JOVS 6 n2

Journal of Virtual Studies • Vol 6, No 2, 2015 • ISSN 2155-0107

JoVS Editorial Information

Managing Editors
Leticia De León                                      Kevin Feenan
The University of Texas – Pan American               Rockcliffe University Consortium
United States                                        United States
Section Editors
Perspectives                                         Cultural Narratives
Henry C. Alphin Jr.                                  Susanna Nocchi
Drexel University                                    Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) 
United States                                        Ireland
Practical Applications                               In Review
Rachel A Umoren                                      Mari Carmen Gil Ortega
Ball State University                                University of the West of England
Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts                United Kingdom
United States

Applied Research
Peggy Daniels Lee
Indiana University
United States
Stasia Weston
University of South Alabama
United States
Editorial Review Board
James T. Abraham                                     J. Carl Henderson
Glendale Community College                           Caledon Oxbridge
United States

Scott P. Anstadt                                     Mark Mabrito
Florida Gulf Coast University                        Purdue University Calumet
United States                                        United States

Kim S. Flintoff                                      Jaime L. Magiera
Curtin Teaching and Learning/DVC Education           Sensory Research, Inc.
Australia                                            United States

Dean A. Gui                                          Stylianos Mystikadis
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University                 University of Patras
Hong Kong                                            Greece

Joe Floyd                                            Michael Vallance
University of South Florida Library                  Future University Hakote
United States                                        Japan
About the Journal
The Journal of Virtual Studies is peer reviewed and open access.  It is sponsored 
by the Rockcliffe University Consortium, and its main aim is to feature work 
that examine knowledge emergence in virtual spaces, whether they be web 
2.0  or  3D  applications.    We  encourage  teachers,  academics,  practitioners,  
and others engaged in the use of any virtual space for education, research, or 
training, to submit proposals to the journal.
Focus and Scope
The  mission  of  the  Journal  of  Virtual  Studies  is  to  publish  theoretical  and  
practical concepts for the application of knowledge within virtual spaces. All 
methods, including, but not limited to, qualitative, quantitative, field testing, 
laboratory,  meta-analytics,  grounded  theory,  and  combinations  thereof  are  
welcome. JoVS is interdisciplinary and international in scope. Preference is 
given to submissions that test, extend, or build either theoretical or practical 
frameworks dealing with knowledge emergence and virtual sciences outside 
traditional practice.
•Applied Research
•Practical Application
•Cultural Narratives
•In Review
JoVS is free and open access.  In order to receive publication notices, please register at the website:
Author Guidelines
JoVS  accepts  submissions  year  round,  with  publication  occurring  at  the next publication edition for those who get accepted
after a blind   peer review process. The submission process is fully online, so that authors must first register in the website. 

Papers should be written in APA style, following all formatting as indicated by this style manual.  Currently, there are no page
limitations to   submissions, as  long  as  they  fit  one  of  our  sections,  are  well-written,  and  have  full  APA  
style and citation usage.
Submissions should include an abstract (150-200 words) and a separate title page with author(s) information and affiliation.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with 
the  work  simultaneously  licensed  under  a  Creative  Commons  Attribution  
License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the 
work’s authorship and initial publication in this journal.
ISSN: 2155-0107

JoVS Call for Papers

Theme: The Conscious Avatar

A defining characteristic of a virtual space, whether it be web-based or 3D, is the user’s iconic representation by an avatar. It can be an image, emoticon, symbolic representation, and even a three dimensional manifestation of the self, either completely fictionalized or based on true physical attributes.

An avatar can both hide and display the truth, in many forms, both symbolic and literal.

Consider the power of this avatar to help shape thought and action, how many professions are using the avatar to advance research, break the boundaries of training, take educational practice to new frontiers, and even examine the evolving self and how it challenges and changes our identities.

In our next issue, we would like you to pay tribute to the conscious avatar by offering us your fresh perspectives, research, practical application, cultural narratives, and reviews.

The possibilities for papers are many, with the potential to answer some of the questions posed by the editors in the edifice, as well as other, more specific ones.

Consider this:

How have the emergence of avatars to explore virtual spaces and represent us changed the way we define ourselves as professionals, educators, practitioners, and private citizens? Should we trust them? Have they brought forth the liberation of the self to the extent that new theories are emerging, new ways to see virtuality, and even new ways to define the impact each of us can make? What philosophies do they espouse?

How has the avatar redefined the boundaries of research methodologies? In what way have they shaped research and how research questions occur? What research is emerging into new born identities, immersion in virtual spaces, and the possibilities that avatars potentially create or limit in any given research?

To what extent has the avatar also redefined best practices? Has it changed the way we design educational and training opportunities? Have our students, interns, trainees, and professionals been changed by their avatars and those of their teachers? Has their involvement made their experiences richer or less reliable?

What is the social and cultural impact of the avatar? How are emerging identities shaping personal stories and shifting existing epistemologies? Is there a difference to how society now both constructs and views reality

Will you answer the call?

The Journal of Virtual Studies is now accepting papers through its online portal for tenative publication in Summer 2015.

About VWBPE 2015

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference is held in trust for the Educational Community by Rockcliffe University Consortium who are responsible for the financial, copyright, and infrastructure concerns of the conference. The VWBPE Executive is made up of members from Rockcliffe’s Board of Directors and the education community.

2015 was a crossroads.

Every day is a crossroad that intersects a million tiny events. Most barely cause a ripple. Some radiate to lap softly at far flung and distant shores. Others unleash a torrent which can change the world. How we choose to reflect ourselves in each crossing has a bearing on our society whether we are being observed at each intersection or not. Challenge yourself to think on ways in which your crossroads creates positive energy. Make it a reality. Share.

Mission Statement

The Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) is a community-based conference that provides opportunities for participants in all virtual worlds to share current teaching, learning, and research practices in 3D virtual environments. Conference presentations focus on teaching/learning, scholarly work, projects, events, activities and new and innovative tools for virtual education. Presenters will focus on the identification of best practices in education designed for 3D virtual world technology

Editor’s Edifice

As we begin to close the 2015 chapter on the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education, we consider what we have learned, where we may be going, and how we may keep improving the experience for our participants.

We met at a crossroads this year: of education, inspiration, possibilities, transformations, and unparalleled choices. Much is changing in virtual environments and in Second Life, and our conference opened to another anticipated keynote address by Ebbe Altberg. Some of us were looking for answers, reassurance, or hope. All of us wanted the affirmation of our professional work, and while we all came away with different impressions of his message, there was one that was undeniable: the sands are shifting.

VWBPE presenters and participants demonstrated once more in the four days that followed the opening, that there is still much that can be done, that will be done, and that will continue to be done. Our academic program did not disappoint, a peer reviewed lineup of lectures, workshops, and panels that spanned research, advocacy, best practices, and so much more. Even our invited speakers—keynotes, featured speakers and featured panels—rose to the challenge and showed us that virtual environments thrive under a crossroads of choice and the roads we take —or create— become the notches on a belt of hard-won experience.

However, this year’s conference wasn’t just about showcasing the latest research and work by leading educators, practitioners, and advocates in virtual worlds. It was about tapping the knowledge base of our participants. We did this through our Quadrivium sessions—discussions meant to tap into our collective intelligence. We came away once again with a rich treasure of information, to which JoVS is humbled to become its custodian. These proceedings are the first that showcase written papers on these discussions.

VWBPE was also about our social program. We attended a tribute concert to Eric Clapton, went to the theatre on a snow globe, and enjoyed a spectacular closing party. If you explored carefully, you may have even stumbled onto some games and a quaint little café. Whether into boots or bling, our participants found ways to let their hair down and take the chance to relax and talk to friends, or make new ones.

So we close the year of the ram and look forward to next year’s monkey. Where do we go from here? Nowhere but forward onto new Horizons.

