Member Spotlight: Ekaterina Semeniuk, vLanguage Learning Team Co-Leader

This is a first in a series of articles, interview and first person, featuring the leaders of our Educators in VR Team Projects. Ekaterina Semeniuk is a language teacher and the new co-team leader of the vLanguage Learning Team along with Michael McDonald of Gold Lotus language teaching and consultancy. The next vLanguage Learning meetup is Monday, September 14, 2020, on “Cognitive Skills, Language Development and The Brain: Employing the Neuroscience of Learning to Create More Effective VR/AR/XR Experiences” with special guest speaker Cassondra Eng.

Ekaterina Semeniuk, known as Gingery in Discord and AltspaceVR, shares her story and passion for language learning and teaching with us.

Ekaterina SemeniukIf you told thirteen-year-old me that I would become a teacher, and not just a teacher, but an English teacher, I would choke on my soda. And if you tried to guess why you’d guess it right.

My English as a foreign language journey was just like any other lifelong journeys, it was full of rich experiences. There were times when I felt blessed and there were times when I felt cursed. I started learning English “officially” at the age of seven at school, but unofficially, thanks to my elder brother, my mom and video games, it had started way before the alphabet song reached my ears. By the first day of school my wealth of knowledge had some useless bits of information like ‘a scarf’, ‘a doll’ and some important daily vocabulary like ‘new game’, ‘save’ and ‘exit’.

At the age of fourteen, I started to learn French as my second foreign language. Other foreign languages I’d been learning at university and afterwards.

Let’s fast-forward. Here we are in Moscow, Russia. My name is still Ekaterina. London is still the capital of Great Britain. But I’m not thirteen any more, and I don’t hate English any more. Moreover, we’re almost good friends now.

At the moment, I teach English as a foreign language. I have a background in foreign philology – the history and development of languages – and I used to learn eight foreign languages in total. I also have a master’s degree in TESOL in Australia. And my professional experience includes working as an ELICOS teacher in Sydney and as an English teacher and tutor at a private elementary school in the Moscow Region, to students between five and ten years old, some of which have dyslexia.

I’m also the new co-team Leader of the Educators in VR vLanguage track. I want to share with you my modest experience in teaching and learning languages with Virtual Reality.

Back in 2017 at the Australian university, I had a subject called ‘Technology in language learning’. In one of the assignments, you presented the concept of your perfect language-learning technology. Being a video game lover and a modern technology fan I presented a concept of an online VR game for language learning. That’s where it all began.

I can’t believe that every year we are getting closer and closer to all these futuristic language learning technologies I only dreamed about.

I bought my first VR headset a year later. It was a simple Cardboard-like gadget, the one where you have to use your phone as a display.

I used this headset as a speaking practice tool at my English lessons a year ago. At the end of a lesson, kids were supposed to watch a short 360 video and describe everything they could see in sentences, phrases or just single words, no pressure, the practice had to be as relaxed and fun as possible. The video was chosen on the same topic as the newly-introduced vocabulary.

With VR experience I wanted to create a positive emotional response in children, so they would have a desire to share it with others in the target language. Here the language becomes a tool for sharing experiences and information, and the whole practice doesn’t look like a task or an exercise.

My second headset was Oculus Quest and I used it in online teaching during the pandemic, choosing Mozilla Hubs for my ten-year-old students. Unfortunately, I was the only person in a VR headset. Luckily my students could join me from computers and tablets. We also were able to spend the whole 40 mins lesson on the platform, because the recommended session time in a VR headset for children of their age is 5-20 mins. I introduced my students to the platform gradually, where we spent around 2-3 lessons on getting used to the technology and doing whatever students wanted, having a silly time.

I started with explaining basic things like connection and movements, the next lesson I gave them permission to bring objects into the world and the third lesson was spent on travelling to various worlds. The English learning process was built around the idea of presenting vocabulary and grammar ‘upon request’. I followed my students and helped them with the language they needed most at a particular moment, for example, to make a specific joke or to call objects they built a house from.

All in all, it was a positive experience. Students loved it, it was something new, fun for them. They were excited to be there. It became another fun way of communication and doing things together.

After almost a year of working full-time with small children, I found myself losing the language. I still was reading and listening to advanced materials but had a lack of good speaking practice. I decided to find random people on VR social platforms like VRChat or AltspaceVR for a relaxed kind of chatting practice.

It was a surprise to find people were even organising language classes there, like Michael McDonald from Gold Lotus. Michael’s classes had a theory part presenting new vocabulary and some specific grammar. With the second part, he immersed us in situations, where we could apply in practice all the previous material, building new connections and stronger association.

VR technology gives us this great opportunity to transfer ourselves almost whenever we want to and experience it. I also visited a couple of speaking clubs and exchange language events. I even tried to learn a little bit of Japanese from scratch and I thank all of my VR teachers for their kind support and patience. This refreshing feeling of becoming a complete language noob I always find really helpful in improving my teaching empathy.

