Cyberbullying Project Team Meetups

NEST logo.In 2019, Educators in VR honored Cyberbullying and National Bullying Month with multiple events and resources to help our members and community understand how to respond to cyberbullying. We will be repeating that month-long series in October 2020. Over the past few weeks, AltspaceVR and other social VR and online platforms have faced cyber-crime attacks.

We are thrilled to revitalize our Cyberbullying Team Project to open up discussions about this issue from a variety of vantage points, from real-world to virtual, with Erica Siegal, beginning this Wednesday, July 8, in AltspaceVR with our free Cyberbullying Project Event.

Erica Siegal, known as ZenPanda, is a therapist and founder of NEST, Network of Emotional Support Teams, specializing in harm reduction training, prevention, and consulting to organizations and individuals with direct and indirect experiences of trauma and prevention. As a harm reduction provider, Erica offers services and trainings that address the most common and the most serious issues that impact organizations and teams, including assault, harassment, sexual assault, interpersonal conflict, altered states & substance use, staff burnout & compassion fatigue, communicating consent & boundaries through preparedness training, crisis response, informed consent training, staff wellness education, compassionate leadership training, and mediation and peer-to-peer support.

PandaNEST has an amazing line-up of topics and experts for these weekly sessions. She will bring to these weekly meetups and workshops covering the above topics and more, helping you learn how to provide support and resources through compassionate leadership, but also to understand the complexities associated with all forms of bullying and intimidation so you can better support yourself, your family, co-workers, and your community.

We invite you to suggest topics for discussion and guest speakers in our Discord #cyberbullying team channel. If you would like to get involved and help support this team project, please join us there and be a part of the discussion.

With recent cyber-crime attacks in AltspaceVR and other virtual platforms, as well as the increase in troll activity as more and more people move into the social VR community, now is the time to explore this topic and we’re so excited to have PandaNEST on board!

Expect these sessions to touch upon sensitive areas. Please remember, these are NOT therapy sessions but may serve as support, sharing, and resource access opportunities.

Team project event in AltspaceVR.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.

Educators in VR Team Projects are lead by experts in their field of study and interest and are designed to bring together others passionate about these topics and the spatial technologies and industries represented. We have team projects on language learning arts, virtual coaching and self-development, math, science, cultural heritage preservation, and so much more. We’d love for you to be involved and maybe lead your own team project.

Consider joining one of our many team projects, and if you have the time, consider becoming a volunteer and support Educators in VR activities and events. If you would like to present at one of our weekly workshops, please submit your speaker’s proposal to us. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us or connect with one of our many social media channels.

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.

To Attend Educators in VR Events in AltspaceVR

We meet in AltspaceVR, a free virtual reality social app and community. You may RSVP on the event from our channel and AltspaceVR will send you a reminder an hour before the event. AltspaceVR, like other virtual platforms, require an account for access.

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

iLRN 2020 Extends Showcase Competition Deadline

iLRN Conference 2020 - lighthouse.

Educators in VR is a production partner for the iLRN 2020 conference, June 21-25, for the Immersive Research Network, and they’ve offered to extend their deadline for Educators in VR Members for their Immersive Learning Project Showcase and Competition to June 18.

The Showcase is an opportunity for academics, students, professionals, and institutions for exposure for their innovative work in VR/AR/MR (XR) and immersive experiences, and have their work considered for inclusion in the Collection of Exemplars as part of The State of XR and Immersive Learning project.

The showcase contributions of your projects are to be 2D or 360 video demonstrations and/or tours and walkthroughs, 2D web-based gallery, animations, or multimedia artifacts, an interactive 3D virtual world, or combination of the above.

Complete the Google form in the announcement, ignoring the deadline, and email stateofxr@immersivelrn.org to let them know you’ve completed the form. Please do not set up your FRAME for the showcase until you have confirmation from them.

This is an excellent opportunity to have your work showcased at this prestigious conference event, reaching potentially thousands of researchers, educators, developers, and businesses.

We are grateful to iLRN for this extended opportunity for our members, so take advantage to showcase your work!

VR Research Help Wanted Campaign

Help VR Researchers campaign image..

The Educators in VR VR Research Project Team meets every other week in AltspaceVR to discuss tips, techniques, and the challenges of researching in and with VR, and features guest speakers reporting on their ground-breaking research projects. All researchers are welcome to join and learn about the innovations being done in spatial technology research. Today’s VR Researchers Meetup features some exciting news.

Introducing the VR Research Help Wanted Campaign

Educators in VR represents researchers around the globe challenging and testing the concepts and efficacy of VR, AR, and XR in education, training, the workplace, science, and life in general. We support researchers exploring the uses and impact of VR in therapy and socialization, integration of AR into commerce and manufacturing, development of VR for workplace training, benefits for senior and elder care and memory stimulation, and exploring the benefits of social VR for collaboration – the list is long and we want to support our researchers, especially now.