Leticia De Leon Kevin Feenan JoVS Managing Editors VWBPE Executive Directors

VWBPE Acknowledgements

Executive Committee
Kevin Feenan
Leticia De León
Dirk McKeenan
Organizational Committees
Kevin Feenan

Leticia De León

Roseanne Vojtec

Becky Adams

Lorraine Mockford

Bevan Whitefield

Website/Information Technology 
Dirk McKeenan
iSkye Silverweb
Jeannette McDonald, Tender Skytower
Nigma Sterling
Hal Jordan
Andy Wheelock, Spiff Whitfield
Bob Vojtek, BJ Gearbox
Carol Silverman, globalhugger
Mark McKee, JetBlack Miles
Megan Hauser, Megynn Haus
Rob Wolf, Harvey
Scott Merrick 
Stephen Gasior, Stephen Xootfly
Mal Burns
Petlove Petshop
Chris Banks
Opal Lei
Jason Holmes, scottholmes Aghurabor
Julie Perkins, Monavie Voight
thierry eyraud, thierryAH thierry
Marcia Kloepper, Marcia Kjeller
Christel Schneider, Letty Pienaar
Dauna Kiser, Ghaelen Winnikow
Adrienne Pascal
Arta Aere
Hexicola Zuzu
Sin Huginn Li
Wyvern Blazewood
littleharley Resident
Beth S O’Connell, Beth Ghostraven
Chris Luchs, Abacus Capalini
Coz Okelly, Coz Okelly
Kae Novak, Kavon Zenovka
Marie Booz, Mandie Mimulus
Mary O’Brien, Serena Offcourse
Nan Zingrone, Maggie Larimore
Tanya Smedley, GridJumper
Trish Cloud, Neemana
Vasili A. Giannoutsos, Bluebarker Lowtide
Alice Kreuger, Gentle Heron
Alma Ivonne Ruelas, VivienneAKittenn
Anne Marie Countie, Aine Bealtaine
Buffy Bye, Buffy Beale
Carmela Dell’Aria, Misy Ferraris
Carol Taylor, Carla Source
Gabriel Challiol, lukeskywalker luminos
Harald Schwarzmüller, Wolwaner Resident
Jill Wagner, jiwings resident
Kathleen Watkins, Serene Jewell
Leah Hardessty, killlashandra Lavendel
Rose Leo, Rose Sak
Rossana Barrios, Pi Illios
Tammy James, Raven Luna
Trent Warnock, Pim Peccable
Fran Gustav
Debbyom Resident
Ana Duarte, Winter Wardhani
Chris Robinson, Grizzla Pixelmaid
Delenn Daines, Delenn Daines
Elisa Segoni, Elektra Panthar
Giovanni Anfossi, Slatan Dryke
James Lloyd, James Atlloud
Judy Kelly, Aquiel Aero
Kay Pierce, Kay Jiersen
Kim Harrison, Thunder insippo
Laura Briggs, Cyndyl Enyo
Laura Jones, Chraeloos Resident
Leanne Garvie, Garvie Garzo
Linda Lindsey, Zola Zsun
Maha Abdelmoneim, Olivetree Lighthouse
Marion Smeltzer, Nova Saunders
Royann Black, Ruby Vandyke
Cathy, Ladyslipper Constantine
Carolyn Carillon
C. Brian Cleveley, Eyem Beck
K.D. Hatheway-Dial, Jorgia Blackburn
Joey Peutz, Zoey Jeruben
Elyse Vaartstra, Jade Shadow
Lori Wahl, Diantha Petrov

Editorial Review Board
Elisa Segoni
Justin Reeve
Susanna Nocchi
Scott Anstadt
Maricarmen Gil
Andres Padilla Oviedo
Francisca Yonekura
Michael Vallance
Sandrine Han
Ramesh Sharma
Irene Knokh
Mark Choman
Doug Switzer
Lisa Durff
Sharon Kibbe
Peggy Daniels Lee

2015 Thinkerer Award

In 2014, the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Organizational Committee instituted a new personal achievement award to recognize an individual who has provided outstanding service to both the field of education and the virtual world community at large. The THINKERER AWARD is presented to an individual whose deeds and actions have shown a consistent selfless service towards the promotion of learning, community, educational practices, and who exemplifies the spirit of cooperative development within immersive environments.

Recipients of this award are not simply outstanding professionals in their field. Award recipients must characterize transformational leadership qualities to:

  • envision and guide change;
  • enhance the motivation, morale, and performance of both peers and pupils;
  • promote best practices and continuous improvement; and
  • inspire others through their words and actions.

One such individual is ALICE KRUEGER, better known to many of us as Gentle Heron.

Ms. Krueger is the founder and President of Virtual Ability, Inc., a real world non-profit organization based in Colorado, USA, with a well-established presence in Second Life. She holds a Master of Science degree and is a mother of three. After a career spanning nearly 40 years in education, teaching both regular and special education, then program management, professional development and research, Ms. Krueger became fully disabled with multiple sclerosis. But this didn’t stop her. To combat the isolation which commonly besets people with significant disabilities, she founded a 501(c) (3), with a mission to bring people with disabilities into online virtual worlds by providing a supporting environment in which to thrive there.

Gentle Heron first rezzed into Second Life when the Heron Sanctuary was established in 2007. Virtual Ability, Inc. officially adopted the new name in 2008 after having helped numerous people get “up and running” in Second Life. The original group has grown in size from about 150 individuals to nearly 1000 members, with an ever-stronger reputation within Second Life as the leading cross-disability community of support for people with real world disabilities. In 2009, VAI won the first Linden Prize for providing “a series of courses and resources to help people with real-world disabilities get acclimated and start using Second Life” and for its ground-breaking new resident orientation course on Virtual Ability Island.

Since that time, Virtual Ability has collaborated with researchers in disability studies and with projects to enhance the lives of people with disabilities. VAI has worked on such diverse projects as:

  • Virtual programs for military amputees with the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command;
  • Participation in EmployAble, a Kessler Foundation grant project of the University of Hawaii’s Center on Disability Studies; and
  • Virtual Health Adventures, led by Nova Southeastern University, College of Health Care Sciences.

As a mother, activist, educator, researcher, and leader, Gentle’s contributions as president of Virtual Ability have resulted in the escalation of discussion, for and about people with disabilities in virtual world settings, to a level which did not exist before 2007. Her virtual world efforts are a reflection of her tireless work in all worlds:

  • Real world speaking engagements on disability-related topics
  • Featured speaker at the Second Life Community Convention in 2009
  • Authored and co-authored articles on assistive technologies and virtual worlds
  • Featured in the “Login 2 Life” project, described as “on the very edge of civilisation, documenting a lifestyle so entirely new, that few have managed to look beneath the surface of this emerging phenomenon”

Ms. Krueger has raised the bar for bringing equality in education for persons with disabilities into both the political and corporate boardrooms. Her efforts have led to significant changes at local, national, and international levels.

It is for all these reasons, and more, that the VWBPE Organizational Committee proudly confirms Alice Krueger as the VWBPE 2015 Thinkerer Award recipient.

Full Paper

Annalisa Boniello
School of Science and Technology, Geology Division
University of Camerino, Italy
Eleonora Paris 
School of Science and Technology, Geology Division
University of Camerino, Italy
The  research  project  focuses  on  the  experience  of  teachers  training  on  using  serious  game  activities  in  a  
virtual  island  called  UnicamEarth  Island.  Built  with  software  Open  Sim  (,  on  a  
server from the University of Camerino (Italy). In the training, science teachers were involved into serious 
games  on  geosciences.  The  serious  game  activities  have  the  following  features:  treasure  hunt,  role-play,  
problem  solving  and  collaborative  activity.  The  training  involved  50  Italian  science  teachers  of  secondary  
schools from first and second grade. The first aim of this project is to improve the skills of science teachers 
in a new approach to science education using virtual worlds. The second aim is to test learning activities on 
geosciences education. The research project is part of a PhD research (Annalisa Boniello’ s PhD) on Teaching 
Earth Science of Geology Division, School of Science and Technology, University of Camerino (Italy).
Keywords: serious game, geosciences, education, training, virtual worlds


In the recent years the use of virtual worlds in education is rising. Different educational experiences in virtual worlds emphasized this trend; the results and tests are presented in some international conferences like the followings: Open Simulator Community Conference (, Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (, IeD - Immersive Education Conference ( The virtual worlds programs are an innovative approach for learning science. By introducing Virtual World Science programs in the classrooms, teachers will stimulate students and revolutionize the way science is taught in the secondary schools (Boniello, Paris, 2015).

