We learned recently that Google Poly would be closing as of June 30, 2021. Uploads will be turned off April 30. As a 3D creation and viewer tool, students and educators are easily able to create low-poly objects with in-VR tools and share them with others, expanding the range of 3D objects available for education.
Many artists, creators, educators, researchers, developers, and historians have uploaded “irreplaceable” cultural artifacts to the service and consider it to be a “cultural museum” of 3D and VR history. They are demanding the archive be preserved and continue to be curated in some way. A petition on Change.org is inviting signatures to encourage Google to open source the Poly platform. We encourage you to join.
Over the past few months, our Educators in VR Discord and Twitter, and Facebook members have discussed and debated how to protect ourselves, fellow teachers, and students from potential contagion with VR headsets.
We’ve debated about cleaning products and the risk of damage on the plastic as well as the lenses, and guessed at what may or may not work. Some teachers haul headsets home and wash them by hand, stripping off the face pads, and even throwing them in the wash machine.
In her research paper with Serious VR on VR Hygiene and Safety: Everything You Need to Know, she’s broken down the well-researched facts based on expert interviews and scientific data on how to clean VR headsets (HMDs) with detergents and hand sanitizers and using cleanable and disposable face pads, UV light treatments, and nanotechnology.
Hygiene and safety are always important to consider when using VR-headsets and controllers on 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 needed. SeriousVR finds it important to share our knowledge, combined with expertise provided by the VR/AR/XR community, so that we can collectively tackle this problem. This document aims to summarize the most up-to-date knowledge on how to use headsets safely and how to combine this knowledge into tangible procedures…
The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus is able to survive up to 72 hours on plastic (Suman et al., 2020). You could quarantine your headsets and controllers for that amount of time or use detergents to decontaminate. Different detergents have different effects on the survival of COVID-19 (e.g. Kampf, Todt, Pfaender & Steinmann, 2020). Keep in mind that certain detergents will probably leave some residue on the face, for example, detergents based upon chloride, which can irritate the skin or the eyes. Next to that, always follow the instructions of the specific detergent.
Her findings were surprising. One might think that a higher concentration of alcohol in ethanol-based detergents and cleaners would be more effective than less, but results indicate it becomes less potent and may actually do more harm than good on the virtual reality devices.
Don’t forget about cleaning hand controllers as well. Like keyboards and mice, these are prime areas for risk of contagion. Hand controllers need to be cleaned with the same solutions as used for cleaning the plastic on the headsets.
Evelien adds excellent information with protocols on how to educate staff, clients, and students about proper hygiene methods, diving up the protocol instructions for users and staff. Quality graphic versions of the protocols are available through Evelien as described in the article.
Evelien will be presenting a workshop on this subject for Educators in VR in AltspaceVR soon. Watch here, on Discord, and our social media for an announcement.
Evelien Ydo is a Psychologist and Educational Expert at Serious VR, Coordinator of Learning & Development at Pre-U in the Netherlands, 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 Research 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.
Educators in VR has a busy week planned with great special guests, partner events, and team project meetups and events. Remember, we announce these events regularly on our Educators in VR Discord group, Facebook, and Twitter. For events in AltspaceVR, consider subscribing to our Educators in VR event subscription channel to receive regular reminders of upcoming events there. For events on ENGAGE VR, check out their Events schedule, and we will update you on our projects on other social and educational platforms as they happen.
July 15 – Cyberbullying Team Project Meetup: Later on Wednesday is the next Cyberbullying Defense & Protection Team Meetup with Eric Segal (ZenPanda) of NEST, Network of Emotional Support Teams, as she takes us through the journey of cyberbullies and bullies in general, to help you understand the types, styles, prevention, treatment and training, and how to protect yourself from harm. With an increase in hate and racism acts IRL and online, this regular meetup group is ideal to help you learn more. We’ve information on cyberbullying here on our site and will be adding more, and we have resources and discussions on our Cyberbullying Channel on our Discord.
