Voices of VR’s Kent Bye Interviews Educators in VR Co-Founders

Voices of VR - Kent Bye - interviews Lorelle and Daniel.The Educators in VR co-founders, Daniel Dyboski-Bryant and Lorelle VanFossen, were interviewed last week by Kent Bye of Voices of VR Podcast, and the podcast is out now titled Educators in VR – Meetups and Virtual Conferences.

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.

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

Lessons Learned from Hosting a VR Conference

Behind the Scenes - 2020 Educators in VR International Conference virtual conference - collage

We are still gathering feedback and data about our incredibly successful 2020 Educators in VR International Summit, February 17-22, 2020. We just held a Behind the Scenes of the International Summit workshop in AltspaceVR, and wanted to present some of our information and lessons learned.

A Little History

Educators in VR begin in November 2018 with the idea of bringing together educators and learners from within the VR community to share and discuss integrating VR into education. What was expected to be a meetup of 20-30 people became a 180 participants event. We began with monthly meetups, but the demand and interest was stunning, so we upped it to once a week workshops that continue to fill over a year later.

The topics and guest speakers have been incredible, covering a wide variety of industries and specialties from language learning to integrating AR into book publishing.

Behind the Scenes - History of Educators in VR virtual events

Within a short time, passionate educators, learners, and researchers asked it they could start their own groups under the Educators in VR umbrella, focusing on their specialty. Currently, we have eight such team projects, with more on the way. These team projects host events with speakers and topics, and are building communities in and of themselves, connecting like minds across borders. Most of the action happens on our Educators in VR Discord group, though some are also connecting on our Facebook group. You may check out the events in AltspaceVR on our Educators in VR AltspaceVR channel and subscribe to be notified of upcoming events.

At the beginning of 2019, co-founders Daniel Dyboski-Bryant, and myself, Lorelle VanFossen, discussed ideas for where we wanted to go in the future, and top of the list was a virtual conference. I wanted a 3-4 days conference, and Daniel laughed and said, “Why don’t we make it a week-long conference?” We compromised on 6 days, and the idea was born for the Educators in VR International Summit.

The idea of the International Summit was to be a proof-of-concept. Could we do it? Could we really create an all virtual, 24-hour, 6 day global conference and:

  • Would speakers want to present about VR in VR?
  • Who would show up for a conference in VR about VR?

Both solid questions, and of course, we quickly expanded VR to all the XR technologies. The excitement and interest of AWE 2019 was our first inclination that this was not just possible but feasible as we presented virtual workshops to people around the world from “within” the AWE side conferences. We kept experimenting at other conferences, adding a virtual component to in-person conferences, and eventually decided that February 2020 would be the date for taking the concept out of the idea box and proving we could actually do this. Continue reading

UPDATE: Rocking Out the Summit in AltspaceVR & Somnium Space

UPDATE: To ensure the best experience for our users, we will be hosting the main event for the closing ceremonies in both worlds simultaneously: Somnium Space and AltspaceVR.

Access to Somnium Space is available only to PC/VR users, not desktop/2D or mobile users. If you have access, join the party there. We will have a live stream from the event there into AltspaceVR for the first part of our Rock Out the Summit event.

Join us on both of these innovative platforms to celebrate this record-breaking International Summit.


Somnium Space - Educators in VR 2

SIX DAYS! We can’t believe it. We have completed five and we are on our way to six. We have an amazing closing ceremony called the “Rock Out the Summit” at noon PST Saturday, February 22, in Somnium Space. Come join us in celebrating this record-breaking 2020 Educators in VR International Summit!

Somnium Space people from website.We are so thrilled to be a part of the grand opening of Somnium Space, and we’ve accepted the challenge to fill it with another record-breaking event: the largest group of people in a single virtual space.

The current record was by High Fidelity and stands at 462 people in the same virtual space. That is our goal, and with the help of Somnium Space, and you, we can break that.

Somnium Space - Educators in VR 1Somnium Space is an open, social, and persistent virtual reality world. You may buy land or import objects and instantly monetize and shape your own universe and experience.

VRScout described Somnium Space:

Somnium 2.0 has been designed to host all the players in a single interface, unlike other multiplayer VR gamers where players are categorized into sub servers and mirrored instanced rooms. The solution will be studded with new lucrative features such as persistent server architect and native NFT integration. These unique features help the creators to design and deploy the creations on the land owned by them. Somnium 2.0 will uplift the experience with features like enhanced graphics, full-body Avatars, along with support for Builder and Unity SDKs for creation and avatar importing.