The virtual worlds are multiuser virtual environments (MUVE), three - dimensional environments in which an immersive experience takes place through a simulation of online physical presence with an avatar, a digital representation of a user. In this type of environment, we can ‘live’ an immersive training in an imaginary context using simulation of real world. The use of simulation was born in military trainings. In the Roman Empire, 'commanders used sand tables with abstract icons to represent soldiers and units in battles. These allowed leaders to visualize and manipulate a small physical copy of the battlefield' (Smith, 2009). Today the effectiveness of the use of 3D virtual environments for training experience is shared in literature, used in Heath (LeRoy, Yougblood, Harter, Dev, 2008) and in military trainings (Smith, 2014). The constructivist virtual worlds are environments where collaborative learning, learning by doing and situated learning are possible (Aldrich, 2005, Dawley & Dede, 2014, Dickey, 2003). The aims are: 1) to prove that the use of virtual worlds is a new tool and a new strategy in science education 2) to innovate science teaching 3) to spread best practices in science education. This project represents an example of a training, social and role-play world (de Freitas, 2008), this will allow the learning experience (Wagner, 2008) to be more engaging.


Science teachers were invited to an online registration and granted access to UnicamEarth Island. The call for registration was widespread online using the site and social network like Facebook through groups dedicated to science teachers. Fifty science teachers, located on Italian territory, have filled the registration form. Everyone received by email a username and password, data for log in the UnicamEarth Island.

The aim of the training was to improve competencies of science teachers to use virtual worlds in geosciences education. In order to develop collaboration and familiarization between the science teachers, a group was created on Facebook called UnicamEarth Island, in which photos and information can be posted and shared. Science teachers (fig.1) joined ten online meetings, ninety minutes each. The step on game design was focused on the use of serious game in the virtual worlds.

The 3D virtual environment, where the training takes place, is called UnicamEarth Island. The island, built with Open Sim software, is a standalone mode on the server of Camerino University. The project of UnicamEarth Island is described on where the science teachers can look for information. On the site, there are tutorials how to log in the virtual environment and information on geosciences paths.

In the virtual island, science teachers can visit the following geosciences paths : Volcanism, Campi Flegrei, Earthquakes and Tsunami, A geologist in field. For science teachers activities there are teachers’ area, laboratory area (sandbox) and project area. The plan of training was organized in 3 phases: familiarization, learning activities (with serious games activities) and project work. The serious games activities were:

1. Volcanic path;
2. A treasure hunt on minerals and rocks;
3. Role-play on Tolomeo, Copernico and Galeo.

The volcanic path was organized like a serious game with a guided sheet. The guided sheet had six questions on volcanism; in the path, science teachers should find the answers. There are problem-solving questions on volcanism. The winner was a science teacher that found more answers in thirty minutes.

The mission was described on a notecard. The mission was a search on magmatic rocks, types of volcanoes, volcanic phenomena. The science teachers, organized in small groups, need it to search objects and take a snapshot of every object to prove their activity.

Each object had a score, the group that found more objects, was the winner.

The role-play activity was to build a role-play environment. The science teachers were required to build a role-play on the following famous scientists: Tolomeo, Copernico and Galileo.

All the science teachers, also in collaborative mode, created a role-play environment. These role-play environments were tested among all the participants.

Results and Discussion

Before the activities, every teachers filled out an online survey with following data:

• Bio data
• School level
• Degree
• Genre
• Age
• Familiarity and perception of the environment

The survey is built according to Likert scale (1 strongly disagree to 5 strongly agree).

Analyzing the data, the science teachers have shown the following characteristics: Mage 55, 43 female and 7 male, located in Italian territory.

At the end of the second part of the training, twenty science teachers have participated in an online interview. Focus of the interview was on credence, confidence, perception, motivation and use’s perspective of serious game in science education.

Twenty science teachers have the following characteristics:

1. 18 F 2 M;
2. Mage 55;
3. 50% of secondary school I grade and 50% secondary school of II grade;
4. 100% online participation.

Survey data (pre-test) shows that:

1. Science teachers do not use virtual worlds and serious games for learning activities.
2. They think virtual worlds and serious games must be used in science education.
3. Serious game could improve student’s motivation in study geosciences.

The evidence is that everyone is interested in learning the virtual worlds for science education. The data, collected by interviews, take over the opinion about virtual worlds and their use in science education. The data also show that science teachers would like to learn how to use a 3D virtual environment to teach the use of serious games and role-plays. These activities might motivate students in the study of earth sciences.


From this research, it seems clear the science teachers have been involved and engaged in geosciences activities with new methodologies in a virtual world using the role-play and the serious game. The results of participation and the test show that: demand of new technologies in science education is growing.

Science teachers would like to innovate their methodologies with tools more appealing to their students like serious games and role-plays.

This approach can improve the motivation in geosci- ences learning and can motivate science teachers to innovate their science education.

These environments have produced motivation in science teachers to change their classroom activities on geosciences and to produce new activities in geosciences using virtual worlds.


Aldrich C., (2005), Learning by doing: A comprehensive guide to simulations, computer games, and pedagogy in e-learning and other educational experiences. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer

Boniello A., Paris E., (2015), A teacher training on geosciences in Virtual Worlds, in Proceeding of International Conference ‘The future of science education’ (Pixel), Florence. (in press)

Dawley L., and Dede C., (2014), "Situated learning in virtual worlds and immersive simulations." Handbook of research on educational communications and technology, Springer New York, 723-734.

Dickey M. D. (2003), Teaching in 3D: Pedagogical affordances and constraints of 3D virtual worlds for synchronous distance learning. Distance Education, 24(1), 105–121.

de Freitas S. (2008), Serious virtual worlds: a scoping study, Jlsc e-learing programme,

LeRoy Heinrichs, W., Yougblood P., Harter P. M., Dev, P., (2008), Simulation for Team Training and Assessment: Case Studies of Online Training with Virtual Worlds, World Journal of Surgery, feb 2008 Volume 32, Issue2, pp.161-170

Smith R., (2014), Military Simulations Using Virtual Worlds, in The Oxford Handbook of Virtuality, Mark Grimshaw, Editor, University of Bolton, UK, Chapter 42.

Smith R. (2009), The long history of gaming in military training, Simulation & Gaming, 40th Anniversary Issue 1

Wagner, C., (2008), Learning Experience with Virtual Worlds, Journal of Information Systems Education, Vol. 19, No. 3, Fall 2008

Quadrivium Papers


Facilitated Discussion March 18, 2015

James Lloyd, Facilitator and Paper Author


Gamification is a concept that has enjoyed popularity in educational and adult learning discussions. According to a Gartner hype-cycle report on emerging technologies, Gamification has entered the ‘trough of disillusionment’ ( This suggests then that the concept is on a path to stability. This Quadrivium discussion is hoped to get insight to the topic from the perspective of learning practitioners in virtual worlds.


The discussion was guided by a handful of questions that this facilitator researched in education blogs. Other topics emerged in the course of the discussion.

Throughout the discussion the definition of gamification was quite fluid. We began by trying to come to a shared understanding of the term, but in the course of discussion we often wandered in and out of one single sense of meaning. We began from an understanding of gamification as applying gaming mechanics in non- gaming environments and also using game-like elements in learning processes. The drift in meaning came largely from the learner’s experience and introduced elements of play which has its own term - playful learning.

We also had participants emphasize that gamification is distinct from gaming, or using games in learning. Gamification does not necessarily include a game, and elements of gamification do not require the context of being part of a game. Again, the use of games in learning also has its own term - game-based learning.

We then attempted to move on from the definition of gamification and discussed a variety of experiences, including the importance of rewards as an element of gamification. Along the lines of playful-learning, it was suggested that the gamification experience is its own reward.

We returned briefly to problems of how people might react to the word. It was suggested that adult learners might find resistance to the term, thinking that it implies it is only for children.

At this point, the discussion turned to more in-depth aspects of the elements of gamification and how an instructor could approach evaluation of outcomes. It was questioned whether qualitative or statistical analysis was more suited to a gamified experience. This connected with several participants who related examples of connecting storytelling as a learning method and how it is most often a qualitative assessment that is the best fit. Storytelling then led to the idea of quest-based learning, which does have elements of gamification but also is a distinct learning method. Storytelling is a very old tradition and in this way makes the concept of gamification something that may not be all that recent but more a return to something traditional. The effects of social learning and motivation seemed to be important to the participants as a supporting aspect of gamification.