Researchers don’t have access to their labs, subjects, or even their computers. Many have their research projects, even their graduations, postponed as the world continues to deal with the current and future challenges of the pandemic of COVID-19/coronavirus. For the few given permission to continue their research, they are often challenged by the inability to collect enough information.

Educators in VR is stepping up to help.

We’ve created a new channel in our Discord called Research Help Wanted in the Research category. If you are doing research in VR, AR, XR, and related topics and industries, and you wish to spread the word and allow us to help you spread that word – or survey – post there and our team will do our best to help.

Or consider using it to find interview subjects, or whatever help you need.

We have an amazing VR Research team lead by Evelien Ydo ready to answer your questions at their regular events and meetups or on the VR Research Discussion channel.

To help you get started, here are some of the research studies and projects you may help with right now.

This is just a few of the studies desperate for your assistance to support their research and move forward in their academic studies and careers. Help a VR researcher today!

Thanks to Keith Kenyon and Evelien Ydo for inspiring this campaign. We look forward to sharing the news of your research and our members and the public participating in your research projects!

Coronavirus Fundraiser: 24 Hour VR English Lesson

GoFundMe Campaign for the Educators in VR International SummitEducators in VR is proud to sponsor the first ever 24 Hour English Lesson in VR. Beginning Friday 27th March at 10 AM Rome (Italy) time / 2 AM PST / 6 PM Tokyo, Michael McDonald of Gold Lotus will run a 24 hour virtual reality English lesson to raise funds and awareness for the work of the Italian Red Cross of Lecce, southern Italy.

Volunteers from the Italian Red Cross of Lecce preparing to collect a Coronavirus patient

Italian Red Cross of Lecce Volunteers collect a Coronavirus patient.

The Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a growing concern and it is imperative that doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and volunteers are supported so they can do their jobs effectively and safely, to ensure that we can minimise the spread. Italy is one of the countries hit hardest by the virus and the death toll keeps rising daily. The south of Italy is drastically under prepared for the growing number of cases being seen, as confirmed by Professor Caruso, President of the Italian Society of Virology.

Delivery of medical supplies to a vulnerable member of the community unable to leave home

Delivery of medical supplies to a vulnerable housebound member of the community.

As a long time language instructor living in Lecce, Michael McDonald feels a sense of responsibility to contribute to the needs of the community in this difficult moment. Many funds already exist to support the global and national fight against Coronavirus, however this sponsored VR event has two specific rationale: to provide a fast and direct relief to the already stretched emergency services of a small region which normally finds it difficult to attract the funding compared to larger cities or regions, and the belief that if everyone contributed to the fight in their own community with energy then the knock-on effect across the nation and world will be enough momentum to propel us to safety.

 

In the past few hours, CNN reports that the Italian Civil Protection Agency says the number of coronavirus cases in Italy has reached 47,021, with 627 coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 4,032 people in Italy. Resources, already stretched due to economic conditions, are nearing the breaking point. Funds raised before and during this first-ever 24-hr English Lesson event will help so many with so little.

Using his skills and talents as an instructor equally at home in the real world as well as virtual reality, McDonald will run a 24 hour English lesson completely in virtual reality where people can join and learn this language in exciting and engaging ways. To help him, the Educators in VR community and public are asked to support this cause by attending and participating in the events as well as donating to the GoFundMe campaign to help this community. Please consider donating even just a small amount to ensure that the entirely self-funded Red Cross of Lecce can cover costs of gas for ambulances, protective equipment for healthcare workers and patients.

Michael McDonald teaches language classes in AltspaceVR.

After a combined 20 years of studying and teaching foreign languages, Michael McDonald set up the Gold Lotus consultancy in Lecce, Italy, to support students accelerate their language-learning potential and cultural awareness by using virtual reality. Michael is working on a number of projects relating to English-language learning in VR, and collaborates with universities across Europe to research how immersive tasks can support the language learner or teacher. Spring 2020 also sees the start of two publicly-funded projects in Italian schools offering a program to students and teachers to build their English skills in VR and connect them, in real-time collaborative environments, to other schools globally in a virtual cultural exchange program. You may follow his progress on Twitter at @GoldLotusCo.

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UPDATE: Rocking Out the Summit in AltspaceVR & Somnium Space

UPDATE: To ensure the best experience for our users, we will be hosting the main event for the closing ceremonies in both worlds simultaneously: Somnium Space and AltspaceVR.

Access to Somnium Space is available only to PC/VR users, not desktop/2D or mobile users. If you have access, join the party there. We will have a live stream from the event there into AltspaceVR for the first part of our Rock Out the Summit event.

Join us on both of these innovative platforms to celebrate this record-breaking International Summit.


Somnium Space - Educators in VR 2

SIX DAYS! We can’t believe it. We have completed five and we are on our way to six. We have an amazing closing ceremony called the “Rock Out the Summit” at noon PST Saturday, February 22, in Somnium Space. Come join us in celebrating this record-breaking 2020 Educators in VR International Summit!

Somnium Space people from website.We are so thrilled to be a part of the grand opening of Somnium Space, and we’ve accepted the challenge to fill it with another record-breaking event: the largest group of people in a single virtual space.

