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

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.