Several participants worked to bring the discussion back to a more precise meaning of gamification and discuss importance of specifying outcomes that represent the methods of a game, such as the use of earning points or badges to tally progress. This also connected with the social aspects of comparison and competition for points as motivational factors. This also brought forth a discussion of the costs of choosing to gamify a learning experience in terms of not just technology but also time to develop and create activities that are consistent, fair and engaging.

Best practices

There were a number of participants who demonstrated a good amount of experience and knowledge of gamifying a learning experience. They indicated that to be successful they found it important to be very specific about the outcomes they expected and also to be specific about the nature of the learning cohorts, especially in regards to age, gender and cultural differences.

It was also suggested that attention to the learning experience had been the most effective. Aspects mentioned included instant feedback, enjoyment, social sharing, teamwork, rewarding helpfulness and the degree to which the experience tells a story.

Potential Pitfalls

It was emphasized that the struggle we experienced with regard to the meaning of the term is important to maintain an awareness of confusing in overlapping terms. Confusion exists between the terms gamify, game-based, game-learning, quest-based and playful learning.

Another concern was that an instructor should take care to put too much focus on a reward. It was asked if gamification is defined as any method where the learner ‘gets something’? The concern was that the learning would become less important than the reward.

Awareness should also be applied in the social aspect of earning points, becoming competitive, and potentially stratifying learners in ways that produce adverse affect. Recommendations

Participants were eager to share examples and erences on the subject of gamification.

Stylianos (SL) shared a slide deck of ‘how we used gamification in face-to-face’ which contains a very useful sequence of models depicting games, play and the learning experience. immersive-environments-as-enabler-for-blended- gamified-learning-experiences

Decka Mah (SL) shared a framework named “Octalysis” provided by Yu-Kai Chou in the form of an eight- dimension graphic with a rich list of gamification elements. Decka commented that the framework links motivation theory to game elements. octalysis-complete-gamification-framework/

Calisto Encinal (SL) recommended a web service based in Taiwan that allows instructors to create a learning experience where a territorial map is created as learners answer questions provided by the teacher.

Scogin (SL) provided a link to a MOOC that began April 21 that includes 17 instructors (including Yu-Kai Chou in the link above) on topics of gamification, followed by a link to a blog from an earlier version of the MOOC.

Spiff Whitfield (SL) shared an OpenSim project named “Heir of the King” which is one part of a virtual environment named “Islands of Enlightenment”

Cathy Corral (SL) provided a link to the blog of the Seanchai library with regions in SL, InWorldz and OpenSim created to ‘bring stories to life’.

8bit biologist (SL) recommended a game learning environment named Classcraft as an example of a platform educators can use.

Decka Mah (SL) recommended a book by author Lee Sheldon titled “The Multiplayer Classroom” which documents methods used by the author to gamify activities in a classroom.

Other Ideas

A sense of confusion remained about just what gamification means, exemplified in the following comments.

• “So, what would it be called if a learner does like to learn - and the knowledge or understanding is its own reward?”
• “Does your philosophy matter, as long as learners are learning?”
• “Playful learning can include gamification but doesn’t have to?”
• “So gamification assumes competition?”

Similarly, a sense of concern remained about the social aspects of game methods in learning environments. “Do we think there is a definable line between motivation and support by peers, and as 8-bit mentioned, the group sentiment that one learner is holding back the group?”

There was also a comment that it is often assumed that a practitioner in a virtual world has familiarity with gaming, which is not always an accurate assumption.

“I have a hard time seeing second life or open sim as gaming platforms - I don’t play many video games but I work in virtual environments. How can we integrate the two for someone like me?”


I enjoyed how we moved through the discussion from a very granular look at the elements of Gamification and expanded to concepts that were social, qualitative and philosophical. The participants brought an impressive range of actual practice in Gamification as well as a genuine curiosity about the topic. We learned that there are still a wide range of definitions of the term and how it can be implemented. We also learned that while some practitioners have successfully used the principles of gamification in learning design, it is still a difficult goal to accomplish in terms of cost, acceptance and demonstrating value.

Accessibility and Tools

Facilitated Discussion March 19, 2015

Facilitator: Chraeloos Aristotelous

Paper Authors: Chraeloos Aristotelous, Ghaelen D’Lareh


The following report details the topics discussed during the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference 2015 Quadrivium session topic ‘Accessibility and Tools in Virtual Worlds’. In this session we invited the audience to consider the accessibility of virtual worlds and what can be done to improve them. ‘Accessibility’ refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. During the VWBPE conference, we saw that virtual worlds offer environments for education, gamification, learning, discussion, entertainment and many other things. It can be easier for people with limited mobility to access resources such as counselling, peer support, education, spirituality & religion, and socialization. But of course, as in all things, there are two sides - and virtual worlds show a lot of room for desired growth in accessibility.

We came together during the conference this year to discuss potential tools for sight, sound, and limited ability, and we came to the conclusion that virtual worlds don’t need to have the tools built in. Rather, they should provide ways for accessibility tools to “hook on.” Here, I’ll explore some of the main ideas that were mentioned during the event to increase accessibility of virtual worlds in this report. The topics will be separated by focus so they are easier to navigate. We will expand on the ideas discussed in categories of best practices, potential pitfalls, and recommendations.

A concept that came up quite often that I wanted to define was that of Universal Design principles. This was defined in The Disability Act 2005 as (

The design and composition of an environment so that it may be accessed, understood and use

1.To the greatest possible extent
2.In the most independent and natural manner possible
3.In the widest possible range of situations
4.Without the need for adaptation, modification, assistive devices or specialised solutions, by any
persons of any age or size or having any particular physical, sensory, mental health or intellectual ability
or disability, and
Means, in relation to electronic systems, any electronics-based process of creating products, services or systems so
that they may be used by any person.

For the rest of this article, “Universal Design” or “UD” is referring to the above definition.

For more information on accessibility in US law - that which most virtual worlds are based - see “Section 508.” (

General Ideas

Quite a lot of what was discussed was about blindness, even though the population of fully blind users in general is one of the smallest disability groups, i.e. it’s one of the least common disabilities, even less common than not being able to type. Some larger disability groups include those with physical limitations who need speech to text integrated. However, a few of the participants were completely blind, so they were able to offer an informed perspective on the tools that could be enhanced. Many tools are already available for people with low vision in the Preferences of the viewers, so we will focus on tools for complete blindness.

One of the things that was suggested is the ability for the grid to detect the viewer being used so if the user is on a text-only viewer they can be prompted to have sounds transmitted about things like the sim description - what it’s about and what it looks like - nearby object names and descriptions being read aloud, sound cues, and sounds when walking. A way to make this more accessible in the meantime is to ensure that object names and descriptions are filled out detailing what the object does and how to interact with it to make it function. For instance, a dance ball could be named “Dance ball w/ animation hud” with a description saying “Left click for a menu of dancing animations”. Object names are a lot like alt tags in web pages, which are the alternative text for objects such as images and videos that may not be able to be rendered in some clients, and are also used for screen reader software for people who listen to the content of a webpage.

Best Practices

It was pointed out that regardless of the limited- or dis-ability in question, the group “Virtual Ability” have been outstanding advocates for a range of users and they provide support to all users. You can find more information about them at their website, here:

Many of the participants mentioned that they have not yet found an assistive technology that could not be interfaced with Second Life or other virtual worlds.

What is most easy, and what is recommended to new virtual world explorers, is to find ways to use the assistive tech (AT) that they already have with the user interfaces of virtual worlds. One of the accessibility tools that is already working fairly well is speech-to-text, which is built into the accessibility tools of all modern computer operating systems and is used to type as well as to control avatars. However, this feature only works for some languages, even if the characters can be typed, and even if it works in those languages with web browsers and word documents.

There is a new viewer in development which adapts to the grid, changing the controls based on what grid you are using; it offers modifiable options in all grids. It is called OnLook, and has brought up some interest amongst those using AT as it may be the solution. And, it already works with Singularity viewer, which is one of the more widely used viewers that is hypergrid enabled. You can find more info about it at the blog link shared during the discussion: blog/?p=566.

