Educators in VR: Good-bye 2019, Hello 2020

Now that we are starting off a new year and a new decade, we want to take a moment to look back on all that we’ve accomplished in our first year and be amazed. When Daniel told me he wanted our tagline to be “The sky is no longer the limit,” I thought it was cute. I didn’t realize it would become our motto.

Seriously, in spite of many personal disruptions, Daniel Dyboski-Bryant and myself have worked long hours in addition to full-time jobs to develop Educators in VR on a shoestring budget. Its success as a membership community and social profit company based in the UK is amazing because of you.

Educators in VR Meetup 2018 in Altspace - emojis to celebrate the first event.What started out as a conversation between four educators to host a social meetup to explore educators using VR for research and integration into the classroom exploded into weekly educational and training workshops and presentations in AltspaceVR, ENGAGE, and other social and educational platforms, and, coming in February, a ground-breaking six-day virtual conference called “2020 Educators in VR International Summit.”

In the past 13 months, Educators in VR has accomplished the following:

  • Hosted 48 workshops and meetups in AltspaceVR.
  • Hosted multiple events in ENGAGE, rumii, and Mozilla Hubs (with more on the way).
  • Averaged 40 attendees at each event (the cap in AltspaceVR for the past 6 months was 40 so that means standing room only. Before then, we averaged 80.).
  • Reached an audience estimated to be about 4,000 just in AltspaceVR across over 80 workshop hours.
  • Educators in VR Immersive Classroom Event in the Last Glacier with Lorelle VanFossen.Hosted 550 members on our Discord server, and our Facebook group is about the same with some overlap between the two. Discord is our most active social platform with over 7,700 comments in less than a year, and we’ve over 1,000 followers on Twitter.
  • Attracted 3,000 pageviews on our website in a few months time with little or no marketing.
  • Developed seven different educational workshops, along with a dozen variations for specific audiences.
  • Presented live virtual and in-person workshops at AWE, VRX2019 Conference in Amsterdam, and the VR/AR Global Summit for the VR/AR Association.
  • Co-hosted over 6 hours of the 24-hour International VR Day in November.
  • Presented 5 special events, speakers, and panels on cyberbullying in virtual reality as part of honoring Cyberbullying Month in AltspaceVR.
  • Featured in “Getting Social with VR Education” with VR Focus, AltspaceVR Community Spotlight: Educators in VR, Educators in VR Meetup by The Virtual Reality Podcast, and other media.
  • Educators in VR Event Space and World in AltspaceVR.Lorelle built a custom event world for Educators in VR, and Mark S. of the UK took the prototype and turned into into a marvelous event and social space for our weekly workshops and social gatherings.
  • Continue to develop scholarship and donation programs to help fund educational programs for integration of VR into the classroom and provide equipment for students and educators in need.

The Educators in VR Project Teams

Educators in VR vLanguage LearningOf all the things we are proud of accomplishing this year, we are the most proud of our Project Team leaders and members. These are truly passionate and inspired people who’ve taken on leading these special project teams to host events, workshops, and dive even deeper into the research and curriculum for their specialties. I’d like you to meet them.

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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.

Share Your Favorite Virtual Reality Experience

We’ve started a new discussion area in our Educators in VR Discord group called Favorite VR Experiences.

We are inviting our members to share a special experience with virtual reality. It could be your first time in VR, a story about a particular student or person, or maybe a memory that just stays with you.

Already we have the following:

One is my very first experience of VR. Bought a cheap mobile VR headset with no idea of what VR is. Next thing I was in the International Space Station find a virtual tour. Despite the quality, I was blown away instantly. I’ve never looked back. I’m all in.
Daniel Dyboski-Bryant

I think that every time that I get a student or a colleague to try VR for the first time. They just go really quiet for a few seconds, which is then followed by a series of ‘oh wow’ statements for the following few minutes. The ability to bring that level of happiness, enjoyment and enlightenment to individuals is just priceless.
Tim Jackson

Image from Star Chart VR App.

I knew my 80 year old mother would adore virtual reality, so I wanted to engage her immediately. A long time fan of all things outer space, I choose one of the space apps that takes you, literally, out into space visiting distance stars and planets. We were in her large master bathroom and she was standing next to me in her nighty, and I so wish I had a picture of that moment. She put the Samsung Gear headset on and stood next to me, ooing and awing about the journey through the stars, gasping at the speed she could travel through space to stand in front of a planet, reading all the information. She laughed and was having way too much fun – until she started looking in all directions and looked down. “Where are my legs! I don’t have any legs!” She backed away and lost her balance. I grabbed her and caught her nightie, yanking her over against me so she wouldn’t fall back and hit the tub, holding onto her with everything I had. I was so engaged and enthralled with her immersive joy in VR, the sudden mix of terror that I almost killed my mother with VR is something we still laugh about.
Lorelle VanFossen

Come join the fun and share your favorite experience in VR. And we look forward to seeing you at our next Educators in VR meetup tomorrow.