Register today for information on upcoming workshops, classes, and training in VR.
The Virtual World Society hosts Fireside chats regularly in AltspaceVR and Thurday, January 13, 2021, Tom Furness is bringing Alvin Gray, China President of HTC, makers of the HTC Vive and other VR technology, for a discussion on how reality maybe be vitural but the future of XR is real and here now.
The two will discuss the state of XR technology and look far into the future on what is coming that will change our lives, education, and the workplace.
Mr. Graylin is the China President at HTC, leading all aspects of HTC’s business in the region (Vive/VR, phone, content platform, partnerships and investments) and the company’s SW business globally. He is also currently Vice-Chairman of the Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance, President of the $18B Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance and oversees the Vive X VR Accelerators in Beijing, Shenzhen and Tel Aviv.
Mr. Graylin has over 28 years of management experience in the tech industry, including 20 years in Greater China. Prior to HTC, he was a serial entrepreneur, having founded four venture-backed startups and has held $100+ million P&L roles at a number of public companies.
Mr. Graylin received his MS in computer science from MIT, MBA from MIT’s Sloan School and BS in EE from the University of Washington, where he had specialized in VR and AI. Mr. Graylin is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.
Educators in VR was honored to have Mr. Graylin join us at several events during the 2020 International Summit, and we’re thrilled to be assisting with the production of this event in AltspaceVR with his return.
Expect this event to fill up fast. For more information, RSVP the event in AltspaceVR and check out our guide on how to attend events in VR. Consider subscribing to the Virtual World Society AltspaceVR channel to keep up with event announcements.
We learned recently that Google Poly would be closing as of June 30, 2021. Uploads will be turned off April 30. As a 3D creation and viewer tool, students and educators are easily able to create low-poly objects with in-VR tools and share them with others, expanding the range of 3D objects available for education.
Many artists, creators, educators, researchers, developers, and historians have uploaded “irreplaceable” cultural artifacts to the service and consider it to be a “cultural museum” of 3D and VR history. They are demanding the archive be preserved and continue to be curated in some way. A petition on Change.org is inviting signatures to encourage Google to open source the Poly platform. We encourage you to join.
Educators in VR is partnered with Gold Lotus language learning founded by Michael McDonald offering English language learning experiences in virtual reality.
For over four years, Michael McDonald has delivered more than 100 free VR English lessons in AltspaceVR, ENGAGE, and other VR platforms, not counting his successful record-breaking 24-hr English Lesson fundraiser project in VR. He is also the co-leader of the Educators in VR vLanguage Learning Team Project, hosting events with experts and topics on learning language in XR regularly. His free language classes are an opportunity to learn English and expand conversational skills. He also teaches specialized workshops and private lessons focused on specific need and skill levels.
As a leading expert in VR language education, Michael is the Co-Leader of the Educators in VR vLanguage team project, bringing together experts and educators from around the world to expand their knowledge and skills in virtual reality language learning and techniques.
Educators in VR has produced and hosted more than 1000 workshops, classes, and meetups since its founding in 2018, and in 2021, we are launching our Educators in VR Institute in January offering free and paid workshops and classes in VR. We’re proud to launch one of the first series of workshops with Gold Lotus.
vLanguage English 8-hr Course
Over the next month, Michael McDonald is hosting a series of free introductory classes on English-language learning through interactivity and discussion in AltspaceVR with a 4-week paid course designed to build your English speaking skills beginning January 12, 2021, in AltspaceVR.
The 8-hour course is designed to boost your language skills at the start of the year and includes classes twice a week for 4-weeks for exploration of the language for travel, house and home, holidays, weather, dining, and more. The courses will begin on AltspaceVR and expand to other VR platforms soon.
Small intimate classes like this often start at 100 Euros (USD $125). Though the partnership with Educators in VR, we are offering this 8-hour course for 40 Euros (USD $49).
Begin the process by subscribing to our Educators in VR Institute mailing list and we will update you on class times and availability for this and the other workshops, classes, courses, and trainings we are doing for free and low-cost fees.
Showcasing Language Learning Techniques in VR
If you are an educator involved in language learning arts, check out the vLanguage Learning channel in our Educators in VR Discord for tips and information as well as announcements on the next meetups to discuss the topic.
