Educators in VR Social July 30, 2019

Educators in VR - Social with Balloons

It’s time to party! Tuesday, July 30, 2019, Educators in VR members are invited to the first-ever “Educators in VR Social in AltspaceVR.”

This will be a great opportunity it meet and greet your fellow virtual reality pioneers and get to know them. It’s also a great time to look back over much of the last year to celebrate what we’ve accomplished. And we’ve accomplished much.

Educators in VR had our first meetup in AltspaceVR in November last year. We’ve had monthly meetups featuring some of the most powerful voices in spatial technology education ever since, and in June, added weekly Educators in VR Workshops and an Educators in VR on the Road series exploring various educational and social virtual platforms beginning with Engage. We now have so many events in AltspaceVR, we have an event subscription channel for Educators in VR in AltspaceVR to help you keep track of all the things we are doing there.

We created our website, Educators in VR, a VERY active and engaged Educators in VR Discord group, Facebook group, and Twitter to connect and share information and research on virtual technologies in education, celebrate our member achievements, and to bring great like-minds together to collaborate.

In July, Daniel Dyboski-Bryant (Wales, UK) and Lorelle VanFossen (Oregon, USA) officially created the business of Educators in VR Ltd. in the UK. We are working on an international virtual summit across multiple virtual platforms for November, so stay tuned for news on that. This event needs you to make it a success, so please let us know if you are able to help.

After a very busy past few months, with Daniel and Lorelle speaking at various in-world and virtual conferences around the world, developed new workshops and classes, and developed the business plan, we are taking a short break in August. Get ready for a ton of Educators in VR education and fun in September!

Educators in VR represents educators, trainers, researchers, schools, businesses, and learners integrating virtual technologies into education. To become more involved, join our Educators in VR Discord group, Facebook, and follow up on Twitter for information on meetups 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.

Attend the Educators in VR Social Party in AltspaceVR

We meet in AltspaceVR, a free virtual reality social app and community. You may RSVP on our events page and AltspaceVR will send you a reminder an hour before the event.

You may attend as a guest or member using the free AltspaceVR mobile app or 2D version. AltspaceVR is available for Samsung Gear, Steam Store for HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for Rift, Go, and Quest (sideloaded) users. If you do not have a VR device, you may also install the 2D version for use on your Windows desktop computer version. A headset and microphone (quality earbuds acceptable) is required to participate. Otherwise please stay muted during the event as the background noise and echoes can be disruptive. For more information on accessing and installing AltspaceVR, check out their download web page.

Weekly Workshop: Rob Theriault, Paramedic Training in VR

Simulation Training for Paramedics - Rob Theriault.

Our next Educators in VR Weekly Workshop will feature Rob Theriault, professor of paramedics training at Georgian College in Ontario, Canada. A paramedic with over 35 years experience, he teaches paramedic training programs in the real world and virtual reality. Yes, you read that right, and we are very excited to have Rob take us into his virtual classroom to demonstrate how he uses “Online Learning in Immersive VR.”

In this fascinating presentation in AltspaceVR on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, Rob will be showing us his VR worlds to generate discussion on how we might use VR moving into the future. He explained:

Asynchronous online learning is an isolated experience for most students. Adding a synchronous component helps to break that isolation and meets the needs of students in a way that might not be addressed as easily through asynchronous communication. Immersive virtual reality offers an even deeper connection with classmates and teachers. The sense of presence and special audio feels more like a face to face experience than the traditional webcasting platforms used for synchronous online learning. But VR also offers us the opportunity as educators to re-imagine online learning – to make it experiential rather than trying to replicate the classroom experience.

Rob Theriault is a paramedic-educators, author, researcher, EdTech and extended reality provocateur, and what he describes as “shift disturber.” In other words, one of us. A pioneer and innovator in virtual technologies.

You may RSVP for the July 24th event on AltspaceVR and you will receive an email reminding you an hour before the event.

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 in AltspaceVR and other platforms, and a monthly meetup featuring key educators, trainers, and developers in VR, AR, XR, and MR technology and education.

We meet in AltspaceVR, a free virtual reality social app and community. You may RSVP on our events page and AltspaceVR will send you a reminder an hour before the event. Alan has also built several worlds in AltspaceVR that attract a wide range of visitors, developing innovative virtual entertainment and meeting spaces.