July 16 – Virtual World Society Fireside Chat: Thursday is the Virtual World Society Fireside Chat with Tom Furness & Ben Lok, award-winning professor & founder working with virtual storytelling & communication skills. He teaches a variety of courses at the University of Florida’s Computer and Informational Sciences and Engineering Department, and is co-founder of Shadow Health, an educational company focused on using virtual humans and mixed reality to train communication skills within VR and human-computer interaction. He received the UF Innovator of the Year Award (2019), a UF Term Professorship (2017-2020), the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Faculty Mentoring Award (2016), a NSF Career Award (2007-2012), and the UF ACM CISE Teacher of the Year Award in 2005-2006. He and his students in the Virtual Experiences Research Group have received Best Paper Awards at IVA 2019, IEEE VR 2008, and ACM I3D (Top 3, 2003).
Look What’s Next
There is plenty coming up with Educators in VR, and here are some highlights.
July 28 – Special Event with Stanford University Virtual Human Interaction Lab: Dr. Geraldine Fauville from The Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab has been working on an innovative VR educational project working with 200 6th to 8th grade girls in VR or 2D studying ocean acidification and marine environmental issues. Their insights on immersive learning, assessments, and outcomes help us all understand the power of VR in education.
July 28 – Weekly Workshop on Building Virtual Worlds for Events and Education: Educators in VR has spent the last two years building custom worlds and event spaces for classes, workshops, and conferences. This special workshop will introduce you to the challenges and features necessary in an immersive classroom and VR event spaces. In September, we are launching a new feature to rent those virtual world spaces for your own events, classes, workshops, and conferences. The worlds will be available individually and in packaged kits, and you will be seeing a preview of some of those spaces. The event will begin in our Educators in VR Training Center and move through some fascinating social worlds.
July 28 – iLRN2020 Conference Lessons Learned: Join Educators in VR with the iLRN (Immersive Learning Research Network) team for a discussion about the lessons learned from producing their first virtual conference, iLRN2020 in VirBELA and AltspaceVR. Migrating a conference for less than one hundred attendees to one featuring thousands, and incorporating the IEEE conference standards and requirements for their attendees, is a huge undertaking, from choosing a platform to implementing the top notch speaker and event program. Join us as we discuss the lessons learned and how to bring a real-world event to VR and virtual.
September 28-29 – YOUNGA Take-over of the UN: In collaboration with Educators in VR, Students in VR, and Bridging the Gap Ventures, YOUNGA is a take-over of the United Nations, student-led event held in ENGAGE VR. The event will feature student leaders and experts along with industry and corporate leaders and activists solving the world’s key problems with leadership panels, virtual master classes, fireside chats, and immersive VR performances, engaging cultures and societies around the world. Registration is open to participate in this ground-breaking, VR event in ENGAGE VR as celebrities and students call upon the United Nations to help solve the challenges the world faces together.
October 2020 – National Bullying Month: This is the second anniversary of the Educators in VR Cyberbullying Month in conjunction with National Bullying Month. This year, we have a month-long series of workshops, classes, meetups, and trainings on the subject open to everyone, and potentially some master class programs and trainings as well to help us all learn from experts on reducing harm and being prepared against the bullies who follow us from the real world to online and VR social platforms. We have information and resources from last year to update you, and join our discussions and plans on the Cyberbullying Channel in Discord. We’re always looking for topics and expert speakers on these subjects.
February 2021: We have plans in motion for our next Educators in VR International Summit, but we are breaking the rules again. Keep your February open and we’ll have announcements on this coming soon.
Kent took the two of us back through time to 2018 and the start of our collaborative effort to connect educators, learners, researchers, and others to immersive technologies in education. We discuss the challenges, the evolution, and the success of the 2020 Educators in VR International Summit in February, and look forward into where spatial and immersive technology is going in the future.
Kent Bye is a leader in reporting on virtual reality, augmented reality, and immersive technology with leaders from across the industry. Please support his continued work by following him on Twitter and joining his Voices of VR Patreon to help us all stay informed and have our voices heard.
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.
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.
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.
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 →
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Of 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.
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.
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.
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 →
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.
[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 →