Most of the users of virtual worlds probably don’t even realize that their colleagues and friends cannot hear or cannot see. It is best to give responses to questions like “where is the teleporter?” in ways that leave room for all abilities. For instance, answering “it’s by the blue box” or “it’s behind me” will not help someone with limited sight. Instead, you could say “it’s by the blue box and is called “VW Teleporter”.”

For all creators, builders and developers it is important to properly name items so that a screenreader can pick it up. Descriptive names are very important for this purpose: for example, “Blue Box Inter-region Teleporter.”

Potential Pitfalls

When it comes to pitfalls, the first thing that comes to mind is price. For the most widely used speech-to-text software, the prices for individual use start at US$75, and that’s for the most basic package. If a user wishes to purchase software such as this, it is best to buy it around the holidays when prices go down before they release the next version.

Additionally, software like this often needs to be trained to learn a person’s voice and how they say things - so it is perhaps not the most accessible. Many of those who are on disability assistance already lack basic necessities, but in some places there is government funding for assistive devices/tech. It does take time to get approved for each request, though. A good practice is to always ask about educational discounts for both teachers and students when someone needs software, etc. Often discounts are available but they won’t be advertised. For US higher-education teachers/students, the campus Student Accessibility Office is the place to start (may be called something different depending on where you are) as they will be able to help professors as well as students.

Many universities are still behind in tech accessibility - some are only just retooling their displays this year to allow people who are blind and deaf to interact with them, and many teachers do not know how to use virtual worlds, either.

Some assistive tech users tab to move from place to place on the screen; they hover their cursor on one UI element, hit tab, and move to it. But, when the Second Life viewer was evaluated, the cursor disappeared after a few attempts at this. Even the Linden Lab (LL) coders did not know where the cursor went.

Devices such as Oculus Rift that are in the works still need eyes and ears, but for someone with limited physical mobility that may be easier than having to interface with some of the mouse and keyboard technology already out there. Another issue with devices such as this is vertigo - it can be a strong trigger. This is a work in progress, and may benefit some more than others.

The topic of “white canes” or guide dogs was brought up - in the physical world, people can see that a person is of limited/no sight and are better about describing things or offering assistance. But in virtual worlds, there isn’t something like this. There used to be a “Max the Guide Dog” in Second Life, that would read out what was near your avatar into text, but the creator has left and it’s no longer available. It was based on the Viewer 1 system and was very script heavy, so it tended to cause more problems than it solved. The text only viewers are said to work much better than Max ever did, so this is something that probably won’t be developed further. Also, many people come to virtual worlds to overcome their disability and to interact with others outside of the normal social and physical constraints; not everyone will be interested or keen to “show” their disability in virtual worlds by wearing a guide dog or a cane.

On the topic of text only viewers, it is understood that the next generation Second Life viewer, commonly called “SL2” (though Ebbe Linden disregarded this title at his opening address at VWBPE 2015) will not be supporting any third party viewers. This will end support for text only viewers like Radegast (, but it may then allow for 3rd party plug- ins. The next generation viewer is a work in progress, and when the Linden Lab representatives were questioned about this during the opening address, they stated that they are not focused on accessibility “at this point”. See “Recommendations” below for more details on the Radegast viewer.


A key recommendation is to integrate some kind of training in Universal Design with respect to all aspects of teaching & designing in and out of the metaverse within teacher and educator training at a university level. If those who are in teaching positions know how to simplify and analyze a virtual world, they would be better equipped to assist those with disabilities in using not only the virtual worlds, but other learning resources as well.

The text only viewer that is most highly recommended is Radegast, though the creator has left SL because he has become ill. A few of the participants of the discussion have been taking part in initial conversations on how to continue to develop the Radegast viewer, and they are looking for viewer developers who are interested in helping with this.

It has been suggested that it might be beneficial to start with a very simple environment. Second Life, though the most popular virtual world, is very heavily detailed and involved, which makes it intimidating and difficult to get accustomed to. It is generally agreed that educators would not use Second Life as a learning environment as it is so oriented towards casual socialization; however, considering the new focus from Linden Labs (creators of SL) towards expanding their education sector, we would do well to consider establishing a landing point that is simple and linear and which follows Universal Design principles. For the time being, it is probably best for educators to stay in smaller grids such as AvaCon or private, school-funded grids so they can organize the information in a way that best suits their students.

Another area that could use development is assistive tech integration. Many people with disabilities already use various kinds of assistive tech (AT) to access both the physical world and worlds inside computers. What we need to focus on for further development of virtual worlds is a “hook” to connect the AT to the user interfaces. Though some AT already works in virtual worlds, it is not seamless and still has many ways to develop.


In general, it is agreed that for new users, including students, virtual worlds currently don’t feel very accessible. It could be because many people have never even played 3D games before. At the same time, perhaps for greater introspect, we also came to understand that no world is ever going to be fully accessible to people using assistive tech - not even the physical world. Our task is to strive for the most accessibility possible. The best solution for all worlds - both physical and virtual - is if all design uses Universal Design Principles, as discussed in the introduction of this report.

Currently, the only laws requiring accessibility state the requirement for learning materials only, in which virtual worlds are not a part. It might be useful to broaden legal requirements so that all virtual worlds have a minimum standard they have to meet. It would also be of great benefit to require all Higher Education institutions to be accessible in all the learning environments used by those them.

In the future, technology may develop to a point where virtual worlds are accessible on more interactive levels. Though it was brought up that virtual worlds are currently highly inaccessible, the technology developing may enable us to one day have mobile devices implanted into our selves which may make virtual worlds more accessible. Even devices such as Oculus Rift, which are already in development, may make virtual worlds more accessible to people with certain disabilities, as discussed previously. But something like a direct neural connection would change virtual worlds forever. More information on neural interfaces can be found here:

In conclusion, we should submit “use cases” rather than complaints to Linden Labs in order to achieve the most influence on the next generation of SL currently in development. This is the link to use in order do that ( Anyone interested in seeing a sample build that illustrates good practice (Universal Design), can contact Gentle Heron at her email ( for a behind the scenes tour to Virtual Ability’s two public islands. Overall, this discussion was highly influential and quite a few virtual world developers attended. We all learned a lot, and here’s hoping that it has some influence!

Educators and the Second Life Viewer

Facilitated Discussion featuring Oz Linden March 20, 2015

Facilitators: Stephen Xootfly, James Lloyd

Paper Author: Stephen Xootfly

Oz Linden, former Director of Open Development and current Director of Second Life Engineering, at Linden Labs oversees the official Second Life viewer. As the offical interface to the world of Second Life, the viewer is the driver’s seat for avatars, must support the key technological underpinnnings of the virtual world, and be a social media communication tool. Most social users of Second Life download and install the client to a personal computer then customize their interface and then explore and find an identity and role inworld. Educators typically face different needs as well as challenges. One key element of this challenge is developing an experience for a group of students not exploring by oneself. One other challenge is that teachers and the IT support are typically siloed so troubleshooting or updating requires extra work.

Oz Linden described the general project management and release schedule of official viewers. There are typically 6 to 8 different viewer developments at any one time and those are developed independently. Those features or bug fixes released as development viewers that go out to a select group of testers. Users can be in that potential pool of testers by checking the box in the viewer preferences “willing to update to release candidates” Preferences - Setup tab. The numbers of testers goes up to a couple thousand, and, if no major issues come up, they go to release candidate. At some point, we decide that enough users have tried it, and it becomes the new official viewer. Updates may or may not be mandatory and old viewers will get aged out. The testing of development and candidates can be done in parallel and more than one can be tested at one time. For example, right now about 4 are being tested. Oz assured an audience member that inventory is saved on Linden servers and won’t be lost when using candidate viewers.

Several feature questions were posed to Oz. Regarding features and the interface for the viewer, was an integrated screen sharing feature being developed or other tools for interactive collaboration like whiteboards? Educators asking the questions were particularly interested in having these inworld to keep students within the cognitive space. Within one question was the complaint that web on a prim was slow and buggy. Oz responded that in regards to screen sharing, there are a lot of other companies’ tools that work well and there was no plan to try and develop a competing tool. Oz remarked that a new “web support viewer” is perhaps months, maybe even weeks, away from being released (as candidate?). Oz admitted that it had been a while since web components had been updated and that Quicktime on Windows was difficult to support as well as Flash.