You may attend as a guest or member using the free AltspaceVR mobile app or 2D version. AltspaceVR is available for Samsung Gear, Steam Store for HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for Rift, Go, and Quest (sideloaded) users. If you do not have a VR device, you may also install the 2D version for use on your Windows desktop computer version. A headset and microphone (quality earbuds acceptable) is required to participate. Otherwise please stay muted during the event as the background noise and echoes can be disruptive. For more information on accessing and installing AltspaceVR, check out their download web page.

Join our Educators in VR Discord group, Facebook, and follow us on Twitter for information on meetups 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.

Educators in VR on the Road: Engage

ENGAGE is a virtual reality education and corporate training platform that Educators in VR have been working with for months, learning how it works, all its amazing features, and providing feedback on improvements as an educational space. The team at Engage have been amazing to work with, and we are eager to showcase it for our first Educators in VR on the Road series.

Engage Platform - Venus Recorded Presentation

Join us Friday, July 19, 2019, in Engage. Educators in VR co-founder Daniel Dyboski Bryant and the Engage team will be introducing us to the platform and giving us a full tour. Here is a teaser:

When it comes to educational and training VR platforms, Engage is pushing the limits for a high quality, realistic platform. Engage has been working with top specialized educators to develop lessons available for immediately study,

Engage - Meeting with Educators in VR

bringing experts right to your classroom. It has a set of shared 360 surround video viewing made simple and easy to use. There are 1,200+ interactive assets ready to use for sharing and manipulating. For educators needing to film their classes or incorporate screen recording and filming into the educational process, Engage’s ability for spacial recording, immediate playback, and in-world editing is ideal.

Engage comes ready to use or they will work with you to build your own educational and training events for live or recorded interaction. It was build for monetizing as a platform, opening up so many possibilities.

We are eager to show off Engage this Friday so RSVP immediately. There are only room for twenty attendees and there are only a few seats left for this free event.

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 in AltspaceVR and other platforms, and a monthly meetup featuring key educators, trainers, and developers in VR, AR, XR, and MR technology and education.

Join our Educators in VR Discord group, Facebook, and follow us on Twitter for information on meetups 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.

Educators in VR Meetup: July 18 with Marie Graham

Marie Graham - Mount Vernon Presbyterian School Atlanta GeorgiaThe next Educators in VR Meetup is July 18, 2019, in AltspaceVR, and we are thrilled to host Marie Graham, Director of VR/AR at the Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, Atlanta, Georgia, presenting “Immersive Realities, Design Thinking, and Students Using Technology for Good.”

An immersive technology evangelist, Marie Graham is the director of a high school VR/AR Lab, a teacher of humanities and innovation. She leads and learns with an amazing group of students and faculty at Mount Vernon School. Partnering with Alienware, HTC Vive, and Oculus, her school created a VR/AR lab where students create non-gaming content that positively impacts both local and international communities. In her former life, she was a certified nurse-midwife and family nurse practitioner, and is a passionate writer, painter, and traveler.

Design, creativity, and empathy are key points she makes in her work, and with the presentation she will be sharing with us July 18. Even for students without coding experience, Marie develops innovative, impactful VR/AR content and programs for a variety of industries. She explains:

Almost every industry is impacted by immersive technology, and students have the opportunity now to focus this innovation towards designing a better world. As director of virtual and augmented reality lab in Atlanta, Georgia, a school steeped in Design Thinking, I will share the creation of a unique, thriving VR/AR lab in partnership with Dell/Alienware, HTC Vive, and Oculus that asks students to create non-gaming content with industry leaders to make the world a better place through empathy and design. My students are currently working with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) creating content for pediatric rehab patients (three current prototypes), designing a VR lab and content for tribal children in Muvalia, India, and filming an immersive 360 video for patrons in a local history museum. Getting out of the way of students allows them to harness this powerful technology that leaves them not only future-ready, but empathizing in a way that leaves them better human beings.

Here are just a few examples of why we are so excited to have Marie Graham be a part of Educators in VR.

Her hour-long presentation will include questions and answers and time for socializing, an opportunity to meet other educators and students with a vested interest in spatial technologies from around the world.

Our next meetup is September 19, 2019. Educators in VR will be taking a break during August, as we hope you do as well, and will be back with a full line of great speakers and weekly workshops on educational topics on VR, AR, XR, and teaching in the virtual world.

Join our Educators in VR Discord group, Facebook, and follow up on Twitter for information on meetups and how to become more involved. 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.

Educators in VR Meetup in AltspaceVR

We meet in AltspaceVR, a free virtual reality social app and community. You may RSVP on our events page and AltspaceVR will send you a reminder an hour before the event. Alan has also built several worlds in AltspaceVR that attract a wide range of visitors, developing innovative virtual entertainment and meeting spaces.