The current record was by High Fidelity and stands at 462 people in the same virtual space. That is our goal, and with the help of Somnium Space, and you, we can break that.

Somnium Space - Educators in VR 1Somnium Space is an open, social, and persistent virtual reality world. You may buy land or import objects and instantly monetize and shape your own universe and experience.

VRScout described Somnium Space:

Somnium 2.0 has been designed to host all the players in a single interface, unlike other multiplayer VR gamers where players are categorized into sub servers and mirrored instanced rooms. The solution will be studded with new lucrative features such as persistent server architect and native NFT integration. These unique features help the creators to design and deploy the creations on the land owned by them. Somnium 2.0 will uplift the experience with features like enhanced graphics, full-body Avatars, along with support for Builder and Unity SDKs for creation and avatar importing.

We are thrilled to celebrate the opening of this innovative virtual space. It is currently only accessible by PC 2D Desktop and PC VR devices, not mobile like Oculus Go and Quest. They are working on that, but right now opening up to Educators in VR members and community and everyone to not just celebrate their grand opening but our own record-breaking conference.

To join, you may join on the web or download their client from Somnium Space. Register and when you arrive, you should see signs and information for our Educators in VR celebration. They’ve set up a special pavilion for us.

Accept the challenge and join us for the closing ceremonies and help us rock out the Summit tomorrow, noon, in Somnium Space.

We will also have an after party social in AltspaceVR, which we will be announcing in the next couple hours!

International Summit: Volunteer and Donate

GoFundMe Campaign for the Educators in VR International SummitThe 2020 Educators in VR International Summit begins in less than two weeks and we’ve opened up a GoFundMe 2020 Educators in VR International Summit Campaign to help offset the costs of this free and open-to-the-public all virtual conference. We welcome your help.

The Educators in VR International Summit, February 17-22, 2020, is not just breaking new ground, it is causing an earthquake. The 6-day event features over 160 speakers from around the world presenting across over 200 hours of virtual events, with many live streamed and recorded for future airing on our Educators in VR YouTube channel. The Summit will be held across AltspaceVR, ENGAGE, rumii, Mozilla Hubs, and Somnium Space.

According to people who track these things, outside of Second Life, this is the largest virtual event ever, and the largest immersive, all-virtual conference ever. It’s amazing!

We are also trying to break the world record for the most people at a virtual event for our closing ceremonies in Somnium Space, February 22 at noon PST. We hope you will join us.

The Educators in VR International Summit is more than the 160+ speakers and panels and the diverse wealth of expertise and knowledge they are sharing freely. It is also about the dozens and dozens of volunteers giving freely of their time to help make this event a success by moderating, filming, managing the vast paperwork and schedule, and supporting us in so many ways. It takes a village, and our members come from their own international villages to help us in our virtual one.

We are asking for your help in two ways. You may choose both. We hope you will.

Volunteer: We need volunteers of all skills. Even helping to moderate for an hour or two during the 6-day event is helpful. Or an hour or two a day. Or longer. Join this historical event by filling out our Volunteer Form.

GoFundMe Educators in VR Campaign.Donate: The funds raised through out GoFundMe Campaign not only help support the International Summit, but also help us fund:

  • Educators in VR scholarships funds for training, classes, workshops, and curriculum development.
  • VR and AR equipment as part of our outreach programs around the world.
  • Ongoing free and open-to-public workshops and training programs to future-proof educators in immersive and spatial technologies.
  • Research into the effects, practices, standards, and efficacy of VR/AR in education beyond the WOW-effect.
  • Our commitment to cut carbon emissions. We are calculating the carbon footprint of our event and comparing it to that of a similar real world event. We believe there is a great future for virtual conferences and summits and are proud to be blazing a trail!

Educators in VR on the Road in Engage and heading to the moon.Educators in VR is dedicated to providing educational training, resources, connections, and experiences to educators, learners, researchers, and passionate enthusiasts to help them integrate immersive technologies into education.

Last year, Educators in VR has hosted over 100 free educational weekly workshops in AltspaceVR as well as special events in ENGAGE and other virtual social and educational platforms, reaching over 4,000 attendees. Topics included immersive classroom experiences, textbook publishing with AR, cyberbullying in VR, developing VR classes with elementary students teaching teachers how to teach with and in VR, VR lab building, and reports on research in immersive and spatial technologies for education.

Educators in VR meeting in AltspaceVR Spirit Cave.Educators in VR presented in-person and virtual workshops at AWE 2019, VRX2019 Conference in Amsterdam, the VR/AR Global Summit for the VR/AR Association, among many others last year. We’ve been featured in the AltspaceVR Community Spotlight newsletter, The Virtual Reality Podcast, and the upcoming WebXR Podcast.

Help us make our dreams come true for the thousands of attendees for the 2020 Educators in VR International Summit, and for our ongoing work in helping the education industry prepare for the future.

Thanks!

The Educators in VR Team

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.