I see three main reasons to continue implementing VR technologies in my future English lessons.

  1. It helps to bring my students and the target language out of the classroom.
  2. It helps to use the language as a meaningful tool in various activities.
  3. Most importantly for me, it helps to build a positive attitude to the language.

I find a positive attitude more important than learning a particular amount of words or grammar. I’m aware that learning a language is a lifelong process and if you get a lot of negative experiences there is a great chance that you drop it once and never get back. If you have a positive attitude, no matter what happens in your life – more or less active learning periods, even pauses – you never drop forever, you get back and improve. It’s much easier to fix your knowledge gap in the language than to fix your negative attitude.

I believe that XR technologies are those amazing tools that bring positive learning experiences in your life that lead to a positive attitude to the language. I’m looking forward to its further development and I’m sure it’s changing education for the better.

Ekaterina Semeniuk is a TESOL teacher with a strong background in foreign philology — the history and development of languages. At one time, she was learning 8 languages. She has a master’s degree in TESOL in Australia, and worked as an ELICOS teacher in Sydney and an English teacher and tutor at a private elementary school in the Moscow Region with students between five and ten years old, some of which have dyslexia. She is also the new co-team Leader of the Educators in VR vLanguage track. You may learn more about her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

VR Headset Hygiene and Safety Workshop

Educators in VR VR Safety and Hygiene Workshop.

Evelien Ydo, Team Leader of the Educators in VR’s VR Research Team, and author of “VR Hygiene and Safety: Everything You Need to Know,” which we shared with you recently, has agreed to do a special event on the subject of VR headset hygiene and safety in AltspaceVR Thursday, September 24, 2020.

This free workshop will teach you about the basics of VR hygiene and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic and upcoming flu season. She will discuss detergents, hand sanitizers, face pads, UVC-light, nanotechnology, protocols, and the importance of educating your staff, clients, and/or students.

Hygiene and safety are always important to consider when using VR-headsets and controllers with multiple people. Areas that pose a high safety risk include the VR location-based entertainment industry, showcasing events, VR labs, education that uses VR, larger gatherings in general where headsets are swapped between people, and headsets that are used on a daily basis by multiple people (e.g. when training with headsets). During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that current procedures would not be sufficient anymore. Therefore, updated information about best practices on how to safely use VR-headsets is provided during this workshop.

All are welcome to attend as this event is free and open-to-the-public. If you are currently registered with AltspaceVR, you may go to the event page for the VR Hygiene and Safety Workshop and RSVP. AltspaceVR will send you a reminder an hour prior to the event. You will find the event in-world under Events > My Events. For more details and information, please see our guide on attending Educators in VR events.

BR Hygiene and Safety: Everything You Need to Know” should be required reading for all educators, trainers, and businesses working with multiple headsets and users.

This workshop dives deeper into cleaning methods and methodology. VR headsets and controllers are made of strong but delicate materials. Harsh chemicals may damage the equipment. Cleaning them isn’t hard. It is just a matter of knowing what to use, when to use it, and how to use the various cleaning products and methods.

Evelien will cover:

  • Cleaning products for VR headsets and controllers.
  • Cleaning and sterilization methods and tools.
  • Safety and hygiene protocols and guides for staff and users.
  • Answer your questions and concerns on VR cleaning.

We expect this event to fill fast. Help us spread the word by sharing this with other educators, schools, and businesses. Please RSVP to ensure you receive a reminder by email prior to the event’s start.

Evelien Ydo is a Psychologist and Educational Expert at Serious VR, Coordinator of Learning & Development at Pre-U, Master student at EST, and leader of the Educators in VR VR Research team project. The VR Research Team meets in AltspaceVR bi-weekly with special guest speakers, workshops, and open discussions. She is also co-creator of the VR Rsearch Help Wanted Campaign that continues to spread the word for researchers in immersive technologies to find interview subjects and subjects to complete surveys to assist with their research, often helping them continue with their degree programs that came to a halt this spring with self-isolation and COVID-19. To join the discussions with VR researchers, join the Educators in VR Discord and check out the VR Research discussion channel. If you are a VR/AR/XR researcher and need help promoting your research to encourage participation and data collection, post it in our Research Help Wanted channel.

Empowered You Workshop

vCoaching Empowered You.

UPDATE: New dates are October 13-14, 2020.

Educators in VR is excited to announce another amazing personal and professional training workshop October 13-14, 2020, with Caitlin Krause and CaptainVR Dana-Maria called Empowered You.

This innovative 2-day workshop (4 hours total) invites you to transform your life and work in a meaningful way with two leaders in coaching, person, and professional development. This engaging workshop and training explores mindsets, well-being, and transformation for personal and professional development held in an immersive virtual reality environment, in AltspaceVR. Early bird tickets are still available at USD $10 off the ticket price through October 14, so hurry.