Another question was in relation to classroom moderation, customizing chat range, and having students see media synchronously. Oz suggested that group chat is an effective feature because spatial chat can’t be changed and having viewer settings set to autoplay for everyone should help with synchronicity. A couple people asked related questions about inventory management and export tools. Tools to help with inventory management are a frequent topic for Linden Labs discussion but have not made it into the “to do” list. Export capacity is not a planned feature for the official viewer. The status and future plans for inworld physics was also asked. Oz said they are a little behind on keeping Havoc updated, but there were no expected big changes planned.

One educator would like to have students communicate by voice with NPCs in Chinese using a voice to text translator application. However, the application’s input into the SL viewer is broken even though Chinese manual input is supported. Oz replied that it was an interesting use, but that he couldn’t comment on why it wasn’t working offhand or know how to approach modifying the architecture. But, he asked the questioner to follow up and see if any open source developers could look at the issue.

Two viewer issues were raised about viewing certain inworld obects. Hair alphas continue to be problematic and the rendervolumeLODFactor default is too low when a lot of mesh objects are around. Oz responded that hair alphas are a continued issue that has been problematic to deal with because the reports and reproducibility of the bug are inconsistent and variable. However, it is being actively tracked and looked at. The graphics settings that are the shipped defaults are determined by more specialized developers and he defers to their judgement. The LOD of 5 or 6 as the default appears to be the best standard setting, which is partly determined by the general graphics capabilities of the typical user’s computer. However, Linden Lab is willing to listen to input on settings from the community.

One of the biggest issues educators face is the management of the viewer and computers in classrooms and computer labs. One teacher from the audience remarked that they use laptop carts that are updated once a semester by the university. This can lead to problems when that viewer version requires a mandatory update and then they can’t run the viewer. This is problematic in particular when students don’t have admin rights as another educator pointed out. Oz was sympathetic to the shared system issues. He recommended a 2 month update cycle but that typical required update cycles are every 4 months from the Lab.

He reiterated that one should not check “willing to update to release candidates” because that force frequent updates. Another class management request was for a way to replicate a customized set of viewer preferences. Customized settings are particularly important to make sure low graphics are set to low when on older graphics cards. Oz replied that Linden Labs didn’t have such a tool or mechanism but was interested in looking into it. If Windows Installers (MSI) were feasible then that might be an option and is worth following up on. The viewer has .xml files that are saved on each computer and digging those out and copying them manually is also a solution although not automated.

A final summary question although it was asked early on in the discussion is why a lot of work is going into Oculus Rift “head buckets” and not into making the viewer as pleasant and straightforward as common social media tools. Oz replied that he wished he had more time to work on the use of headsets but they are waiting on Oculus Rift to ship its next SDK. The discussion moved on quickly before the easiness of the interface could be addressed.

Oz Linden spent over an hour answering and addressing questions from the audience. We thank audience members for participating and again to Oz for his insight and answers on the Official Second Life Viewer. While the assisting avatars attempted to moderate and keep good track of all the questions, we apologize if anything was overlooked.

Keynotes and Featured Speakers

Virtual Education in Second Life & in The Future

Ebbe Altberg, Opening Keynote

Linden Lab’s Ebbe Altberg will share his thoughts on the value the company places on the education market, some of the compelling educational uses cases he’s seen during his tenure as CEO, and his perspective on how virtual experiences and education will be important to one another in the future. Ebbe will also share some information about the next-generation platform for virtual experiences that Linden Lab is developing, addressing specific requests and concerns expressed by Second Life educators, before engaging in an open Q&A session.

Reconstructing and Navigating the Cross-roads of Community

Pamela Broviak, Featured Speaker

Join us in exploring the beginning, the evolution, and the governing of civilizations and how understanding this process can help us better guide and support the launch, development, and management of virtual worlds. Then discover how we can leverage the virtual communities we build and sustain to help us improve our relationships, opportunities, and offline environments.

How to Gain the Freedom to Use Immersive-Experiential Technology in Your Teaching Practice

Gord Holden, Featured Speaker

Those attending this conference already understand the potential of virtual worlds to engage students in learning. It’s a tool that lends itself to the power of play, the maker movement, the creation of community, and the profound impact of experiential learning. Knowing this makes us chafe at the idea of being constrained to using the “teacher and text” focused pedagogies of the 19th century. While this may marry well with many 20th century technologies, these resources simply fail to resonate with 21st century students. So, how does a teacher move to 3D immersive learning when the administrators and parents involved are constrained by fears that the playing, creating, socializing, and experiencing are happening at the expense of learning, rather than in support of learning? For many dedicated teachers, this journey has been one of frustration and foreboding, a despair that all their work may take them down a road that becomes a dead end. I agreed to do this session because I bring good news, a path, a new crossroad perhaps, that will likely allow you to exceed your goals, while gaining the enthusiastic support of not only your school’s students, but the parents and your administration as well.

Creating Dinosaurs & Earning Badges

Jeroen Frans, Featured Speaker

I will be talking about the following two projects, and discuss their success and failures. The last 2 years we provided for the American Museum of Natural History, a Lego like Building Kit to create Cretaceous Sea Animals in Second Life. The build kit was part of larger summer course for teens in NYC. The Cretaceous period was roughly 145 to 66 million years ago. It came right after the Jurassic period, known from the movies. The second project I will discuss, is a badge system we created for interactions inside second life. The system was designed specifically for the mentoring regions for the project. The badges provide a fun way to encourage exploration to the regions, and provide additional educational value in the regions.

Bootcamp for Virtual Teachers

Sensuous Maximus, Featured Speaker

Teaching within a virtual world such as Second Life, requires a whole other skillset and strategy. It requires knowledge far beyond the scope of your subject matter or psychology of teaching. We’ll talk about the not-so- glamorous side of virtual teaching that academics simply can not teach you, but if you do not know them, you will be eaten alive. Virtual teaching demands for a lot of multi-tasking to say the least, we’ll share the tools, tricks and epic tips that come from long-time experienced virtual teachers. Giving you strategies to take control of your environment, griefers, land tools, your viewers, your presentation, displays, and your nerves. This is the crossroad that takes you from being a great teacher, to becoming an epic one.

7 Years of Adaptation and Renewal in Second Life

Susan Toth-Cohen, Featured Speaker Dr. Toth-Cohen will describe her 7+ year journey exploring and implementing virtual world education with graduate students in occupational therapy. The presentation will focus on ways that virtual worlds can facilitate student learning and professional development and support faculty scholarship, within the framework of diffusion of innovation theory. Important crossroads discussed will moving from exploring possibilities to systematic implementation of teaching strategies and exhibit development; establishing and promoting the use of virtual worlds as venues for legitimate scholarship; and harnessing the power of virtual worlds as social networks.

Shared Environments: Shaping Immersive Experiences

John Fillwalk, Featured Speaker

The unique capabilities of 3D simulations and multiuser virtual worlds allow participants a sense of presence and shared experiences unlike no other media. This ability, coupled with the integration human computer interface devices that input gesture, depth and proximity as well as the integration of immersive head mounted displays and augmented realities are providing new potential for compelling and substantive interactions. This presentation will delve into a variety of approaches and topics in simulation and virtualization over the past several years and across the arts, humanities and sciences.

Projects created in platforms including Second Life, Open Sim, iOS, Android, Blue Mars/CryEngine and Unity will illustrate new modes of learning, interpretation, and teaching across disciplines including archeology, cultural heritage, health science, history and the fine arts.

A recently developed Unity based virtual world that leverages new modes of exploration and experience with immersive environments will also be announced.

Building Global Communities through Virtual Worlds

Jay Jay Jegathesan, Closing Keynote

The talk explores the foundation and growth of the University of Western Australia presence in Second life across the pillars of teaching, research, architecture, art and machinima, and further shows how virtual worlds are used in education and the arts to create community and foster collaboration within and between communities of educators, 3D virtual artists, film makers and the community of individuals with disability or chronic illnesses.

Featured Panels

NonProfit Commons

The purpose of this panel is to discuss how NonProfit Commons has contributed to significant dialogue around the uses of virtual worlds like Second Life. The panelists will discuss how they have changed and grown, as well as the different opportunities and moments that have distinguished the group and the manner in which they promote and spotlight best practices.


