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