Educators in VR Caitlin Krause and Dana Maria workshop in AltspaceVR.The 2-day 4-hour private workshop in AltspaceVR includes a variety of coaching and personal development techniques such as:

  • Breathing-techniques
  • Ki-training
  • PSYCH-K
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation

These are stressful times, and now is the time to be inspired, to reinvent who you are, how you work, and how you teach and share your knowledge with others in a way that requires you to be at your very best. We are being tested as never before, and now is the time to empower you to your full potential.

Caitlin Krause photoCaitlin Krause specializes in UX design, story, and well-being in XR. She works as a story designer in digital therapeutics with a focus on interactive XR, using mindfulness, guided imagery, HCD, biofeedback, BA, and CBT. Founder of the consultancy, MindWise, Caitlin launched her book Mindful by Design (Corwin Press, 2019) at the World Economic Forum and spoke about the Future of Education, Sci-Fi and Immersive Technology. Her just launched new book, Designing Wonder: Leading Transformative Experiences in Virtual Reality, is a masterful guide on how to create VR experiences with emotional resonance and impact. She introduces a new methodology for on designing meaningful experiences in VR, filled with wonder, exploring the virtual concepts for experiences and education from The Hero’s VR Journey to Maslow Before Bloom. She has been a teacher and curriculum designer for over two decades.

Through her leadership and organizational consulting, she helps individuals and teams create connection in the midst of complexity and change. She recently created a mindfulness and SEL series in social VR, fusing presence, storytelling, curiosity, and emotional intelligence. Her mission is to empower humanity through connection.

dana-maria-fanekerCaptainVR Dana-Maria is an award-winning life and personal development coach and the Team Leader of the Educators in VR vCoaching and Personal Development team. The vCoaching Team meets weekly on Wednesdays in VR exploring self-improvement, empowerment, and therapy applications in leadership, confidence, and esteem. She brings her evangelism in using virtual reality for coaching, training, and therapy applications to help people “captain their own lives.” The research and application of virtual reality is a powerful tool for helping people to confront fears, build life skills, reduce stress and boost immune systems, and become more effective in their professional lives and work.

In 2016, Dana-Maria won the Samsung VR Challenge for Best Virtual Reality Idea of the Netherlands, creating a VR application to help free people from their fears, empowering people with VR. She continues her pioneering work to help develop effective virtual reality applications with specialists around the world and make people the Captains of their lives and virtual reality is the most powerful tool to help her with this mission.

This is a rare opportunity to work with these leaders in immersive coaching and self-empowerment. Educators in VR’s goal is to help integrate immersive technologies into education and business, and to do that, we need people willing to be leaders and innovators themselves. This is an excellent opportunity to find that inner strength and empower you.

How to Attend

Tickets are still available and space is limited. This event is designed to be personal and intimate, allowing you plenty of time for questions and interactions with the expert workshop leaders.

Access is through Windows 10 computer with AltspaceVR installed via the Microsoft Store or Steam, or with an Oculus Go, Quest, Rift, Vive, Value, or other tethered VR headset with AltspaceVR in those stores.

If you are currently not registered with AltspaceVR, please do so before buying your ticket. Your AltspaceVR username and registration email address will be required. The username is the one used to log into AltspaceVR.

If you go to AltspaceVR, sign in, and click your profile image, you will see your username and email registration. Once added to the event’s private invitation list, you will see the event listed in AltspaceVR under Events > My Events. If you do not, please take a screenshot of your profile information and email it to us immediately to ensure addition to the participant list.

For more details and information, please see our guide on attending Educators in VR events.

Global HR Summit 2020 Success

Global HR Summit produced by Educators in VR.Educators in VR co-produced the 3-day Global HR Summit with Genius Ventures and BentoHR, September 8-10, 2020, in AltspaceVR. We thought we’d share a few of our thoughts about the event and images here, to help you understand how easy (and challenging) it is to host an event in virtual reality.

Honestly. Skip the Zoom Fatigue and online conferencing tools and go straight to VR. As proven over the past few days, while there are still challenges to VR conferences, the biggest challenge is mental. Once you get past the fears and myths and step right in, to quote the keynote speaker, Nick Vujicic of Life Without Limbs and AIA – Attitude is Altitude:

“It’s amazing to feel like you are right here with everyone, yet I’m right in my own home…to add to the experience, I just heard the garbage truck outside my window, yet I’m here in this room with you from around the world. It’s beautiful!”

This was also a fundraiser for the Virtual World Society. Founder Tom Furness inspired the packed audience with two events and attended most of them, including the social where we hung out in a virtual hot tub solving the challenges of integration of immersive technologies in business and education.

The closing keynote with Matt Fleckenstein of Microsoft Hololens Marketing and strategies, showed us the future of innovation, manufacturing, and education as we enter the world of mixed realities and extended reality (XR). It was inspiring and stunning to realize that the future is here, now.

Will Business Get This?