You may attend as a guest or member using the free AltspaceVR mobile app or 2D version. AltspaceVR is available for Samsung Gear, Steam Store for HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for Rift, Go, and Quest (sideloaded) users. If you do not have a VR device, you may also install the 2D version for use on your Windows desktop computer version. A headset and microphone (quality earbuds acceptable) is required to participate. Otherwise please stay muted during the event as the background noise and echoes can be disruptive. For more information on accessing and installing AltspaceVR, check out their download web page.

Educators in VR Weekly Workshops: Immersive Classroom

After months of planning, Educators in VR announces the first of our weekly workshops in AltspaceVR and other social VR and educational platforms, Educators in VR Immersive Classroom Workshop, exploring “The Last Glacier” Tuesday, July 2, 2019.

Instead of talking about climate change and the impact of glaciers on our ecosystem or showing videos, imagine climbing a mountain to explore the glaciers, slipping and sliding down to an ice cave as part of your lesson. The Last Glacier is an educational world designed for Earth Day that takes the visitor on a collaborative journey through the geo-science of glaciers and icebergs, and an exploration of an ice cave, representing one of the few remaining on the planet.

Ice Cave - The Last Glacier - Immersive Classroom by Lorelle VanFossen.

The Last Glacier is an interactive classroom experience representing immersive classroom experiences in maths and sciences, humanities, current events, and discovery exercises with multi-modal educational opportunities as well as leadership and team building exercises. In addition to exploring and learning from this virtual classroom, we discuss the benefits and concerns of teaching in an immersive environment and offer tips and techniques for creating your own immersive educational world for your class or as homework.

Ice Cave Tunnels - The Last Glacier - Lorelle VanFossen

This is the first of many weekly workshops produced by Educators in VR. Next Tuesday is our first Educators in VR 101, a workshop and tutorial on the basics of using virtual reality in education, covering terminology, devices, tips, and techniques. Upcoming topics for the weekly workshops include:

  • Creating and Hosting an Educational Event on Virtual Reality Platforms.
  • Creating a Virtual Training Space.
  • Health and Medical VR/AR/XR Technologies.
  • User Experience in VR.
  • Language Learning in VR/AR.
  • Product Showcases.
  • Virtual World Building in AltspaceVR.
  • Pros and Cons of the Virtual Classroom.

Our next Educators in VR Meetup is July 18 featuring Marie Graham, Director of VR/AR at the Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, presenting “Immersive Realities, Design Thinking, and Students Using Technology for Good.”

For information on attending an Educators in VR workshop or event in virtual reality, we have About – Educators in VRattendance information for you.

If you are an educator using virtual and mixed realities, please contact us to discuss presenting a 20-40 minute workshop in virtual reality. We use a variety of educational and virtual social platforms.

Educators in VR Meetup June 6, 2019: Amanda Fox

Amanda Fox of Foxbrite

The next meeting of Educators in VR in AltspaceVR is June 6, 2019. Amanda Fox, Creative Director of FoxBrite LLC (STEAMPunksEdu), is an educational pioneer and author of Teachingland: A Teacher’s Guide to the Classroom Apocalypse. She will be speaking on AR in Teachingland. The meetup event is free, open to the public, and will be in AltspaceVR. Information on access is listed below.

Amanda has taught English Language Arts, Social Studies, Film, Journalism, and now leads STEAM programs via her startup STEAMPunksEdu– in Louisville, Kentucky. Recipient of the 2016 ISTE Emerging Leader Award, recognized as a PBS Digital innovator for her initiatives in enhancing student learning with technology, Amanda also served as President of the Young Educator Network for ISTE, and received the President’s Volunteer Award. Her current project, the Zom-Be kids book series, sees her introducing design thinking to elementary students, and is the first of a series.

She is also host of The Virtual Reality Podcast, interviewing VR and AR industry experts and educators from around the world.

She has an affinity for coffee mugs, nerdy t-shirts, and can always be found in heels. You may connect with Amanda on Twitter @AmandaFoxSTEM.

Join our Educators in VR Discord group for information on meetups and how to become more involved. 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.

Educators in VR Meetup in AltspaceVR

We meet in AltspaceVR, a free virtual reality social app and community. You may RSVP on our events page and AltspaceVR will send you a reminder an hour before the event. Alan has also built several worlds in AltspaceVR that attract a wide range of visitors, developing innovative virtual entertainment and meeting spaces.