We are thrilled to celebrate the opening of this innovative virtual space. It is currently only accessible by PC 2D Desktop and PC VR devices, not mobile like Oculus Go and Quest. They are working on that, but right now opening up to Educators in VR members and community and everyone to not just celebrate their grand opening but our own record-breaking conference.

To join, you may join on the web or download their client from Somnium Space. Register and when you arrive, you should see signs and information for our Educators in VR celebration. They’ve set up a special pavilion for us.

Accept the challenge and join us for the closing ceremonies and help us rock out the Summit tomorrow, noon, in Somnium Space.

We will also have an after party social in AltspaceVR, which we will be announcing in the next couple hours!

Tom Furness ENCORE in 2020 Educators in VR International Summit

Tom Furness presenting in AlstpaceVR.Tom Furness is back for an ENCORE at the 2020 Educators in VR International Summit on Friday – today at 6PM PST in AltspaceVR.

Tom was our keynote speaker Monday at the start of the Educators in VR International Summit and part way through his presentation when, we assume the power of his presentation combined with the impact of the Educators in VR International Summit blew out the power in his University of Washington VR Lab.

This ground-breaking pioneer in VR and founder of the Virtual World Society worked with his team to restore power, but too late for the event. He’s been with us on and off throughout the week, and is now back to not only look at the past, to the beginings of virtual reality, a field he developed, creating the prototypes that eventually became the devices we wear on our faces, but where we are going in the future as we play with fire and push the technology even further.

Come join us to not only celebrate the life and thought-leader, Tom Furness, but help us boost the event through the last 24 hours into the record books!

Tom Furness - Speaker Card - 2020 Educators in VR International summit.

Expanding Minds in the Metaverse: Special Panel Presentation

The 2020 Educators in VR International Summit, February 17-22, 2020, is breaking all the rules and the records, and continues on through Saturday. Come join the fun. It’s free and accessible in 2D(PC Desktop with headphones) or 3D devices in AltspaceVR, ENGAGE, rumii, and Somnium Space.

Tonight, we are honored to have five leaders in the virtual technology industry with us for a special panel discussion, Engaging Minds in the Metaverse in AltspaceVR, Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 10:00 PM PST / 1AM Thu EST / 6AM UK/GMT.

This is an incredible opportunity to meet the people behind the devices, educational and social platforms, developers, researchers, and thought-leaders of virtual technology, to hear their thoughts about where spatial technology in education is today, and where it is going. We are thrilled to welcome Alvin Wang Graylin, Artur Sychov, Mat Chacon, David Whelan, and Karolina Manko to our virtual stage tonight.

Alvin Wang GraylinAlvin Wang Graylin, President, HTC Vive, Mr. Graylin is the China President at HTC, leading all aspects of the Vive/VR (VIVE.com) and the Smartphone businesses in the region. He is also currently Vice-Chairman of the Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance (IVRA.com) with 300+ company members, President of the $18B Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance (VRVCA.com) and oversees the Vive X VR Accelerators (VIVEX.co) in Beijing, Shenzhen and Tel Aviv.

Artur SychovArtur Sychov is Founder and CEO of Somnium Space. He has been navigating virtual worlds for more than two decades starting with Ultima Online in 1999, then Second Life and many more. Artur strongly believes in the ultimate future of Virtual Reality worlds with open and decentralized economy, amazing creation tools where imagination is the only limit. Artur has worked as an investment trader for many years before creating his first startup and becoming a serial entrepreneur.

Mat ChaconMat Chacon is the co-founder of Doghead Simulations and the innovative educational and meeting platform, rumii. In 1994, he started a website development company, and at 25, took part in the $63 million USWeb IPO. By 45, he was named a top 20 VR executive. He eventually returned to school and attended college, and now teaches online education for free, much of it in virtual reality, determined to make education accessible and affordable to all.

David WhelanDavid Wheland is a tech entrepreneur and founder of VR Education PLC. He is a former Editor-in-chief of Virtual Reality Reviewer and a multi-awarding winning VR director and producer with 10+ years web development, a background in app creation and programming large CRM systems. David believes in a future where education is accessible to all no matter your geographical location or financial status. David’s company VR Education PLC are also the people behind the ENGAGE virtual training and education platform providing users easy to use tools to create and share immersive learning experiences. David has directed and produced Apollo 11 VR and 1943 Berlin Blitz. David also produced Titanic VR and Shuttle Commander.