Educators get VR. They see the potential for connecting with students, breaking down barriers and borders. They see the potential for empathy and relationship building, for collaboration and sharing. They see the dream of unleashing imagination and offering unique problem-solving situations to guide students into the future workplace. The challenge for the teams from Genius Ventures and BentoHR was whether or not human resource professionals and corporate businesses would get VR.

The obstacles they overcame were tremendous. This wasn’t like a conference where you send out a few emails, post some fliers in the real world and across social media and hope people show up. People had to be convinced that this was worth their time. More than that, they had to know there was solid ROI behind all the virtual reality stuff that their children and grandchildren play games.

Matt Burns of BentoHR, and Navjeet Chinna and Marah Berezowsky of Genius Ventures spent countless hours personally calling speakers and attendees to encourage them to participate. They talked about the potential for virtual reality not just for events but for businesses. They shared the facts and research that backs up their claims, the fact that by 2025, 25% of G2000 firms will use “integrated workplace sensing systems to optimize and personalize the employee experience,” and that by 2025, this will not only become normalized, but 20% of G2000 workers will use “fit for purpose” forms of human augmentation and assistance, expanding into exoskeletons, robotics, AR, VR, and wearables to ease workflow and communication. The technology is here. It is up to businesses to embrace it, and watch their efficiency and productivity improve, and employee attitudes improve as the workplace becomes more interactive and, literally, visually helpful.

The feedback from speakers and participants across the board was amazing. They got it. They loved that they could connect with others from around the world from the comfort of their home or office. They loved the wonder that came with the experience as well as the ease of use. It worked. There is a new energy and interest. Most importantly, this wasn’t Zoom. The ripple has started and is spreading around offices and companies that this is something they need to embrace, and fast. Especially right now.

This event would not have happened if it wasn’t for their dedication. We’re eager to have them present an event soon for Educators in VR to discuss how they overcame the challenge so many of us face on a regular basis: How to convince administration to accept virtual reality as a viable educational tool.

Save Money and the World

As mentioned in our original lessons learned from hosting a VR conference and research into the benefit to the environment for going truly green with virtual reality conferences and meetings, a 3-day event like the Global HR Summit would have cost hundreds if not thousands to attend, and thousands to produce.

For under USD $100, a Windows 10 computer or Mac with Windows partition, or under $500 VR headset, this conference was yours to attend and meet people from around the world changing how business works and bringing together educators, students, and human resource managers, consultants, trainers, and experts to face the future of digital transformation together.

We also saved many trees, and in this time of massive wildfires around the world in addition to the pandemic, protected lives. Seems grandiose, but we heard conversations across the three days of people so grateful they didn’t have to travel right now. There were stories behind that sentence.

Slide Shows Aren’t Why They are There

Due to technical and security issues with AltspaceVR, slides became more than cumbersome to use. The team managing the speakers convinced speakers, many long-time keynote and public speakers, to step away from their dependency on Powerpoint and Keynote, and embrace conversation and storytelling as a way to connect with the audience. We learned this lesson repeatedly over the past two years, and our co-producers were brave enough to go with that premise.

It worked.

While visuals can be helpful, they are more often a crutch, helping the speaker remember what comes next rather than engaging with the audience. The speakers set their fears aside and embraced the conversational style. By the second day, the events started to run a little behind with audience interaction as people became more accustomed to this new format. They loved it. Conversations and imagination were ignited and people wanted to be a part of this.

Educators in VR will continue to push forward and evolve this as engagement thrives in VR.

It’s All About the Event Space – Or Is It?

As Educators in VR expands our conference and event consultation and services, we continue to be challenged with the concept of the event space type.

There is one theory that we need to provide comfortable and familiar event spaces, seats, tables, microphones, screens, auditoriums, stages, etc., to make the audience feel comfortable and transition better to VR. Another theory is that in virtual reality, anything is possible. Why not have events in outer space, underwater, or hanging upside down? There are pros and cons to both.

What many attendees didn’t know is that the event presentation space was custom developed by Microsoft and AltspaceVR for the Microsoft Developer Days conference earlier this year, one of the first annual corporate conferences to be mostly in VR. We were able to work with Microsoft to agree to allow us to use the event templates, and we are so grateful. People enjoyed them.

Global HR Summit Social in the Hot Tub.The social event space was developed and designed by the Educators in VR world building team, one of many we are now offering for rental of VR event, conference, and educational classrooms. We customized it each day with interactables and had a fun hot tub complete with bubbles and fish on the last day. This brought fun and interactivity to the event.

The team behind the Global HR Summit was determined to introduce HR professionals to this new medium as it is game-changing for their industry and the workplace. Offering a familiar transition was wiser than throwing them out into space, floating in the air surrounded by stellar objects on their first adventure into VR.

However, this audience was very savvy, getting the point of the potential of virtual reality communication and interaction immediately. By day two we were hearing participants ask questions about the event spaces and why the limits weren’t pushed more.

It was so exciting to see their enthusiasm for seeing how far VR and virtual worlds could go to not just emulate the real world but push the boundaries of imagination in meeting spaces. Producing and hosting more than 600 VR events a year to introduce VR to educators and the education industry, we are so ready to embrace that mindset!

