Alvin Graylin of HTC at Virtual World Society Fireside

Alvin Wang GraylinThe 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.

Gold Lotus English Courses in January

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.

Gold Lotus workshop selfie.

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.

Gold Lotus English Language workshops and classes learning inside a home garage.

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.

This is the first of many such collaborations. For more information, subscribe and join our Educators in VR Discord, Twitter, and Facebook to keep up with all the latest news, events, and resources.

More Holiday Storytelling in AltspaceVR

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.

Creative Writing Holiday Storytelling event in AltspaceVR.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.

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.

Holiday Storytelling in AltspaceVR

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Post a link to the event with the hashtag #storytelling in the AltspaceVR Discord > Events > #promotion channel.
  3. 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.

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.

Cyberbullying: VR Events Hosts Speak Out

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.

Educators in VR Cyberbullying Event Hosts 2018 in AltspaceVR.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.

Educators in VR attendees.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.

VR Headset Hygiene and Safety Workshop

Educators in VR VR Safety and Hygiene Workshop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evelien will cover:

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

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

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

Empowered You Workshop

vCoaching Empowered You.

UPDATE: New dates are November 9-10, 2020.

Educators in VR is excited to announce another amazing personal and professional training workshop November 9-10, 2020, with Caitlin Krause and CaptainVR Dana-Maria called Empowered You.

This innovative 2-day workshop (4 hours total) invites you to transform your life and work in a meaningful way with two leaders in coaching, person, and professional development. This engaging workshop and training explores mindsets, well-being, and transformation for personal and professional development held in an immersive virtual reality environment, in AltspaceVR. Early bird tickets are still available at USD $10 off the ticket price through October 30, so hurry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Attend

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

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

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

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

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

Global HR Summit 2020 Success

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

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

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

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

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

Will Business Get This?

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

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

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

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

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

Save Money and the World

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

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

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

Slide Shows Aren’t Why They are There

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

It worked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It Takes a Team and a Village

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

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

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

Here are some highlights from the past three days.

Global HR Summit Starts Tomorrow

Global HR Summit Banner

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

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

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

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

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

Global HR Summit - Speakers.

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

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

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

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

Book Launch: Caitlin Krause “Designing Wonder”

Book Launch Caitlin Krause Designing Wonder ASVR Tile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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