Karolina MankoKarolina Manko, Program Manager and Marketing, AltspaceVR, is an expert project manager in media and technology (XR/MR) sectors. As a project and community manager, she managed Future of StoryTelling community, creating year-round events and community projects, responsible for growth and management of FoST Community including working individuals and key orgs such as Meow Wolf, The VOID, Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab, Punchdrunk, Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, etc. A thought-leader and published author, and winner of the 2017 BOAAT Writers’ Fellowship, The 2012 David Markowitz Poetry Award, and the 2012 Esther Unger Poetry Prize. She is also a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society, and Phi Betta Kappa Honor Society.

Join us tonight North American time zone, morning UK, and whatever time it is in your time zone.

Spotlight: Alvin Wang Graylin, HTC Vive

Alvin Wang GraylinWe are proud to announce one of our Spotlight speakers, Alvin Wang Graylin of HTC VIVE presenting “Education Elevated vs Reimagining Education,” a special keynote in ENGAGE Monday, February 17, 10PM PST, to help us kick off the 2020 Educators in VR International Summit.

He will be returning to us in Altspace for a special panel called “Expanding Minds in the Metaverse,” 10PM PST on Wednesday along with innovators and thought leaders in the XR industry including Artur Sychov of Somnium Space, Mat Chacon of rumii, David Whelan of ENGAGE, Dr. Sana Farid, Healthcare Futurist.

Mr. Graylin is the China President at HTC, leading all aspects of the Vive/VR (VIVE.com) and the Smartphone businesses in the region. He is also currently Vice-Chairman of the Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance (IVRA.com) with 300+ company members, President of the $18B Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance (VRVCA.com) and oversees the Vive X VR Accelerators (VIVEX.co) in Beijing, Shenzhen and Tel Aviv.

Mr. Graylin has over two dozen years of business management experience in the tech industry, including 18 years in Greater China. Prior to HTC, he was a serial entrepreneur, having founded four venture-backed startups in the mobile and internet spaces, covering mobile social, AD tech, search, big data and digital media. Additionally, he has held $100+ million P&L roles at a number of public companies.

Mr. Graylin was born in China and educated in the US. He received his MS in computer science from MIT, MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and BS in electrical engineering from the University of Washington, where he had specialized in VR and AI over two decades ago. Mr. Graylin is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

We are honored to have Mr. Graylin with us on two platforms in VR, and he is eager for your questions on the future of virtual reality and XR.

Mozilla Hubs: 2020 Educators in VR International Summit

Mozilla Hubs logoThe 2020 Educators in VR International Summit, February 17-22, is hosted on multiple virtual social and educational platforms. The following is a list of events hosted on one of our partner educational platforms, Hubs by Mozilla.

Mozilla Hubs - Panda avatar.To access these events, visit Hubs by Mozilla and login in or install the virtual platform for PC VR (desktop/2D) or VR device.

Please note that these are first come, first serve events with a limited seating, so mark your calendar and get in there early.

Date Time Presentation Title Speaker Track
19-Feb Wed 3:00 AM PST How to Share and Access Education 3D Content Online Thomas Flynn General Topics
20-Feb Thu 4:00 PM PST Mozilla Hubs: Designing for All Elgin-Skye McLaren Dev
21-Feb Fri 9:00 AM PST VR Experiences as Substitute for Museums and Planetariums Alexander Kaurov Medical & Science

Mozilla Hubs - Avatars in room.Schedule subject to change without warning.

rumii: 2020 Educators in VR International Summit

rumii logoThe 2020 Educators in VR International Summit, February 17-22, is hosted on multiple virtual social and educational platforms. The following is a list of events hosted on one of our partner educational platforms, rumii.

To access these events, visit rumii and login in or install the virtual platform for PC VR (desktop/2D) or VR device.

You will require the Room Code to enter each session.

Please note that these are first come, first serve events with a limited seating, so mark your calendar and get in there early.

Note: Some events are still pending. Stay tuned for updates.

Date Time Presentation Title Speaker Room Code Track
17-Feb Mon 5:00 PM PST Ask Me Anything: Panel of Spatial Experts Mat Chacon rnread Spotlight Event
18-Feb Tue 1:00 PM PST Save 80% Travel Costs with VR Mat Chacon r6zkx8 General Topics
20-Feb Thu 5:00 PM PST Power of Connectivity Jenn Chavez r6zkx8 General Topics
20-Feb Thu 6:00 PM PST From Fat to Fit in VR Mat Chacon rn228z Medical & Science
21-Feb Fri 9:00 AM PST MetaInk Pitch Fest Amanda Fox rnread Special Event

Schedule subject to change without warning.