It Takes a Team and a Village

The Educators in VR Production Team is long experienced in VR and virtual event productions, from classroom design and development to hosting thousands of attendees from around the world. Working with the teams from Genius Ventures and BentoHR was a delight as they took our advice seriously, yet were willing to make this their own as well, which we respected. As always in this innovative space, lessons were learned on all sides.

Much thanks goes to Tom Furness of the Virtual World Society, our Educators in VR production and video crew, and everyone at Genius Ventures and BentoHR. Together, we embraced the technology, overcame the obstacles, introduced dozens of people to this new way of interacting and connecting, and started a conversation that will be continued for years to come.

The key characteristic it takes to produce and host events in VR is belief. You have to believe this is possible. Only with belief in the future and potential of this technology will we move into it willingly. It’s here. Now. We just need to walk into the virtual light together.

Here are some highlights from the past three days.

Global HR Summit Starts Tomorrow

Global HR Summit Banner

Tickets are still available for the Global HR Summit staring tomorrow and running for 3 days in AltspaceVR.

I explained this innovative summit in a LinkedIn article and in our original announcement about what it means to Educators in VR as well as educators, trainers, and students around the world.

Teaching thousands to prepare for the future of web technologies, today, as co-founder of Educators in VR, I prepare educators, trainers, and students of all ages and experiences in XR technologies, moving beyond the web to immersive and spatial design, development, and deployment. That’s the job of teachers. We prepare people for the future, one arriving faster than you can imagine. It is already here.

…As an educator working with college job services, internship programs, and a trainer for schools and businesses in VR/AR/XR and web technologies, I’ve seen first hand the power of HR to connect and influence. So have you.

According to the IDC 2020 future of work predictions (PDF) and other supporting research, by 2025, 25% of G2000 firms will use “integrated workplace sensing systems to optimize and personalize the employee experience.” They predict by 2025, this will not only become normalized, but 20% of G2000 workers will use “fit for purpose” forms of human augmentation and assistance, expanding into exoskeletons, robotics, AR, VR, and wearables to ease workflow and communication.

Global HR Summit - Speakers.

We are seeing directly how immersive technologies like VR and AR is changing lives and the workplace, and the Global HR Summit is your opportunity to learn, discuss, and meet experts in HR, job hiring, training, and education to learn how to prepare yourself, your students, and your schools for the future workplace.

This is a fundraiser for the Virtual World Society, a non-profit focused on global educational outreach programs and innovations, with the goal of raising USD $250,000. Additional donations are welcome.

Tickets are available now, and Educators in VR student and educator members are entitled to a discount as in FREE TICKET by using EDUCATORSINVR in the coupon of the ticket order.

Get your tickets now for the in-world AltspaceVR experience or to watch the private YouTube livestream.

Book Launch: Caitlin Krause “Designing Wonder”

Book Launch Caitlin Krause Designing Wonder ASVR Tile

Educators in VR is proud to announce our first book launch event in AltspaceVR September 17, 2002, with Caitlin Krause of MindWise consultancy to launch her new book.

Designing Wonder: Leading Transformative Experiences in Virtual Reality by Caitlin Krause is a masterful guide on how to create VR experiences with emotional resonance and impact.

Redefining the rules as usual, she introduces a new methodology for how to design meaningful experiences in VR, filled with wonder, exploring the virtual concepts for experiences and education from The Hero’s VR Journey to Maslow Before Bloom. The book is about experience design from education to corporate training, and those specializing in social groups in VR.

Join Educators in VR as we celebrate the launch of this ground-breaking book that we expect will change how you design and develop virtual worlds and play and teach within them.

Caitlin Krause photoCaitlin Krause specializes in UX design, story, and well-being in XR. She works as a story designer in digital therapeutics with a focus on interactive XR, using mindfulness, guided imagery, HCD, biofeedback, BA, and CBT. Founder of the consultancy MindWise, Caitlin launched her book Mindful by Design (Corwin Press, 2019) at the World Economic Forum and spoke about the Future of Education, Sci-Fi and Immersive Technology.

She has been a teacher and curriculum designer for over two decades, diving deeply into virtual reality experiences in education, the next stepping stone in educational and business training tools. Through her leadership and organizational consulting, she helps individuals and teams create connection in the midst of complexity and change. She recently created a mindfulness and SEL series in social VR, fusing presence, storytelling, curiosity, and emotional intelligence. Her mission is to empower humanity through connection.

Educators in VR is thrilled to begin our first in a series of book launches in VR, helping authors and researchers host innovative book launch experiences in virtual reality at a time when such public access is limited. This is an rare opportunity to connect in an immersive environment and celebrate authors with an international audience.

Space is limited. RSVP today for the open-to-the-public book launch with Caitlin in AltspaceVR. For information on how to attend an event in AltspaceVR and in VR, use our handy step-by-step guide.