Last week, Michael and his vLanguage Learning Team Project co-leader, Ekaterina Semeniuk (Gingery), held a fascinating demonstration on language learning in ENGAGE using sticky notes and 3D objects to help students more actively working with new vocabulary. This was followed by a trip to a coffee shop where attendees were able to get a taste of how realistic and highly contextual learning environments can support foreign language learners in understanding how to build vocabulary for meaningful interactions in the physical world around them – such as ordering a drink.
Participants also witnessed the spatial recording feature of ENGAGE platform through a willing guinea pig by the name of Sergei, who demonstrated how by recording your avatar within a lesson can bring to the surface useful reflections on what mistakes students make and how they can be corrected, to build deeper meta-cognitive awareness about how one communicates in a foreign language. The group learned even more about how to improve the way people learn a foreign language in VR as it focuses the mind on key vocabulary and grammar necessary for upcoming – more engaging and interactive – tasks within the virtual environment. The event wrapped up standing at the foot of Mount Vesuvius in Italy to witness the eruption of the famous volcano, again a treasure trove of words, expressions, grammar and conversation for the language learner.
This is just a highlight of the potential for learning and teaching in VR, and we are excited to announce our Educators in VR Institute soft launch for January to help you share the VR experience with your students and experience it yourself.
In addition to the Gold Lotus English-language courses, we are developing workshops about VR event hosting, teaching, and virtual world building as well as workshops in VR on a wide variety of subjects including personal and professional development, creative writing, blogging, social media, conflict management, and much more. Stay tuned for more announcements and updates.
We are filling AltspaceVR with story this holiday season, bringing together friends and family and making new friends at a time when so many continue to be in lockdown and isolation. In social VR, you are rarely alone.
We have some wonderful stories to share with you this year including classics such as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, also known as A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement C. Moore; The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg of a boy’s adventure or dream to travel by train to the North Pole to meet Santa; How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss; excerpts from A Christmas Carol by Dickens ready by Dr. Nancy Bixler PhD over two nights highlighting the descriptions of Dickens’s Victorian holiday time; Christmas at Red Butte by Lucy Maud Montgomery about an orphaned girl who sacrifices her family memento so her cousins will have Christmas; Holiday Storytelling with original stories by the Creative Writing Meetup members; and more.
A special event on December 22 features Ekaterina Semeniuk, aka Gingery, is a reading in Russia of the famous story of Ded Moroz & Summer, Дед Мороз и лето. She is a TESOL teacher in Moscow specializing in foreign philology, the history and development of languages, and co-team leader of the Educators in VR vLanguage Learning team project.
Educators in VR is also bringing together members from around the world to share traditional holiday stories in our special, International Storytelling Event on December 22.
There are events throughout AltspaceVR for the holidays, and other social VR Platforms as well. We’ve included a few highlights of events from the Virtual World Society and #GETSOCIAL’s Winter Wonderland festival through January featuring a variety of special guests and social events, including ice skating.
Our Production and Event Manager (among other titles), Donna McTaggart, is hosting daily Advent day readings and biblical devotionals for the holidays with her popular Live Loved Christian Devotional events, reminding us of the reason for the season.
Here is an updated list of storytelling events in AltspaceVR. Note, some events featured multiple times in a day.
- Saturday, December 12:
- Sunday, December 13:
- Tuesday, December 15:
- Wednesday, December 16:
- Thursday, December 17:
- Friday, December 18:
- Saturday, December 19:
- Sunday, December 20:
- December 22:
- Wednesday, December 23:
- Thursday, December 24:
Come join us in AltspaceVR. If you are new to AltspaceVR, you may join on a VR headset or in 2D on a Windows 10 or Mac desktop or laptop computer. Check out our “How to Attend Educators in VR Events” guide for details.
Mark Jeffcock presented a workshop in AltspaceVR on photogrammetry recently, inspiring others to step into photogrammetry.
Among the many tips and tricks Mark offered during the workshop, he emphasized taking as many photographs as possible from multiple positions and heights. It’s not about photographing around the diameter. The 3D images need to capture over, under, and inside. The software then stitches the images together to created the final 3D image.
He’s encouraging people to create their own photogrammetry project and share it on our Educators in VR Discord group in the Weekly Discussion channel. You may share a link to the Sketchfab asset or, if you import it into AltspaceVR or another social VR platform, a link to your publicly accessible virtual world. We’d love some show and tell of your great creative works.
The video of his presentation in AltspaceVR for Educators in VR is on our Educators in VR YouTube channel.
