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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Educators in VR vLanguage Learning: Giuseppe Fantigrossi of Play2Speak

After the success of our inaugural Educators in VR vLanguage Learning event in late September with special guest Dr. Aaron Ralby talking about memory palaces in virtual reality, we’ve another heavyweight guest lined up for our next vLanguage Learning event.

Thursday 14th November our special guest is Giuseppe Fantigrossi, CEO of Play2Speak.

Play2Speak logo.

The VR app, Play2Speak, teaches conversational English with virtual characters to improve fluency, with a little help from AI, too. A speaker of four languages himself, Giuseppe has a diverse background – he is a Food Scientist, with an MBA from Concordia University and in a previous life worked as a process improvement consultant, specializing in IT projects. Today he follows his passion in connecting others and creating solutions in the entrepreneurial world through the Play2Speak English-learning VR app.

Secret of Puffin Cove app cover.

As always, the presentation will be followed by a Q&A where you can put your questions to Giuseppe to understand more about how VR can support the way your learn or teach languages.

Educators in VR is dedicated to providing educational events, trainings, and workshops for educators and learners to prepare them for the future of spatial technologies in education. We offer weekly workshops in AltspaceVR and other platforms, and a monthly meetup featuring key educators, trainers, and developers in VR, AR, XR, and MR technology and education.

Join our Educators in VR Discord group, Facebook, and follow us on Twitter for information on meetups and how to become more involved. Consider subscribing to our Educators in VR event subscription channel to receive regular reminders of upcoming events there. We publish member brags and news you can use about virtual reality in education across the entire spectrum of usage from childhood education to health and science to corporate.

To Attend Educators in VR Events in AltspaceVR

We meet in AltspaceVR, a free virtual reality social app and community. You may RSVP on our events page and AltspaceVR will send you a reminder an hour before the event. 

You may attend as a guest or member using the free AltspaceVR mobile app or 2D version. AltspaceVR is available for Samsung Gear, Steam Store for HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for Rift, Go and Quest users. If you do not have a VR device, you may also install the 2D version for use on your Windows desktop computer. A headset and microphone (quality earbuds acceptable) is required to participate. Otherwise please stay muted during the event as the background noise and echoes can be disruptive. For more information on accessing and installing AltspaceVR, check out their download web page.

If you would like to join our Educators in VR vLanguage Learning team project, or one of our other team projects and possibly present at one of our VR educational workshops, please contact us or connect with one of our many social media channels.

First Educators in VR vLanguage Learning Event

Our first Educators in VR vLanguage Learning event is Thursday, September 26, 2019, and you are invited to attend and learn about how VR is changing language lessons.

We are thrilled that Michael McDonald of the Gold Lotus project, long-time VR Language Instructor, is heading up our Educators in VR vLanguage Learning team project. He is bringing his vast experience and expertise in teaching language skills in the real and virtual worlds to our Educators in VR workshops, and the first is this Thursday.

Dr Aaron Ralby Linguisticator.The featured guest is Dr. Aaron Ralby of Linguisticator, the Online Language Learning program. Dr. Ralby is a linguist and scholar not just passionate about languages and memory training but changing the world with his innovative projects. Founded in 2011, Linguisticator offers courses in language and memory training, working with a wide range of clients, from diplomats to the UK’s Ministry of Defense to children with special needs such as dyslexia and autism. He is a Germanic philologist and holds a PhD in Medieval Studies from Cornell, an MPhil from Cambridge in Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic, an a BA from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in English and Modern Languages and Linguistics.

His program in AltspaceVR on Thursday is “Memory Palaces in VR”, looking at how we can learn languages with memory palaces in Munx VR, his VR platform.

By combining medieval memory techniques with modern technology, we are redefining the way we learn, understand, and retain information in our minds.

Imagine knowing the periodic table in the same way you know the layout of your living room, or being able to recall a president or ruler with the same effortlessness of reaching for a mug when making a cup of tea.

Here are some examples of his work.

To Attend in AltspaceVR

To attend, join AltspaceVR as outlined below. On the events calendar, click the Interested or RSVP button on the AltspaceVR website or in-world.

Educators in VR hosts a monthly meeting with a keynote speaker on educational and industry topics and weekly workshops and special events exploring VR, AR, XR, and MR techniques and projects in AltspaceVR and other VR social and educational platforms.

Join our Educators in VR Discord group, Facebook, and follow up on Twitter for information on meetups and how to become more involved. We publish member brags and news you can use about virtual reality in education across the entire spectrum of usage from childhood education to health and science to corporate.

Educators in VR Meetup in AltspaceVR

We meet in AltspaceVR, a free virtual reality social app and community. You may RSVP on our events page and AltspaceVR will send you a reminder an hour before the event. AltspaceVR events tend to fill quickly and the limit is currently 40 attendees. We recommend you plan your arrival 2 minutes before the event start time to ensure a spot before the event space fills.

You may attend as a guest or member using the free AltspaceVR mobile app or 2D version. AltspaceVR is available for Samsung Gear, Steam Store for HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for Rift, Go and Quest users. If you do not have a VR device, you may also install the 2D version for use on your Windows desktop computer version. A headset and microphone (quality earbuds acceptable) is required to participate. Otherwise please stay muted during the event as the background noise and echoes can be disruptive. For more information on accessing and installing AltspaceVR, check out their download web page.