Global HR Summit 3-Day Conference with Free Tickets

Global HR Summit Banner

Update: September 8-10. The event is now 3 days!

As educators, education administrations, learners, trainers, researchers…we are all about job opportunity. Today’s human resources professionals are our gateway to those jobs, from hiring to firing and from education to innovation. Today’s teachers and human resources staff are faced with a common problem: How do we prepare for a future with immersive technology and how do we integrate it into the workforce?

Educators in VR’s mission is to integrate spatial technologies, VR/AR/XR, into education and training. And we are proud to announce that we are teaming up to produce the first ever VR conference for HR professions, the Global HR Summit September 8-10, 2020, in AltspaceVR. Tickets are still available, and we’ve a special deal for our members below.

This two-day event brings together top leaders in HR from around the world representing corporations, small businesses, and HR experts covering topics we need to know as educators preparing students of all ages for the new digital and immersive world.

There are panels, discussions, podcasts, and plenty of social networking time to connect with these amazing influencers and world changers throughout the event.

A few of the speaker highlights include Tom Furness of the Virtual World Society will kick the summit off with a keynote exploring the past, present, and future of immersive technologies.

Global HR Summit - Speakers.Our own Caitlin Krause of MindWise will be teaming up with Matt Burns of Thinking Inside the Box podcast, BentoHR, and leading producer of the summit, for a fascinating discussion on how to develop a health relationship with technology.

Jill Katz, Founder and Chief Change Officer at Assemble HR Consulting will be sharing her expertise for working parents and the new normal we are all being challenged. Christopher Lind of General Electric will share his expertise in reimagining learning and talent development. Joey Price of the popular podcast Business, Life, and Coffee, and co-founder of Jumpstart:HR brings his expertise and podcast to the summit.

Hung Lee, editor of the leading industry newsletter “Recruiting Brainfood,” teams up with Marlo Brook of AVATAR Partners, an immersive reality and virtual collaboration solution development company for aerospace, construction, defense, healthcare, and manufacturing, will be sharing the virtual stage with Navjeet Chhina to offer solutions on the keys to productive work force communication in the new normal. Navjeet Chhina, Founder and CEO of Genius Ventures, and Tom Emrich, pioneer and leader in AR and VR wearable technologies as Vice President of Product at 8th Wall, which develops AR content for top brands including Sony. Miller Lite, British Gas, Swiss Airlines, Porsche, Toyota, Time Magazine, and more. The two of them will explore the future of augmented reality in business.

Global HR Summit- Free for Students and Educators.Tickets: Normally hundreds to thousands of dollars for a real world event, tickets are USD $49 and $99 individually for YouTube or AltspaceVR access with team/group discounts. Proceeds of the event benefit the Virtual World Society, helping expand their outreach, research, and educational programs.

Because we know you do not want to miss this event, we’ve made arrangements for Educators in VR members to receive free tickets to the full 2-day event. This is an excellent opportunity to gain access to the leaders in human resources and understand what the future of immersive tech holds for educators, schools, trainers, and students.

To receive your free ticket, register for the event and use EDUCATORSINVR as the discount code. We will contact you to confirm your AltspaceVR username and email if necessary.

HR in VR Meetups

Matt Burns - HR in VR Meetup.Educators in VR is also working with Matt Burns, the brilliant creative behind the Global HR Summit, of BentoHR and the Thinking Inside the Box podcast to host weekly meetups called HR in VR on Thursdays in AltspaceVR to discuss the future of immersive and digital technologies for human resources professionals, but also for educators and learner to understand the job future in this especially challenging times. As we move more and more into an online cultural, not just in service to communication, it offers unique challenges and opportunities for careers in spatial technologies. The next events are July 23 and July 30.

How to Clean Your VR Headset

Cleaning VR Headset with soap and water - copyright Lorelle VanFossen Educators in VR 2020 sm.

Over the past few months, our Educators in VR Discord and Twitter, and Facebook members have discussed and debated how to protect ourselves, fellow teachers, and students from potential contagion with VR headsets.

We’ve debated about cleaning products and the risk of damage on the plastic as well as the lenses, and guessed at what may or may not work. Some teachers haul headsets home and wash them by hand, stripping off the face pads, and even throwing them in the wash machine.

Evelien Ydo has the better solutions.

In her research paper with Serious VR on VR Hygiene and Safety: Everything You Need to Know, she’s broken down the well-researched facts based on expert interviews and scientific data on how to clean VR headsets (HMDs) with detergents and hand sanitizers and using cleanable and disposable face pads, UV light treatments, and nanotechnology.