Examples of Photogrammetry in AltspaceVR
Below are examples of his worlds with photogrammetry. Please click on the link and favorite the world to add to your Favorites list in AltspaceVR. If you are new to AltspaceVR, when you arrive, go to the blue circle menu with an A in it then Settings > General > Enable Worlds Beta to activate the Worlds menu item. There you will find Favorites.
- Ten Girls in Bikinis – Mosaic Floor in Roman villa, Casale, Sicily
- Tantallon Castle
- Sudbury Hall Gallery of the 2019 Game On Christmas Exhibit at the UK National Museum of Childhood
- Hong Kong village in thick fog – a senory experiment
- Colchester Historical Hub
Photogrammetry Sources and Resources
If you are an educators or student and wish to use some of the models he mentioned already on Sketchfab, he recommended the generosity of the Global Digital Heritage for creating and sharing Sketchfab.
Mark mentioned that most of the photogrammetry software is designed for the real estate industry, agents and homeowners with little or no technical ability, which makes it ideal for student and class work.
Other services mentioned to help you create your own 3D models with photogrammetry included:
- 3Dflow/3DF Zephyr: 3D Flow is a commercial company offering solutions and software for photogrammetry, 3D modeling, processing, and visual effects. Their product, 3DF Zephyr is available for free and paid versions to process images for photogrammetery. The free version is limited to 50 images per project, enough to learn about how the process works and create small objects good for use in AltspaceVR and other low poly social VR platforms with world building.
- MicMac: A free, open-source photogrammetry suite used to create 3D reconstruction scenes, models, and othro-imagery.
- COLMAP: A general-purpose Structure-From-Motion (SfM) and Multi-View Stereo (MVS) pipeline with a graphical and command-line interface to reconstruct ordered and unordered image collections for 3D renderings. Instructables has a simple guide for installing and using COLMAP.
- RealityCapture.com: Credit and monthly fee photogrammetry software for scanning, creating, and sharing 3D scenes and assets including full-body scans, 2D and 3D maps, and 3D printing.
- Agisoft Metashape: A commercial program to process digital images and generate 3D spatial data with a high degree of accuracy. Designed more for commercial and scientific uses, it’s ideal for advanced photogrammetry work.
- ReCap Pro by Autodesk: Another powerful commercial photogrammetry tool, it is used to scan and create 3D models from imported photographs and laser scans and works with the cloud for collaborative team projects.
Wikipedia offers a comparison list of photogrammetry software that might help you explore the potential out there.
Here are some articles with more information and suggestions for photogrammetry software and tools for educators and students include:
- Ultimate List of Free Photogrammetry Software – 3D Knowledge
- List of Free Photogrammetry Software – 3D Beginners
- Top 10 Best Photogrammetry Software For All Levels – 3Dnatives
- Best photogrammetry software in 2020: Which one should you choose? – Sculpteo
Mark Jeffcock teaches with Try Universe as part of the Computer Science in VR workshops and classes in AltspaceVR and elsewhere. Check their course schedule for upcoming courses, and the other excellent Unity and VR-based workshops and classes. We are working on bringing him back for more, so let us know if there are specific topics you would be interested in.
We’re pleased to announce that Educators in VR is a part of the support team for the Holiday Storytelling community event series in AltspaceVR this year. We need your help to fill up social VR with holiday stories, traditional and original.
This event comes at a very unique time in our history and societies. Holidays are a time for the gathering of families around food and tradition, a time when the stories of old and new are shared. Hanukah has started, which should be bringing families together around the world for the Jewish holiday. The United States is a quarantine away from Thanksgiving (2 weeks). We’re fast coming up to Advent in December, then Winter Solstice, and just over a month away from the Christmas holidays.
With so many this year isolating and far from family, we will break that isolation in social VR. Now is the time to gather together in a more intimate way than an online conference. It’s easy. A headset is appreciated but not necessary to access. AltspaceVR is now accessible with Windows 10 in the Microsoft Windows and Steam stores. It is available for the Mac in 2D. Bring your family and friends together in VR.
This is also a great opportunity to work with students of all ages to encourage them to tell or share their own holiday stories in VR.
To participate, find a holiday story that is preferably in the public domain, or share your own unique holiday story. It may be done in any language. Please state the language in the title or first line of the event description to attract an audience in that language.
- Create a 30 minute event in AltspaceVR.
- Have at least one moderator for the event in addition to the reader(s). Requests for moderators are to be made in the AltspaceVR Discord > Events > #moderators-needed channel with the hashtag #storytelling.
