Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Press Release: VWBPE 2023 Conference UNCOMMON REALITIES 23 - 25 March 2023 in Second Life®

 The 16th annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference, beginning on Thursday, March 23rd, will be an online distributed conference happening in multiple virtual spaces. This conference focuses on the use of immersive virtual environments for educational purposes including virtual and augmented reality.

This year we are returning from outer space to Earth and completely rebuilding the conference regions. Each region represents a different terrestrial biome, including wetlands, desert, badlands, grasslands, and forests. Conference attendees will be among the first to be able to explore!

VWBPE provides educational and networking opportunities that are relevant to educational curriculum development utilizing virtual environments and “best practices”. These include
- helping to build community through extension of learning best practices to practical application of those ideas and techniques;
- providing networking opportunities for educators and the communities that help support education; and
- providing access to current innovations, trends, ideas, case studies, and other best practices for educators and the communities that help support education.

Primarily, the issue being faced by the educational community is how to make the best use of new immersive technologies in a way that is sustainable and accessible based on limited budgets available to both instructors and students. Platforms that are free or open source, or that can be shared across a broad audience are showcased including methods and research around best practices in their use and applicability.

VWBPE will again be using Linden Lab’s Second Life® environment as our primary conference venue for presentations, exhibits, roundtables, and discussions. Participants are free to submit proposals and immersive experience tours on any environment for education using technologies for virtual or augmented reality. We actively encourage showcasing multiple technology platforms. This includes practical application, researched papers, conceptual, and content creation supporting those technologies.

Our theme for this year is Uncommon Realities and the exploration of areas outside of our expertise that may be potentially opposed to our current outlook or world view. As educators, we are having to adjust to more than just a transition from in-person to online methodologies. We are facing urgent challenges in the areas of remote classroom management, outdated policies or policies not designed to be applied to online environments, child psychology and welfare in online environments, health and safety considerations, and personal privacy, among others. This means embracing the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and innovative technologies to their best effect.

This year's keynote speakers are Dr. Tom Boellstorff, Dr. Stylianos Mystakidis, and Alexandra Humphreys. Invited speakers include the 2018 Thinkerer - Dr. Valerie Hill, and representatives from Linden Lab. A special event “Books and Biomes” will feature Draxtor Despres and author Cat Sparks.

The VWBPE conference keynote speakers and their respective presentations are featured on the conference website (http://vwbpe.org), along with a program of exciting presentations, social activities, and networking events that will set extraordinary discussions in motion.  

The VWBPE Immersive Experiences showcase unique and interesting work being conducted across the metaverse. We invite you to join us as we explore eleven interactive and engaging locations across five virtual environments. The Immersive Experiences are scheduled from 22 March to 15 April (exclusive of the conference dates). Details and access instructions for the experiences are found at https://www.vwbpe.org/conference/vwbpe23-program

The Rockcliffe Registration Portal is open for people to register new Second Life® avatars and find out more about the VWBPE conference in-world. Go to  https://www.enroll.onl/secondlife.php. The instructions are there to get you and your friends started at this educator-friendly newcomers’ region in Second Life®.

The full conference program is online here:  https://www.vwbpe.org/conference/vwbpe23-program. You can also view presentations live on YouTube at http://vwbpe.org/watch. All of the conference events will be in Second Life® this year, and the locations are included in the listings. When you click on a conference event and click Add to Calendar, you can add the event to your own calendar (Google and more).
For more information: https://www.vwbpe.org/ 

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