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!

Green Conference: Reducing Carbon Emissions with a Virtual Conference

A virtual conference is a green decision. Instead of traveling, staying in hotels, and using a convention center, Educators in VR prevented more than 7.5 million kg of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere.

Article and analysis by Don Balanzat

Educators in VR International Summit logo.Educators in VR made history a couple of weeks ago by holding the largest immersive virtual conference, the 2020 Educators in VR International Summit. It featured 170 speakers in over 150 events on 5 different virtual platforms over 6 days, and an estimated 6,000 people attended. A volunteer team of 75 people made this possible, as explained in a recent Behind the Scenes of the International Summit workshop.

In addition to being the first time a VR virtual conference of this size ever took place, the conference’s impact on anthropogenic climate change was exciting. With the rising concern over the amount of academic and professional travel that takes place to produce such conferences, mixed with the unfortunate timing of the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak, the team asked me to explore the environmental impact of the conference. Travel and energy utilities are generally the highest percentages of any given individual’s carbon footprint.

Virtual conferences can be an incredibly impactful way in which we can individually and societally reduce our carbon output, and slow the human impact on the climate change process.

Considerations and Calculations

Discussing this with the Educators in VR team, we had to consider the comparison of the virtual conference with a real world conference, and make some considerations and assumptions for our calculations. To ensure we are all on the same page, let me explain.

ASVR - Stargate Command with Relle and Mark

Until transportation improves, travel through Stargate Command is limited to virtual reality.

Because of the international nature of attendees in Educators in VR, we had to consider a broad range of travel options – cars, rail, planes – and different distances. Virtually, people stayed wherever they were, attending from homes, offices, schools, even parks, rarely traveling out of reach of a stable WIFI connection. If this was a real-world conference, travel would be the largest impact on the environment. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Educators in VR Events for September 2019

Educators in VR - June 2019 Meetup in AltspaceVR.We have so many things planned for September with Educators in VR, you might need a road map to keep up with us. To get you started, here is a quick summary for you to add to your calendar. We’ve some amazing diverse speakers and presenters to help you consider a wide range of options for integrating virtual reality and augmented reality into your teaching.

Monthly Meetup

Educators in VR meets monthly in AltspaceVR with a special guest speaker and topic. The one-hour meetup is usually the third Thursday of the month.

September 19, 2019 – Matt Cook of the Virtual World Society: Matt Cook is working with a volunteer group to teach students at Robert Eagle Staff Middle School to develop their own STEM-based eductional VR experiences in Seattle. A graduate in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington and Project Engineer at RATLab LLC, he is developing virtual reality curriculum and VR content for research projects to push the envelope on VR in education. He is a senior advisor for the Virtual World Society.

October 24, 2019 – Mina Johnson-Glenberg of Embodied Games : Mina Johnson-Glenberg is a cognitive psychologist, game designer, STEM specialist, and research professor at Arizona State University and president of the award-winning learning technology company, Embodied Games, LLC. The Embodied Games lab has been at the forefront of creating “embodied” and kinetically-active games using sensors and motion capture technologies. Dr. Johnson-Glenberg will be speaking about accessing educational quality of VR modules with a newly developed Rubric Alpha Version. She presents nationally and internationally and has published in peer-reviewed journals on VR and STEM education. Her most recent work was on Frontiers in Robotics and AI. You will not want to miss this meetup.

Weekly Workshops

We offer free weekly workshops in AltspaceVR and other virtual social and educational platforms to encourage educators to expand their knowledge and skills in virtual, augmented, and extended reality. These workshops are free and open to the public. See our information on how to attend Educators in VR events.

September 10, 2019 – Immersive Classroom: Climate Change: Lorelle VanFossen will be presenting another immersive classroom experience in AltspaceVR on climate change associated with oceans and glacial melt. These are open discussion events exploring how to build and teach within immersive environments and discuss the various educational topics such world building spaces offer. The event is free and RSVP is recommended.

September 17, 2019 – Educators in VR 101: Daniel Dyboski-Bryant will be presenting the basics of virtual reality for educators and learners in AltspaceVR. We offer this free program for those considering integrating virtual reality in the classroom and those new to the experience, or a refresher course on the basics. We recommend RSVP soon and arrival two minutes before start time as the event often fills quickly.

September 24, 2019 – Immersive Classroom: EvolVR: Jeremy Nickels of EvolvVR (Facebook) is a long-time educator and leader in immersive education leading meditation and yoga programs weekly in AltspaceVR for over 2 years. He’s worked with world builders to develop custom worlds and event spaces, pushing the limits of virtual and guided instruction in VR. He will be sharing his expertise on developing innovative virtual programs that connect mind, spirit, and body in an immersive experience. Continue reading

Virtual Reality Pioneer: Tom Furness

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

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

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

From the University of Washington Faculty bios:

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

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

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

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

Educators in VR: News You Can Use for 29 March 2019

Our active Educators in VR Discord group shares news and information you can use about virtual reality in education at all levels, including corporate training and education. Here are a few of the treasures shared this week.

Brags on Our Members

VR Stats and Facts

Continue reading

Educators in VR meets VCARA – Virtual Worlds in Education

Virtual Worlds like Second Life have been used by pioneering educators for over a decade. Now many are looking to immersive VR as a new tool for their work.

On Tuesday 23rd April, Educators in VR co-founder Daniel Dyboski-Bryant gave a keynote speech at VCARA’s 10 year anniversary conference in their iSchool Island in Second Life. He spoke to about 40 VW attendees about the opportunities and challenges of education in VR, and highlighted that virtual world (VW) educators are at an advantage when approaching VR, as they are in many ways ahead of the game. As such, VW educators can bring their experience with them to help VR educators find their way. Many of the issues VR educators are currently dealing with have already been grappled with by VW educators.

Daniel Dyboski-Bryant giving a keynote speech

“Now is an exciting time for VR and education as we see the arrival of 6dof standalone headsets such as the HTC Vive Focus plus and the Oculus Quest. Couple these with 5G and a traditional education already under increasing pressures and we could be about to witness the ‘perfect storm’ in the classroom. With immersive remote teaching and training fast approaching there is a real vision for the democratization of education on the horizon.”
Daniel Dyboski-Bryant

The challenges and hurdles involved in getting started and making it work at scale were also discussed. This area is so new that much of the work is still exploratory. Resistance to adoption in schools can still be challenging and the awareness and experience of good VR is still lacking. There are many promising signs as well. One is that there seems to be considerable funding available for those who know how to apply for it.

One surprising recommendation Daniel made was the need to train ourselves in the exact opposite direction of tech. He suggested that the more powerful this immersive technology becomes, the more we need to develop habits and skills around completely unplugging. Daniel has been meditating for many years and finds that he seeks stillness and breathing even more now, just to balance out the stimulation afforded by these new technologies. There is magic to play with in VR, but it needs to be wisely approached.