Coronavirus Fundraiser: 24 Hour VR English Lesson

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

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

Italian Red Cross of Lecce Volunteers collect a Coronavirus patient.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Michael McDonald teaches language classes in AltspaceVR.

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

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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