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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Virtual Worlds Best Practices In Education Readies For Annual Conference- July 24th-July 27th Nomad Aries Reporting…

In the past I have written about the ways Second Life© has influenced the real world.

I have written about how Governments, the Justice System and the entertainment world is using Second Life to breach distance and time zones in order to reach as many people as possible with information, assistance and entertainment. Second Life has become an invaluable instrument helping people to access services, gain information and provide resolution to real life problems. It has become a workplace, an extension of offices and a global town hall providing services in real time to citizens across the globe. Second Life has also brought together individuals and organizations from around the world, making it easier for collaboration, sharing information and mentoring.

Recently, I learned of yet another important use of Second Life© - education. Education, learning and teaching are being expanded and explored in great depth here on Second Life. The technology of the gaming world is turning into an innovative tool for studying different teaching methods and defining what is teaching. Exploring the ways in which we learn and providing advances in technology, applications, research and access to information. Second Life© has become a global classroom. This month, one of the most extraordinary conferences will, once again, be held on Second Life©, The Virtual Worlds Best Practices In Education Conference. If you can attend one presentation of this conference over the three days it runs, I urge you to do so. You won't want to miss this.

Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education began in 2007 from the Second Life Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference in the same year. The VWBE Conference is a very large conference, so large that the logistics of finding a physical venue that would support the scope of the VWBE's agenda would be a mammoth and expensive task. In 2007, the organizers decided to hold the conference on Second Life and it was a great success. The VWBE hold the VWBE Conference annually on Second Life and that is the purpose of the Virtual Worlds Best Practices In Education.

Each year the VWBE(a grassroots organization) plans and hosts the venues for the one of the largest, open, conferences. Annually, the organizational committee is made up from different members of the educational community. The conference includes educational faculty, instructors, designers and technical specialists from different organizations around the world. Organizations and individuals who design special tools and resources for learning and teaching, those who create environments for learning and teaching, people who are the support for these programs, and the conference itself, creates Professional Development opportunities for external and internal virtual world educational environments. In all, over 2000 attendees come from over 90 countries.

The opportunites presented at the VWBE Conference allows organizations to present educational projects, events, courses and research in education and teaching, what we learn and how we learn it, all in an immersive virtual educational environment. Another important and valuable aspect of the conference is that it allows for these groups and individuals to collaborate and share information with each other on a global scale. What is teaching? How do we teach? These are all important questions the members of the VWBE investigate. What they discover benefits all of us in the real world and the metaverse.

Many groups begin planning, designing, building and work together on events and venues for the conference earlier in the year. The conference involves not just one sim, but six linked sims. For this conference the Australian contingent will be offering up a sim and the German contingent will be hosting the Sound Cloud Party of the conference. It is collaboration at every level. 

There are over 200 presenters at the conference from around the world, this will give an idea of the scope of this conference. Their use of Second Life is a stroke of brilliance and ingenuity. The conference runs from July 24th, 2013 to July 27th 2013. Following the conference there will be a MOOC ( massive online open course) for four weeks.

This year's theme for the Conference is "Beyond the Stage", that's" beyond the
 educational stage by integrating technology, presentation, and just a bit of creative magic" according to their facebook page. The challenge proposed for this year's conference is for educators to look at educating as a "performance art". “A tapestry of who we are, those we connect with, and education as a social narrative that defines our ability to create knowledge through innovation. The virtual frontier provides new tools and techniques to redefine not just those traditional narratives for a new age, but to change the relationship between the stage and the audience".

The members of the VWBE certainly do this and have done it in the past. If existing technology doesn't support what they need to convey at the conference, they have used creativity and innovation and built new systems that do support what they need, thus developing more efficient ways to share information with the rest of us. 

They are getting ready for presentations, an open sim, unity jibe and Cloud Party along with many festivities.
There is also quite a list of impressive sponsors for the conference that include; (Gold Level) Virtual Outworlding,( Bronze level Sponsors) Avacon, Rockcliffe University Consortium and Bristol University of West England and many Blue Ribbon Sponsors as well, too many to mention here.

It may surprise you to know there are many universities and colleges with online sites on Second Life. While viewing some of the past conferences on YouTube, I found a video from a student who created what she thought to be a pivotal and important setting from a book. She built a shop in detail on Second Life from the description in a novel. There she understood the relevance of the action and mood created in the book from this shop. The student concluded the shop itself was a character in the book.
I also watched an author giving a talk about her novel on Second Life, as an avi. If you are thinking this can totally change the way we learn, you are correct. The implications are staggering. During this conference educators will share their vision of future learning and collaboration in the virtual worlds, the metaverse.

Just as in a real life conference, there are parties and festivities during the conference. There is also a need for volunteers if you feel you would like to be a part of the conference. The person you can contact is LoriVonne Lustre or go the VWBE Facebook page,, to sign on as a volunteer. I would also like to mention if you are an entertainer or a DJ and would like to provide some entertainment for the Conference please vist their webpage on Facebook or twitter and contact the VWBE. They would be most happy to hear from you I am sure and there is no doubt you will have an audience. I am planning to attend at least on day of the conference and will be happy to report to you on my experience at this amazing conference.
Teleport Here

 Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference

Event Date(s): July 24th 2013 to July 27th 2013
Event time(s): check presentation calendar at website
Event location(s): information on VWBE website
Twitter: VWBPE 2013


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