- Choose a template from the AltspaceVR offerings or build a world for telling the story, ensuring the Diagnostics are all green.
- Instructions for creating events are found in AltspaceVR in the InfoZone or ask for help from anyone with a green (Community Helper) or gold (staff) border around their name tag.
- Post a link to the event with the hashtag #storytelling in the AltspaceVR Discord > Events > #promotion channel.
- If you would like, also post a link to the event in the Educators in VR Discord > #workshops channel.
If you, your family, your class, and/or students would like to join us in spreading the joy of storytelling for the holidays, the specifications are in the Holiday Storytelling Guide (PDF).
The following are storytelling events already set through the season in AltspaceVR. Check the event and the AltspaceVR Events Calendar for the time in your time zone.
- Twas the Night Before Christmas:
- Polar Express:
- Creative Writing Meetup Writers share their Holiday Storytelling original works:
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
- Christmas at Red Butte and other Holiday Stories:
Come join all of us by creating your own holiday storytelling event. Or bring friends to the ones you will soon find filling the AltspaceVR event calendar. We’re eager to hear your stories from wherever you are in the world and in your life. Please help us celebrate the holidays together in VR.
Educators in VR presents VR Event Hosts Speak Out, taking place on AltspaceVR on October 23, 2020, featuring Jeremy D. Nickel, MysterySteve, Andy Fidel, Chris Samuelson, Don Ainsworth, and Donna McTaggart. Together, this panel represents pioneers in social VR with over 3,000 cumulative hours hosting VR events.
The event is part of the second annual Cyberbullying Month by Educators in VR, raising awareness and offering training and support sessions covering bullying in the real world and cyber, especially in virtual reality social spaces. For information on how to RSVP and attend an Educators in VR event in VR, we have a simple guide for you.
This panel discussion brings together several passionate event experts/leaders who will share their experiences to bring more awareness regarding bullying at their events. We will discuss trolling, disruptions, bullying from the audience, their techniques and guidelines of the event experts to protect their events from attacks in a virtual space.
Over the years, many event organizers and communities in the social VR space often suffer from various harassment caused by children, trolls or drunks who thought it was funny to disturb others. Unlike web trolls that deliberately offend others and upset them with written words, individuals intend on disruption consider the challenge to use a virtual world on a room scale to disrupt in a variety of ways. Examples include targeting individuals, the host(s), or the entire audience by getting uncomfortably close, violating the person’s or the audience personal space and experience (Nafarrete, 2016) or disturb special event or meetings of online communities.
While better connecting the world and democratizing information, the internet has allowed individuals to hide behind masks of anonymity. Apart from the fact that more and more attention is being paid to different cyberbullying campaigns, statistics focused on online bullying show that this problem won’t be over very soon. For example, Google Trends data for 2020 shows that there’s much more attention focused on cyberbullying. The volume of worldwide searches for the word ‘Cyberbullying’ increased threefold since 2004. Besides cyberbullying at several social media platforms, bullying and embarrassment can also be a big problem in virtual spaces, like so on virtual events.
While you may think these disruptions, trolling, harassed and bullying from the audience are sadly enough very common in the world of organizing VR events, many social VR platforms like AltspaceVR have instituted event moderation tools and strong community standards and policies that remind users that there’s a real person behind every avatar. By introducing an empathic approach to changing behavior and changing attitudes, these platforms strive to change each other’s hearts and minds.
Educators in VR and their event panel of experts and leaders are excited to share different experiences to encourage others, give self-confidence and show that organizing is still exciting and fun.
Jeremy D. Nickel of EvolVR
Rev. Jeremy D. Nickel is an ordained Unitarian Universalist Minister, he currently serves as the acting Lead Minister of the UU Congregation of Boulder, CO, as well as being the Founder of EvolVR, the world’s first VR Sangha and Spiritual community. As part of his role at EvolVR he leads weekly Overview Effect themed meditations in Virtual Reality in which groups of people from around the world slowly float from the surface of planet Earth to a near earth orbit. When not in Virtual Reality he can be found in Boulder, CO with his wife, Rev. Nicole Lamarche, and daughter Eliza, where they enjoy spending as much time exploring the great outdoors as humanly possible.