Joyce Bettencourt (Rhiannon Chatnoir in SL)

Buffy Bye (Buffy Beale in SL)

Renne Brock-Richmond (Zinnia Zauber in SL)

Dick Dillon (Coughran Mayo in SL)

LIssena (Wisdomseeker Lissena in SL)


Letty Pienaar

Seanchai: A Virtual Library Out Loud

The purpose of this panel is to discuss how Seanchai Library has been successful in maintaining a library with events that are interactive and engaging since 2008. The panelists will focus on the unique choice of being a library of spoken literature, how that is relevant to a virtual platform, and what future opportunities exist using this approach.


Aoife Lorefield (Mary Pat Lynch)

Shandon Loring

Dubhna Rhiadra

Caledonia Skytower


Cyndyl Enyo

Virtual Ability: Support, Collaboration, Research, Community

Virtual Ability is a well-known cross-disability peer support community in Second Life. The community also engages with educators, researchers, medical professionals, and others for purposes related to its core mission: to enable people with a wide range of disabilities by providing a supporting environment for them to enter and thrive in online virtual worlds. This panel will include members from the Virtual Ability community and others with whom the community has intersected for various activities.


Alex Alger (SL: Alex4VAI - Albione Darbyshire)

Alice Krueger (SL: Gentle Heron)

Hillary Bogner (SL: Annameg Resident)

iSkye (SL: iSkye Silverweb)

John O’Connor (SL: Acuppa Tae)

Joyce Bettencourt (SL: Rhiannon Chatnoir)

Keao Wright (SL: Keao Resident)

Lori Bell (SL: Lorelei Junot)

Ruth Knox (SL: Golda Stein)

Sandra Winkler (SL: DrSWinkler Resident)

Shyla (SL: KriJon Resident)

Suellen Tisdale (SL: Suln Mahogany/Suellen Heartsong)


Grizzla Pixelmaid

Lecture Abstracts

Track:  Tools and Products
Crossing the Bridge to Immersive Educational Experiences

Beth Reischl

While immersion has always been a key goal of virtual worlds, the technology is here now to create truly dynamic and diverse environments that engage the student. However, the downside of this technology is the steep learning curve for educators to provide a rich and engaging experience in the easiest, fastest and most cost efficient method possible. By discerning the elements that give the feeling of immersion, we bring together the tools that enliven the virtual environment and categorize the educational aspects to be taught in a fun and creative way. This enables educators to easily create or design dynamic environments that are wholly engaging to the student in a time efficient manner. Thus, the goal of our presentation is to show that virtual reality can be used for a host of immersive educational experiences from History, to Math, to English and of course Science. Taking education into a whole new realm: immersive virtual environments designed to educate students and stimulate their curiosity to learn more.

Track:  Games and Simulation
Doctors Learn via Immersive Games

Julie LeMoine

This talk will focus on a real use case in a corporate environment where Immersive Gaming was used to enhance and enforce learning of Doctors in the field of clinical drug discovery. For years, Doctors running clinical trials learn the particular protocols to follow via death by power point. Often they are flown in from their location at great expense and bored silly by these meetings, sometimes skipping them. Many feel they know the material already but the top 5 issues costing millions each year are due to lack of adherence to this area. Enter Terf, an immersive virtual world designed for learning and teaming. This talk will discuss a pilot program where Doctors globally learned to follow clinical trial protocols via immersive VW micro-games and micro-movies . This talk will cover this use case and also call out insightful differences between consumer gaming and gaming for learning purposes.

Track:   Best Practices
Immersion = Engagement in Corporate L&D

Julie LeMoine

A highly distributed workforce is the truth of Corporations, Organizations and Gov’ts today. This includes not just global offices but increasing work from home associates as well. This hybrid workforce has put the already underfunded corporate and organizational Learning and Development (L & D) organizations into a tough spot as they try to achieve high impact with tools such as global screen sharing and audio bridges. Just like the issues we see in early use of MOOC for our students, these organizations are suffering from similar issues in the attention management and focus areas. In this talk, the CEO of 3D ICC will present the 4 main ways these organizations are harnessing immersive training, the teaching/facilitator acclimation process for immersive training and several real customer use cases where training on 3D ICC’s Immersive Terf has delivered on critical training goals.

Track:   Best Practices
UnicamEarth Island: A Teacher Training on Geoscience Serious Games

Eleonora Paris, Annalisa Boniello

This presentation describes a experience of teacher training on geosciences in the Unicamearth Island, a virtual island built with Open Sim software, of University of Camerino (Italy). In the training science teachers are involved in serious games activity on geosciences (treasure hunt, problem solving activities, collaborative activities). The training involves 50 Italian science teachers of 30 secondary schools of first and second grade. The first aim of this project is to improve the skills of science teachers in a new approach to science education using virtual worlds. The second aim is to test learning activities in the virtual worlds on geosciences education. During the online meeting teachers involved in: 1) a treasure hunt where the treasure was an object (a magmatic rock) in the island 2) a problem solving activities answering some questions in the path on volcanoes and earthquakes (What is this volcano? What is this rock?) 3)collaborative activities to build scientific object or assessment in the island (a scientific Christmas tree with questions on mineral and rocks).

Track:  Research
Comparison of Teen Gamers and Non-Gamers in A Virtual Learning Simulation

Brian Cleveley/Eyem Beck

Joey Peutz/Zoey Jeruben

K.D. Hatheway-Dial/Jorgia Blackburn

Karen Richel/Kaylee Innovia

Lori Wahl/Diantha Petrov

A personal nutrition learning experience was delivered to participants in the “Intrepid Healthy Lifestyle Hunter” nutrition simulation- a simulated virtual environment hosted in Second Life®. There was a change between pretest and posttest scores for all participants suggesting that there was an increase in basic nutrition knowledge due to their participation in the simulation. There was no significant difference in pretest and posttest scores between gamer and non-gamer participants. These findings suggest that familiarity or experience with online gaming does not affect the ability to learn in a virtual environment. Concern has been expressed to us by those not familiar with virtual worlds, that virtual world learning may be better suited to those familiar with video games or online gaming. Our findings suggest that this may not be the case. A discussion will follow the presentation of the research data. We are interested in hearing if others who are doing work with virtual simulations have heard similar concerns and to learn about other’s experiences with users who have no prior gaming experience.

Originally published in Journal of Virtual Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1.

Track:  K-12
Creating, Playing, and Learning in Minecraft as STEAM Knowledge Building Blocks

Christine Liao

This research studies a roller coaster building project in the computer game, Minecraft, that teaches science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) concepts to middle school students. The presentation shows how educators can unlock the instructional potential of Minecraft to engage students in learning through creative problem-solving. Students designed their own roller coasters in Minecraft through a collaborative process involving choosing a theme, creating pixel artwork and interactive effects, and planning the riding experience (excitement)— including calculating the speed of their roller coasters. They even staged an in-class contest to showcase their designs. The study provides an example of a new path to build STEAM knowledge through project-based learning focuses on creating in collaborative virtual worlds and games, such as Minecraft. A description of the instructional approach and the students’ responses and learning outcomes will be offered together with a presentation of the students’ work.

Track:   Best Practices
Crossroads in Designing through the Reality-Virtuality Continuum

Marta Turcsanyi-Szabo

The Interactive Media Development course-group embeds the design of interdisciplinary projects for K-12 schools, university and museums supporting immersive learning experiences by exploiting the Reality-Virtuality Continuum. The course-group is offered for local Hungarian university students studying under different levels of Faculty programs (undergraduate, graduate, or PhD) and international students within Science Without Borders Undergraduate, EIT ICT labs Masters program, or Erasmus Mundus. The web site contains several themes to choose from Learning outcomes include: basic understanding of three chosen themes (which should be mastered self- paced depending on interest and specifics of course requirements the student registered for), user level awareness for all projects developed during the semester and a personalised developer role within one of the actual projects in collaboration with other disciplines to produce interactive media for enjoyable learning. The presentation explains the evolving developer learning community of practice describing a case-study of the continuously evolving “WiLearn” project, where students built a learning portal for tablets and lots of edutainment for newcomers, including interactive posters using augmented reality, IT@Cafe in OpenSim, collaborative project areas in OpenQwaq, Biology museum and campus in Unity. The course-group just won a Tempus prize for showing good practice of STEM in HE.

