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.

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 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.

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 Meetup on Diversity and Inclusion May 2, 2019

The next meeting of Educators in VR in AltspaceVR is May 2nd, 2019. We have a fascinating panel of speakers for this meetup on the topic of diversity and inclusion in virtual reality and education and training, representing a diverse group of educators and passionate VR enthusiasts.

Brennan Gregory Halton is the co-founder of Equal Reality, a virtual reality developer and internationally recognized immersive technologies expert. Listed on the 2019 Forbes 30/30 Social Entrepreneurs, Brennan has over a decade of experience building augmented and virtual worlds. He helped grow Meta AR Glasses to a valuation of over $300M USD as employee #7. His company, Equal Reality, helps him focus on supporting equality, diversity, and inclusion through virtual reality, putting people in the perspective of minorities to experience discrimination. He is also talented in community building, teaching, and digital content creation.

Alan Chao is a user experience designer, virtual reality enthusiast, and Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) advocate. Alan works in technology as a User Experience (UX) designer and is the founder of the popular AltUX, the User Experience Meetup in AltspaceVR. He has also built some of the most popular interactive, and social worlds in AltspaceVR, including the beautiful meditation and yoga space for EvolVR classes.

Asha Easton is currently the KTN manager for Immerse UK. She is responsible for helping to grow the immersive tech ecosystem for the country. Asha is also a VR producer and an active member of several VR groups including: the London chapter of Women in Immersive Tech (WiiT) (Facebook), that helps to support women in the industry, and the VR Diversity Initiative (VRDI), where she has taught workshops to up-skill underrepresented groups in media and technology.

Dr. Peter Bloom is a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of People and Organisations at the Open University and Co-Founder of the research group REEF (Research into Employment, Empowerment, and Futures). His research focuses on critically reimagining contemporary power, politics and economic – specifically related to themes of democracy, capitalism, and technology.

We are very excited for this panel on diversity and inclusion, and welcome you to join us.

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 found in the Google Store for DayDream, Samsung Gear, in the Steam Store for HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for Rift, Go, and Quest users. If you do not have a VR device, you may also install the mobile version for use on your Android phone or tablet, or the desktop computer version for 2D access. 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.

May 2019 Meeting of Educators in VR

Educators in VR Meetup 2018 in Altspace - emojis to celebrate the first event.

The next meeting of Educators in VR is May 2nd, 2019. We are finalizing our topic, so stay tuned, but make sure you get us on your calendar. Check the AltspaceVR events calendar for the time for your time zone and to RSVP.

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 found in the Google Store for DayDream, Samsung Gear, in the Steam Store for HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for Rift, Go, and Quest users. If you do not have a VR device, you may also install the mobile version for use on your Android phone or tablet, or the desktop computer version for 2D access. 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.

Next Meetup is March 21 with Joe Millward from TAFE NSW

TAFE logo and building sign in Sydney.The next meeting of Educators in VR in AltspaceVR is March 21, 2019. Joe Millward from TAFE NSW will be joining us to talk about how to scale up provision of VR in education.

TAFE NSW is Australia’s leading provider for more than 1200 education and training courses with over 500,000 students attending on campus, online, through distance learning, or in the workplace. Established as an independent statutory body under the TAFE Commission Act 1990, the original NAFE NSW started over 130 years ago in New South Wales as a vocational project, helping to educate workers during the Depression and following the World Wars. Today, they provide educational and counseling to multicultural, aboriginal, and migrant populations across Australia. Their information and communications technology courses are expected to grow by 75% over the next ten years to serve the digital economy. They even have a Wikipedia page with details about the courses and areas and topics they cover.

Come join us March 21, 2019, in AltspaceVR for an informative discussion on how they meet the growing need for virtual reality in 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 found in the Google Store for DayDream, Samsung Gear, in the Steam Store for HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for Rift, Go, and Quest users. If you do not have a VR device, you may also install the mobile version for use on your Android phone or tablet, or the desktop computer version for 2D access. 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.

Jessica Outlaw at Next Educators in VR Meetup

February 21, 2019, is the next meeting of Educators in VR in AltspaceVR. We are very honored to feature Jessica Outlaw of The Extended Mind: Culture and Behavior in XR to discuss VR communities and bullying, harassment, and learning to cope with social interactions in virtual reality.

Jessica’s research has had a profound impact on the virtual reality industry, helping us all understand the realities of VR bullying and harassment and how to develop tools and community guidelines. She provides workshops and trainings to the virtual reality and online communities industry. Here are a few examples of her work in action.

Come join us February 21, 2019, in AltspaceVR for an informative discussion on this critical topic.

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 found in the Google Store for DayDream, Samsung Gear, in the Steam Store for HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for Rift, Go, and Quest users. If you do not have a VR device, you may also install the mobile version for use on your Android phone or tablet, or the desktop computer version for 2D access. 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.