Virtual Learning. Good practices from a virtual conference


The Virtual Word Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) was held sixth time, this conference where everyone can show what kind of educational research, practices they do in Virtual environment. This time the conference was held not just in Second Life, but there were shown practices in OpenSim and Cloud Party as well. Attending on the conference was free, but as any conference, they needed organizers, presenters, and place. For this you needed a place (even if it was virtual) and loads of managers, and volunteers. I was one of the Stage Manager during my conference, I was happy to part of this conference, and proud to help them. Since I’m not long time in this virtuality, I was a bit scared, but as the conference passed, all my fear flew away.
While I was an SM I could also listen the presentation, take part of it. This made the conference for me more special so I could learn not just from the presentations but the organization, and I could watch how a great community work together. All the presentations, what I could watch or I was SM I recorded and can be watched (well not in a good quality, I learnt from it): http://www.twitch.tv/sumanachen
My first experience was as an SM that a conference held in a Virtual Environment can be more flexible. Since the presenters could have technical difficulties, real life (RL) issues, a lot of presentation was cancelled, removed, and moved to other place. As the environment is digital, should be more flexible, but it seemed that sometimes if you wanted to present your innovation, was harder to move to this place. This flexibility and fast answer needed the managers from all over the world. My task seemed like too small compared to this. What was the good side of this fast change, that you could reach the other place by a teleport in 2-3 seconds, so you will not miss it? Can we do these stuff in real world?
The Saturday was my day where I could participate the most, however the conference can be watched from YouTube afterwards, it is much better to watch it alive. All the problem I found was not really a problem, and we could solve it very fast. Loads of presenter knew how to use the items, the sound was all time perfect, only few times was problem the echo. Only one time we needed to wait for managing a voice problem, and until we did that, I could realize how many people attends in this conference. I could see 40-60 people in a place which as far as I know is very high number. (I don’t know the exact attendants) What was so awesome about it, we came all around the world, like Norway, Italy, Australia, USA, Canada, and Finland. While I was amazed I also asked myself these questions:
– Who attends on this conference?
– Can be this conference bigger, better known?
– How we can improve the conference, do we need to improve it?

I think the conference attendants mostly educators, virtual environment users, and only very few people was newcomer, however most of the place was newcomer friendly, maybe the too many places can confuse the people (or using a HUD). While I was happy I saw many people there I was wondering, this conference doesn’t have the limits, what if we could welcome 1000 attendant, 10.000? Is that even possible? The rooms were not designed that way, but since we can add as many chair, as many we want it could be. Well the computer and the servers probably have they limit, but this Educational conference is important not just for those who knows about virtual education, it is good for everyone. So this conference can be bigger, and more worldwide. If the program not changes all time (even in the last minute) we proved the place, we all can discuss important keynotes about education worldwide.
We can improve in lot of things, some improvement is depends on the presenter, some is about us, and some we can just hope will change (like computer recommendations for SL) I already mentioned the loads of change, what can be positive, but also very negative. As a participant told me: “I came to listen to this presentation, and know it is cancelled.” She was disappointed and I can totally agree with her. Virtual environment goes through time but it was very important for me. Loads of presentation was held about 3-4 am in my time (GMT+1).
Since the voice was perfect I could hear anything very clearly. The importance of the good place for presenting is what I can learnt from that. Sometimes I heard dishwasher, laud background noise (even some scream to the children who wanted to watch what the adult is “playing”). Well it barely happened, but I have to point out, this is very important if you speak, no doubt why loads of Educational place do not support voice chat, sometimes it is hard to control it.
The rest of my report will write a little bit about some presentations:

Math in SL: http://www.twitch.tv/sumanachen/c/2627808)
VWBPE Link: http://www.vwbpe.org/ai1ec_event/the-stage-the-mathematics?instance_id=547

Displaying math, or numbers in a virtual world is a great advantage. I tried to understand how that project works, what we can do it. I have to admit it was harder to understand for me, but at the end of the presentation I was able the feel the “aha” effect. So that is a great advantage of that, you can understand by seeing, hearing and trying this out. The small children can see the cubes, so we can write down a number with them, and the adults also can solve much complicated equations.

Song-based learning in SL (http://www.twitch.tv/sumanachen/c/2638976)
VWBPE Link: http://www.vwbpe.org/ai1ec_event/sonic-immersion-hearing-is-believingcase-study-sound-studies-in-second-life-southern-illinois?instance_id=552

The presentation showed us that how students can make virtual situation, can use they sound and learn. Even a virtual environment can give much more virtuality not just what we do in there, but everything what is digital.