You may attend as a guest or member using the free AltspaceVR mobile app or 2D version. AltspaceVR is available for Samsung Gear, Steam Store for HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for Rift, Go, and Quest (sideloaded through the APK) users. If you do not have a VR device, you may also install the 2D version for use on your Windows desktop computer version. A headset and microphone (quality earbuds acceptable) is required to participate. Otherwise please stay muted during the event as the background noise and echoes can be disruptive. For more information on accessing and installing AltspaceVR, check out their download web page.

Virtual Reality Pioneer: Tom Furness

Tom FurnessIn November 2015, Tom Furness, considered the grandfather of virtual reality, sat down with the team at Voices of the VR Podcast for an in depth interview called “#245: 50 years of VR with Tom Furness: The Super Cockpit, Virtual Retinal Display, HIT Lab, & Virtual World Society.” It’s still worth a listen and read.

Tom Furness has been thinking about virtual reality longer than most VR users have been alive. He built some of the first helmet-mounted displays for the US Air Force, and what would become the Super Cockpit. Leaving the military, he helped found the Human Interface Technology Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, and created the non-profit, educational association, the Virtual World Society.

The Super Cockpit design by Tom Furness for the US Military.

From the University of Washington Faculty bios:

[Tom Furness] is the inventor of the personal eyewear display, the virtual retinal display, the HALO display and holds 19 patents in advanced sensor, display and interface technologies. With his colleagues Dr. Furness has started 27 companies, two of which are traded on NASDAQ at a market capitalization of > $8 B (USD). In 1998 he received the Discover Award for his invention of the virtual retinal display.

In addition to his academic appointments, Dr. Furness was the Chairman and President of the first Augmented Reality Company: ARToolworks Inc. recently acquire by DAQRI. He also runs his own ‘skunkworks’ company: RATLab LLC (RAT = rockin’ and thinkin’) where he and his colleagues develop advanced technologies for spinoff companies. His current projects deal with developing pulse diagnosis as an early warning system for cardiovascular disease and the start-up of the Virtual World Society, a non-profit for extending virtual reality as a learning system for families.

Tom is also co-inventor of the SPM (spectral matching) technology licensed to Visualant Inc. He continues to serve as a Senior Scientific Advisor for the company and recently received the 2013 SPIE Prism Award for his invention of the ChromaID technology.

Projects by the Virtual World Society include helping 28 sixth grade students at Robert Eagle Staff Middle School in Seattle, overseen by a team of University of Washington engineering students, build virtual worlds that teach STEM subjects related to gravity, light, scale, and momentum. Continue reading

Accessibility, Disabilities, and Virtual Reality Solutions

Microsoft Cantroller example of usage for visually impaired in virtual reality.
What is it like to see for the first time? UploadVR reported the story of Jamie Soar who experienced seeing for the first time in 2016. Not because of surgery or some amazing medicines, but because he had donned a VR headset.

As the headset fired up its loading room demo Soar found himself in a state of shock. His whole life he had been forced to lean in close to computer screens, books, televisions, people, anything just to get a clear look. But inside this revolutionary new device, he discovered a world that was leaning in to him.

The unique technical design of a VR headset was having something of a counteractive effect to Soar’s Pigmentosa. These contraptions may be designed to provide the illusion of depth through special lenses, but in physical reality the screens they are employing are mere centimeters away from a user’s face. This, coupled with the dual-screen projection method of the Vive — in which every single image a user sees is actually two images relayed to separate screens in front of each eyeball — ended up being the perfect storm of factors to judo-flip Soar’s typical visual impairments and render his vision closer to normal than he had experienced in decades.

Accessibility issues are a top priority in education as educators are often on the front lines to ensure equal access to all, and few things are more profound than helping a student experience and see, literally and figuratively. In the United States, 40 million Americans are classified as disabled, 12.6% of the population. Disabled World reports that 15% of the world’s population has some form of disability, and estimates that 33% of 20 year-old workers will become disabled before reaching retirement age, which ties in with the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Report in 2018 stating 1 in 4 US adults have a disability that “impacts major life activities.” An estimated 200 million people globally are visually impaired, though World Health Organization estimates 1.3 billion people live with some form of vision impairment, the majority of them over 50 years of age. These numbers are considered under-reported estimates.