Hygiene and safety are always important to consider when using VR-headsets and controllers on multiple people. Areas that pose a high safety risk include the VR location-based entertainment industry, showcasing events, VR labs, education that uses VR, larger gatherings in general where headsets are swapped between people, and headsets that are used on a daily basis by multiple people (e.g. when training with headsets). During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that current procedures would not be sufficient anymore. Therefore, updated information about best practices on how to safely use VR-headsets is needed. SeriousVR finds it important to share our knowledge, combined with expertise provided by the VR/AR/XR community, so that we can collectively tackle this problem. This document aims to summarize the most up-to-date knowledge on how to use headsets safely and how to combine this knowledge into tangible procedures…

The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus is able to survive up to 72 hours on plastic (Suman et al., 2020). You could quarantine your headsets and controllers for that amount of time or use detergents to decontaminate. Different detergents have different effects on the survival of COVID-19 (e.g. Kampf, Todt, Pfaender & Steinmann, 2020). Keep in mind that certain detergents will probably leave some residue on the face, for example, detergents based upon chloride, which can irritate the skin or the eyes. Next to that, always follow the instructions of the specific detergent.

Her findings were surprising. One might think that a higher concentration of alcohol in ethanol-based detergents and cleaners would be more effective than less, but results indicate it becomes less potent and may actually do more harm than good on the virtual reality devices.

Don’t forget about cleaning hand controllers as well. Like keyboards and mice, these are prime areas for risk of contagion. Hand controllers need to be cleaned with the same solutions as used for cleaning the plastic on the headsets.

Evelien adds excellent information with protocols on how to educate staff, clients, and students about proper hygiene methods, diving up the protocol instructions for users and staff. Quality graphic versions of the protocols are available through Evelien as described in the article.

Evelien Ydo - Cleaning Headset instructions for users.

Evelien will be presenting a workshop on this subject for Educators in VR in AltspaceVR soon. Watch here, on Discord, and our social media for an announcement.

BR Hygiene and Safety: Everything You Need to Know” is a must-read and share article for your school, class, and businesses to ensure you are taking the right steps to protect and reassure everyone.

Evelien Ydo.Evelien Ydo is a Psychologist and Educational Expert at Serious VR, Coordinator of Learning & Development at Pre-U in the Netherlands, Master student at EST, and leader of the Educators in VR VR Research team project. The VR Research Team meets in AltspaceVR bi-weekly with special guest speakers, workshops, and open discussions. She is also co-creator of the VR Research Help Wanted Campaign that continues to spread the word for researchers in immersive technologies to find interview subjects and subjects to complete surveys to assist with their research, often helping them continue with their degree programs that came to a halt this spring with self-isolation and COVID-19. To join the discussions with VR researchers, join the Educators in VR Discord and check out the VR Research discussion channel. If you are a VR/AR/XR researcher and need help promoting your research to encourage participation and data collection, post it in our Research Help Wanted channel.

Educators in VR Events: July 13-19, 2020

Educators in VR has a busy week planned with great special guests, partner events, and team project meetups and events. Remember, we announce these events regularly on our Educators in VR Discord group, Facebook, and Twitter. For events in AltspaceVR, consider subscribing to our Educators in VR event subscription channel to receive regular reminders of upcoming events there. For events on ENGAGE VR, check out their Events schedule, and we will update you on our projects on other social and educational platforms as they happen.

VR Research Team for Educators in VR.July 14 – VR Researchers Team: We begin the week on Tuesday with the gathering of the VR Researchers team members and general audience to discuss research in immersive technologies, how the research is going, where to start, and where to find key research. Also, check out their VR Researchers Discord Channel in the Educators in VR Discord.

Don’t forget that our #research-help-wanted campaign helps publicize your research across our social media platforms. If you have a research project that needs to reach a wide audience, post in the #research-help-wanted and discuss it in the #research-projects channel and at the above meetups.

Global HR Summit 2020.July 14 – Weekly Workshop: A few hours later is the Educators in VR Weekly Workshop with Matt Burns of HRBento discussing the upcoming HR Global Summit, July 28-29, in @AltspaceVR. He will be talking about preparing students, HR companies, and professionals for a future integrating VR/AR/XR. The Global HR Summit is in AltspaceVR, and ticket proceeds benefit the Virtual World Society, a partner of Educators in VR. The next HR in VR Meetup is Thursday, also in AltspaceVR.

Educators in VR vCoaching and Personal Development Session in AltspaceVR.July 15 – vCoaching and Personal Development: Wednesday features CaptainVR’s Dana-Maria, leader of the vCoaching and Personal Development Team Project, with special guest Fabian R-CANE Schlosser, a renowned expert in music therapy for relaxation and stress reduction. Fabian’s work and research developed a Stress Reduction Method with music therapy being used around the world. You may learn more about his work on his website, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Check out the vCoaching and Personal Development channel in the Educators in VR Discord for more information and resources, and access to the videos of past meetups and workshops.

Cyberbullying Team Project with Educators in VR.July 15 – Cyberbullying Team Project Meetup: Later on Wednesday is the next Cyberbullying Defense & Protection Team Meetup with Eric Segal (ZenPanda) of NEST, Network of Emotional Support Teams, as she takes us through the journey of cyberbullies and bullies in general, to help you understand the types, styles, prevention, treatment and training, and how to protect yourself from harm. With an increase in hate and racism acts IRL and online, this regular meetup group is ideal to help you learn more. We’ve information on cyberbullying here on our site and will be adding more, and we have resources and discussions on our Cyberbullying Channel on our Discord.

