share their current work with a poster presentation.

In addition, there will be Immersive Experiences that will take place in the 2 weeks prior to and 2 weeks after the conference itself. New for 2022 will be an opportunity for video engagement to promote your Immersive Experience, details of which will be provided for all accepted Immersive Experience proposals. Full details on submitting any form of proposal and general guidelines can be found via the following links:

The closing dates for submissions are as follows:

  • Presentations: 10 January 2022
  • Exhibits: 14 February 2022
  • Immersive Experiences: 14 February 2022.

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 organisation’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, 2020

Sponsorship opportunities start at US $250 for organisations and groups, and US $20 for smaller communities. Those interested are referred to the official VWBPE Sponsorship Opportunities pack, or sign-up directly / contact the organisers via the conference sponsorship page.

Additional Links