Virtual reality provides opportunities for many for socialization, adventure, and experiences they may not enjoy in the real world. Those with autism, social anxieties, and mental health challenges find comfort and safety in virtual social apps and experiences. Many visually impaired VR users discover they can literally see more than they can without VR, opening up visual worlds and experiences they’ve not been able to access in the real world. Alex Lee shared his story in ALPHR about seeing more in VR after losing his sight, quoting Gary Rubin, professor of visual funtion and rehabilitation at UCL:

“The closer something is, the more magnified it is. Placing two screens inches from your eyes is essentially making things larger by filling your field of vision. Additionally, the device will have automatic gain control, which will adjust and boost the contrast of the scene. Contrast is very important in making things visible.”

This was one of many inspirations for Educators in VR to bring you more meetups and workshops on accessibility in the future. We’ve been researching the various topics of disabilities associated with virtual reality and spatial technologies, from the perspective of learners, researchers, and educators, and want to share a few of our findings and discoveries with you. It is a vast topic, so please let us know what topics and areas of study you wish for us to bring to our meetups and workshops in the comments or on our Educators in VR Discord group. Continue reading

Educators in VR Speaking at AWE 2019

AWE 2019 AWE Social XR Experience Banner

AWE USA 2019 is May 29-31, 2019, and Educators in VR will be there to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of this amazing event.

Daniel Dyboski-Bryant is flying to California to represent us in person, and Lorelle VanFossen will be attending and speaking virtually, both representing Educators in VR and our vision of the future.

Daniel and Lorelle will be speaking as part of the #AWE Conference Experience in Social XR, focusing on mobile XR in addition to Educators in VR’s Borderless Classroom project.

Friday, May 31, at 10:30AM PST, Daniel and Lorelle will be on the Education Panel hosted by Mike McCready alongside Dr. Sana Farid (Munfarid), Morgan R Mercer (Vantage Point VR), and Arjita Alka Sethi (Equally). An hour after that event at 12:00 PST, Daniel will be hosting a Master Class on Borderless Classrooms.

Events will be hosted in AltspaceVR, a free 3D/2D social VR platform, and rumii, a virtual educational software platform.

The Augmented World Expo (AWE) event includes developers, corporate industry representatives, startups, product leaders, investors, and creators of VR, AR, and XR, leaders in spatial technologies. Jimm Heppelmann of PTC will be presenting on the new essential capabilities of an AR strategy. Alisha Seam of the AT&T Foundry will be on a panel with other telecom representatives to cover how Edge Compute and 5G are opening the door to enabling pervasive XR. Avi Bar-Zeev of RealityPrime, Tish Shute of Futurewei Technologies, and Johnathan Hirshon of Horizon Communications will be tackling the concerns of privacy in virtual and augmented reality. The speaker list represents the best and brightest in the industry along with some great innovative startups, alongside Educators in VR.

Tickets are still available for this 3-day event. Individual registration for the two speaking events featuring Educators in VR are on Eventbrite for the 10-11AM PST Education Panel Discussion and Borderless Classroom Master Class in AltspaceVR at noon on Friday, May 31. Hope to see you there.

Educators in VR Featured on AltspaceVR Community Spotlight

AltspaceVR Meetup location for Educators in VR

Daniel Dyboshi-Bryant and Lorelle VanFossen, founders of Educators in VR, were featured in a recent article on the AltspaceVR blog, “Community Spotlight: Educators in VR.” The emailed interview introduces the two educators and describes their vested interest in both Educators in VR and AltspaceVR as a virtual social platform and educational space, and discusses their passion for Educators in VR.

Daniel: The idea behind the monthly events is to bring together a community of educators, trainers, researchers, organizations, and startups who meet, share, and learn — in VR — so that we are “walking the talk.”

Each month we choose a topic relevant to VR in education and invite a speaker or panel of speakers to share their insights, experiences, and resources with the community. So far we have covered VR Education research projects from Australian and German universities, presented some start-ups in the field from Finland and the US, hosted a speaker from Australia who is managing and scaling provision of immersive technologies at an organization with 500,000 learners, and heard an expert speak about harassment in VR. Next week, we have a panel of speakers discussing diversity and inclusion in VR and education.

Lorelle: Our goal is to connect the dots between administration, faculty, teachers, and students through our shared experiences and expertise. Grad students connect with educators experimenting with VR training in everything from surgery to automotive mechanics.

Attendees range from trainers to doctorates, and every educator level in between, who specialize in topics such as digital storytelling, cyberbullying, sexual harassment, automotive repair and maintenance, medical research and education, aviation… The ways virtual reality is being used in education is stunning and impressive.

Check out the rest of the article on the AltspaceVR blog.