MysterySteve, event host/co-owner, We Are ImproVR
Mystery Steve (Stevieboy) is a co-owner of We Are ImproVR, a company that produces improv comedy events in AltspaceVR. He cohosts 3 shows, including “Improv Night w/ Stevieboy and Shoseki,” “A Thing In A Place,” and “Loco And Stevie’s Talking Hour.” For over 3 years he’s been doing comedy in AltspaceVR with the amazing help of his fellow cohosts, wonderful family of moderators and everyone who decides to get involved. His goal is to help as many people as possible to see how interesting they truly are by giving them a platform to show off their life and skills during his events. When he isn’t hosting any shows, he often draws cartoons that more often than not are based off of the wacky ideas thought up by his friends from the aforementioned events.
Andy Fidel of #GetSocial
Spatial Network Evangelist Andy Fidel creates social experiences for remote communities. Founder of #GetSocial, a digital network for emerging technology enthusiasts and creators. This team has produced over 700 events across the multiverse with the aim to engage people in future conversations. They host fireside chats, summits, conference extensions, and experiential hangouts for community and enterprise. Making local conversations, global discussions. Andy studies the impact of VR/AR on digital communications and what the future holds for human connection. She and her team explore the social side of immersive reality hosting weekly chats on virtual identities, collaborative tools, multiverse communities, connected learning, and accessibility. She has collaborated with AltspaceVR by Microsoft, WXR Fund, Verizon 5G Labs, VRScout, YouTube VR Creator Lab, Educators in VR, and communities at large across the multiverse.
Chris Samuelson, event host, LGBTQ+ and Friends
Chris is the host of the VR LGBTQ and Friends Meetups. He ran this event for the last 3 and a half years giving the community a place to meet, hang out in a safe and fun environment. With multiple events throughout every week, he catered to the community from all around the world. Many of the groups’ members are highly active in the VR-community, supporting a wide range of events as volunteers and moderators, and they also organize meetings in the real world.
Don Ainsworth, event host/co-owner, A Think in a Place and Let’s Talk
Don Ainsworth is the co-developer of “A Thing in a Place” comedy podcast with Stevieboy, and creator of “Let’s Talk,” a unique virtual reality show about life, death, and everything in between. Don is famous for just pushing limits, in the real world and virtual, it doesn’t matter.
Donna McTaggart, Educators in VR, Live Loved
Donna McTaggart is the Event Coordinator, Conference and Production Manager, and Project Manager of Educators in VR. Her expertise in VR event production is unparalleled. She is also founder of the company, KAOS, and has twenty years’ experience working with small, international businesses to provide accounting and operational software solutions and implementation services including training, consulting, and mentoring of Microsoft Office products and other office software. She is the co-founder of the Social Media Breakfast in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and continues to lead this group over the past 10 years. She is also a longtime volunteer, coordinator, and get-things done leader with Calgary events and activities as well as a leader and member of the VRARA Alberta group, Educators in VR, Virtual World Society, and many other non-profit and social good organizations.
If you want to know more about this topic or how to handle cyberbullying while hosting an VR event, we invite you to join our panel discussion. We will be inviting questions to the panelists to ask them about their methods, techniques, feelings, guidelines, working with moderators, and on how to protect their events from attacks.
If you want to know more about this topic or how to handle cyberbullying while hosting an VR event, we invite you to join our panel discussion. We will be inviting questions to the panelists to ask them about their methods, techniques, feelings, guidelines, working with moderators, and on how to protect their events from attacks.
Educators in VR still maintains last year’s list of Cyberbullying Resources and Research, and hosts regular Cyberbullying Team Project Meetups in AltspaceVR that are open to the public for workshops and open discussions on cyberbullying, harm reduction, prevention, taking action, and how to protect yourself. Also see the research article, “The Extended Mind – Virtual Harassment, The social experience of 600+ regular Virtual Reality users” (2018, 04 03).
Educators in VR is dedicated to providing educational events, trainings, and workshops for educators and learners to prepare them for the future of spatial technologies in education. We offer weekly workshops, socials, and special events in AltspaceVR, ENGAGE, and other platforms featuring key educators, trainers, and developers in VR, AR, XR, and MR technology and education.
You may attend our events in VR or with a Windows 10 or Mac computer. For more information, see our guide on how to attend Educators in VR events.
Join our Educators in VR Discord group, Facebook, and follow us on Twitter for information on workshops and how to become more involved. Consider subscribing to our Educators in VR event subscription channel to receive regular reminders of upcoming events there. We publish member brags and news you can use about virtual reality in education across the entire spectrum of usage from childhood education to health and science to corporate.
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.
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.
- It helps to bring my students and the target language out of the classroom.
- It helps to use the language as a meaningful tool in various activities.
- 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.
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.