Virtual World Society Fireside Chats in AltspaceVR.July 16 – Virtual World Society Fireside Chat: Thursday is the Virtual World Society Fireside Chat with Tom Furness & Ben Lok, award-winning professor & founder working with virtual storytelling & communication skills. He teaches a variety of courses at the University of Florida’s Computer and Informational Sciences and Engineering Department, and is co-founder of Shadow Health, an educational company focused on using virtual humans and mixed reality to train communication skills within VR and human-computer interaction. He received the UF Innovator of the Year Award (2019), a UF Term Professorship (2017-2020), the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Faculty Mentoring Award (2016), a NSF Career Award (2007-2012), and the UF ACM CISE Teacher of the Year Award in 2005-2006. He and his students in the Virtual Experiences Research Group have received Best Paper Awards at IVA 2019, IEEE VR 2008, and ACM I3D (Top 3, 2003).

Look What’s Next

There is plenty coming up with Educators in VR, and here are some highlights.

July 28 – Special Event with Stanford University Virtual Human Interaction Lab: Dr. Geraldine Fauville from The Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab has been working on an innovative VR educational project working with 200 6th to 8th grade girls in VR or 2D studying ocean acidification and marine environmental issues. Their insights on immersive learning, assessments, and outcomes help us all understand the power of VR in education.

Underwater event space for iLRN 2020.July 28 – Weekly Workshop on Building Virtual Worlds for Events and Education: Educators in VR has spent the last two years building custom worlds and event spaces for classes, workshops, and conferences. This special workshop will introduce you to the challenges and features necessary in an immersive classroom and VR event spaces. In September, we are launching a new feature to rent those virtual world spaces for your own events, classes, workshops, and conferences. The worlds will be available individually and in packaged kits, and you will be seeing a preview of some of those spaces. The event will begin in our Educators in VR Training Center and move through some fascinating social worlds.

ILRN Conference 2020.July 28 – iLRN2020 Conference Lessons Learned: Join Educators in VR with the iLRN (Immersive Learning Research Network) team for a discussion about the lessons learned from producing their first virtual conference, iLRN2020 in VirBELA and AltspaceVR. Migrating a conference for less than one hundred attendees to one featuring thousands, and incorporating the IEEE conference standards and requirements for their attendees, is a huge undertaking, from choosing a platform to implementing the top notch speaker and event program. Join us as we discuss the lessons learned and how to bring a real-world event to VR and virtual.

Steve Brambury event in ENGAGE July 2020 for YOUNGA.July 26 – CPDinVR in ENGAGE VR: As part of the amazing CPDinVR Third Anniversary events with Steve Brambury, Educators in VR’s Daniel Dyboski-Bryant will be interviewing the co-founder of Students in VR, Angelina Dayton, and Kelly Lovell of Bridging the Gap Ventures, part of the team along with Educators in VR producing the upcoming YOUNGA Take-over of the United Nations student-led event, September 28-29, 2020.

July 28-29 – Global HR Summit: The Global HR Summit is July 28-29 in AltspaceVR, bringing together HR professionals, experts, and consultants for their first all VR conference. Produced by Educators in VR, Matt Burns of BentoHR and the Thinking Inside the Box podcast, and ticket proceeds benefit the Virtual World Society, a partner of Educators in VR. The next HR in VR Meetup is Thursday, also in AltspaceVR.

Global HR Summit produced by Educators in VR.

YOUNGA 2020 Speakers.September 28-29 – YOUNGA Take-over of the UN: In collaboration with Educators in VR, Students in VR, and Bridging the Gap Ventures, YOUNGA is a take-over of the United Nations, student-led event held in ENGAGE VR. The event will feature student leaders and experts along with industry and corporate leaders and activists solving the world’s key problems with leadership panels, virtual master classes, fireside chats, and immersive VR performances, engaging cultures and societies around the world. Registration is open to participate in this ground-breaking, VR event in ENGAGE VR as celebrities and students call upon the United Nations to help solve the challenges the world faces together.

October 2020 – National Bullying Month: This is the second anniversary of the Educators in VR Cyberbullying Month in conjunction with National Bullying Month. This year, we have a month-long series of workshops, classes, meetups, and trainings on the subject open to everyone, and potentially some master class programs and trainings as well to help us all learn from experts on reducing harm and being prepared against the bullies who follow us from the real world to online and VR social platforms. We have information and resources from last year to update you, and join our discussions and plans on the Cyberbullying Channel in Discord. We’re always looking for topics and expert speakers on these subjects.

February 2021: We have plans in motion for our next Educators in VR International Summit, but we are breaking the rules again. Keep your February open and we’ll have announcements on this coming soon.