Make a Machinima in SL (http://www.twitch.tv/sumanachen/c/2639698)
VWBPE Link: http://www.vwbpe.org/ai1ec_event/creating-machinima-for-language-learning?instance_id=562

Have you ever tried to be a film-maker? Or wanted to be an actor or actress? Now you dream came true! Machinima is one of the most favorite way to learn and teach student loads of stuff, so does languages. You make a situation, record it you can add grammar lecture in it. It works perfectly. With adults, with students with everyone. Virtual Environment can provide the opportunity to make this. I have to mention that you will not learn only from logging in at talking to someone else, since most of the users doesn’t care about the grammar or punctuation, if you want to learn the language you need a specified class. It was very interesting that we can made two small machinima scene.

Learn history in SL (http://www.twitch.tv/sumanachen/b/436681424)
VWBPE Link: http://www.vwbpe.org/ai1ec_event/keynote-speaker-andrew-wheeler-sl-spiff-whitfield?instance_id=513

“History is boring” saying a lot of student, there is nothing new in it, just data’s, and we can’t even see how it was, how the world worked. This is over since we got the virtuality. In a Virtual Environment, you can walk in the old Paris in 1920’s or check Alexandria. In most place you can talk, you can read loads of competence information. A Virtual Environment is a kind of interactive exhibition, just you don’t have to travel. You can make machinima, historical quiz, and most importantly student will find history much more real, and important.

Global connections in SL (http://www.twitch.tv/sumanachen/b/436702915)
VWBPE Link: http://www.vwbpe.org/ai1ec_event/global-connectivity-through-implementing-virtual-worlds-across-time-space-and-age?instance_id=516

Four speaker, you should listen this kind of presentation. The educators are really a superheroes, and we all can be one. Once you see the benefits in Virtual Environment, a new world will open for you. You can use Minecraft for smaller children, Games or Second Life or other program.

VWER (Virtual World Educatiors Roundtable) (http://www.twitch.tv/sumanachen/b/436725350)
VWBPE Link: http://www.vwbpe.org/ai1ec_event/the-world-has-talent-champions-of-education-in-vws?instance_id=518

This talk was a kind a small roundtable, what VWER does all weak. I already participated in few roundtables and they are all great, you can talk or just listen about new inventions, education problems, how you can solve a problem, or manage your virtual education. On this talk we talked about who inspires you, what you found here and what you need. I loved the talk, I learnt a lot there. About me I have to say, that I’m inspired my professor János Ollé, than a Second Life education innovator from Hungary Zsolt Kristóf (Stephan Citron in SL). Once I found the foreign communities I think it was great what I found at Virtual Ability, and what Gentle Heron and every other member does (like ISkye, Slatan, Ladyslipper etc.). I’m also inspired by Lissena, who takes care about Brain Health. I could learn a lot in Builders Brewery, the VWER and Nonprofit Commons is a good place where I can get new information and I can continue. After this conference I met with a lot knew project, and I hope I can check them all soon or later.

Research in SL (http://www.twitch.tv/sumanachen/b/436752218)
VWBPE Link: http://www.vwbpe.org/ai1ec_event/virtual-world-research-for-education-methodology-benefits-and-challenges?instance_id=436

Making a research may cost lot, or need travelling, but not in Second Life. You have to listen this presentation if you want to make any research in a virtual environment, we can get good methodology and very interesting data’s from it. Since the research was made in 2010 I was wondering, what’ the results in 2013 if we made it, or what will be in 2020, 2050?

Beyond the Stage (http://www.twitch.tv/sumanachen/b/436775946)
VWBPE Link: http://www.vwbpe.org/ai1ec_event/beyond-the-stage?instance_id=559

This presentation is about what the Managers and this conference did. I already wrote my thoughts about it above. I was happy to participate in it, and could help out. Well maybe I can do next time.

MOOC and Second Life (http://www.twitch.tv/sumanachen/b/436843549)
VWBPE Link: http://www.vwbpe.org/ai1ec_event/closing-keynote-speaker-dave-cormier?instance_id=587

Virtual Education don’t come easy. You have to learn the Environment how to use, you have to discover by yourself. Since education is moving to the online field, the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) can prove very good lectures for those who can learn by himself. To show the real advantage of an environment is not enough a conference or a guided tour, what if we will combine it with a massive online course? I already finished some MOOC in Coursera and Canvas, I’ll be there and you?

Link: vwbpe.kamedia-interactive.com

Help newcomers in Second Life (http://www.twitch.tv/sumanachen/c/2646651)
VWBPE Link: http://www.vwbpe.org/ai1ec_event/featured-panel-resident-run-help-centers-teaching-new-users-about-second-life?instance_id=426

The last roundtable was held by those, who proved a field for those who are newcomer in the Virtual Environment. Or they provide lectures, interactivities, and a community. They already have 6 or more year experience in the field, so I probably like to listen it, and I’ll ask them if I have trouble. What was interesting for me that they are not connected with Linden lab, and maybe they should get more University and educational contact, it is maybe it is hard for a university to spread the idea of virtual learning?

By Sum Anachen

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