Track:  Research
Cyber Campus Environments for Effective Learning Support

SL: Skoui Aironaut RL: Louis Nisiotis

This research project investigates the flexibility of virtual worlds to effectively support participation in learning activities when access to education is challenged or restricted. Due to several barriers, some students find difficulties physically attending the university, missing important learning experiences. Thus, the ability of virtual worlds to support effective participation in learning activities is empirically investigated, using a cyber campus prototype that has been developed. A series of empirical studies investigating the efficacy of the proposed environment to support synchronous distant learning activities and ascertain the extent to which it can help students participate in learning activities more effectively have been conducted. A number of studies in the form of virtual learning scenarios were conducted, collecting empirical data based on users perceptions of presence, awareness, communication and sociability during the virtual experience. A virtual focus group study was also conducted, exploring how a virtual world can overcome barriers to access and support effective participation in learning situations. The results and findings of this research project are under investigation to devise a framework for the design of effective cyber campus environments and relevant educational activities to support access and participation in learning activities.

Track:  Advocacy
Gaming and Machinima at the Crossroads of Gender and Culture

Sonicity Fitzroy (Phylis Johnson, RL)

The New York Times recently focused on the work of Anita Sarkeesian who has challenged stereotypes of women in video games. She has received death threats from her advocacy work. This presentation looks at the gender gap in gaming and machinima, and how that might be re-conceptualized by providing for creative learning opportunities in Second Life and other platforms. The brand capture of the name “” has moved virtual filmmaking into a silo for mostly gawdy and violent programming aimed at young white men. What is the basic research on girl gaming; how do embedded stories within learning games level the playing field for women and culturally specific populations; and how is SL poised for such opportunities? This presentation will provide the gamer girl facts, and illustrate some best practices that hint toward the future of creative learning and getting past the gender barriers.

Track:  Research
How Do Virtual Experiences Alter Users’ Visual Cognition?

Hsiao-Cheng (Sandrine) Han

The purpose of this research is to understand how does the 3D visualized virtual world hands-on building and creation experience influence students’ visual cognition. This research also reveals if the virtual world observation and hands-on experiences changed students’ real world visual cognition. This research used content analysis to review students’ virtual world field notes, reaction papers, final papers, and recorded virtual world teaching demonstration by those students. This research also invited students to have semi-structured interviews with me. I used phenomenology to analyze the research data. This research is based on the course: Visual learning in 3D animated virtual worlds. Through this course, students examined how people learn through vision, how they can use visual learning skills to help their own students to learn, and how they can become more aware of what they have seen and learned in all kinds of environments. Moreover, students created their own virtual learning space and presented teaching demonstrations in the virtual world.

Track:   Best Practices
Learning by Leading – Discover Your Destiny

Zinnia Zauber

Every decision and action we make produces a purposeful pathway defining who we are and our contribution to the world. Immersive environments not only give students paths to follow, but potential trails to blaze. Unrestricted by tangible limits and costs, instructors can provide a custom public square with student galleries where these crossing paths meet to build a community. Define and design a classroom plaza or gallery with exercises that cultivates innovation, opportunity, and creative expression by recognizing what makes each student a unique catalyst. By creating a call to action, they display a relentless passion and pursuit of knowledge while mentoring classmates. After identifying their path, student devise digital storytelling media or virtual objects to demonstrate their goals and exhibit their accomplishments in the virtual world plaza to encourage constructive critiques and complements. With that demonstration of real success and intention in action, students are confident to take those steps to lead and do it in the actual world as well.

Track:  Research
Learning in Virtual Spaces - Jabbing the Education Dinosaur Towards the Information Age

Yen Verhoeven (a.k.a. Blue Myanamotu)

How do people learn in virtual spaces? Thanks to technology, we are moving from the industrial educational paradigms of the past towards an informational paradigm that requires people to communicate, collaborate, and be independent, lifelong learners (National Science Foundation, 2000; Reigeluth, 1999). To address these educational needs, instructors should know how people learn in order to design effective instruction that capitalizes on the affordances of virtual spaces. In this presentation, I describe modern learning theory, different kinds of educational spaces found in virtual worlds, and how instructors and instructional designers can leverage these virtual spaces to appeal to their learners. My objectives for this presentation include: 1) Attendees will have an understanding of the core principles in modern learning theory and their implications for teaching. 2) Attendees will survey different types of virtual educational spaces and evaluate the affordances and constraints of each environment by utilizing examples presented in the literature. 3) Attendees will compare and contrast between different virtual spaces; examining their pedagogical commonalities and how they relate and apply to learning theory and to their own teaching practices.

Track:   Best Practices

Raychin Rachev, Jim Shuker, prof. Valearia Fol

Integrating Virtual worlds (SL) into language education! iPortal platform for online (mainly language) education is under development with the financial contribution of the European Commission. It integrates advanced tools for asynchronous (LMS-SAKAI) and synchronous (Virtual class rooms (VCR), iEducate island (SL), Internet radio (IR)) learning.The integration of a 3D simulator (SL) in iPortal aims facilitating online learning by gamification using augmented reality’s advantages for synergy with the rest of platform’s tools. We combine previous good practices in SL with development of some innovative activities: -Creating animation (using avatars’ mobility in virtual environment) as multiapplicable video lessons by embedding tests with software e.g. Camtasia -Organizing 3D spectacles. Our example is based on a re-creation of a semi-excavated Thracian temple in Bulgaria.Those spectacles provide knowledge about the philosophy and rituals of Orpheus mysteries studied formally & informally. We will use complete scenarios of leading experts of Thracian culture and Artificial intelligence for bots.Actors and museums will participate in the spectacles. We plan importing 3D images of the most ancient Golden treasure and historic attire.All this happens in synergy with LMS, VCR, IR -Developing 3D HUMAN ORGAN’s reproduction for an educational journey with avatars.Upgrade to a dynamic model is to follow.

Track:  Research
Patterns and Journeys in Quest Based Learning

AgileBill Krebs, Dr. Chris Haskell

Will my students finish class on time? What does ‘finish’ mean? Now that we have blown up the grade book, Quest Based Learning offers choice to students. But what if they fall behind? Data from a year of questing in two university courses is analyzed for patterns in how many jump ahead, and how many hold out to the last moment! This presentation shows what we have learned from student progress data over the span of two university graduate level courses (32 weeks). Not only was the grading system based on Quest Based learning, but both courses were delivered in Second Life and Minecraft. Combining ‘quests’ in virtual worlds with choices in assignments reveals how learners organized the pace of their work. Some races ahead, some waited to the last minute. These data will be presented in a virtual world, to present it in a more interactive manner. Quest Based Learning / Gamification + Data + Virtual World settings.

Track:  Advocacy
Real Democracy in a Virtual World

Gwyneth Llewelyn

In our era, most people live in a democracy, but have difficulty understanding its mechanisms and democratic processes. Studies with simulations and tests, where the concepts of democracy were presented to participants with the expectation that those were assimilated, show some ambiguity in the results. One possible reason for the lack of involvement is that participants are aware that those simulations are merely a test and therefore do not take them very seriously. A suggestion for increasing involvement is to require participants to have a financial investment in the project and not merely an intellectual one, such as happens in virtual worlds with user-generated content which have an economy tied to real currency, such as Second Life®. As an example, the Confederation of Democratic Simulators is presented, an online community in Second Life where this principle has been applied during a decade. It appears that participation in a project in which the members share the costs creates a strong involvement in democratic processes, and makes the project long- lasting, even though it showed some controversy over time. The goal of this presentation is to encourage educators and promoters of democratic values to set up similar environments where participants engage in democratic processes tied to a financial stake in the project, and research and discuss the resulting acquisition of democratic values.

Track:   Best Practices
Second Life Style: Fashion and Learning at the Virtual Crossroads

Sonicity Fitzroy (Phylis Johnson, RL)

Do you remember day one in Second Life? It might bring memories of your first day in a new school? You feel and look awkward. So how can a little poise, style, and sense of fashion make a difference in virtual learning. If you want your students to act professional or at least presentable, then perhaps a few fashion tips might be helpful. After teaching in-world, I have learned that style does matter when it comes to learning in the virtual world, as in real life. This presentation explores the rise of fashion virtual games and worlds, including SL, and their significance to understanding “self ” in all its diversity in the larger virtual community. Is it possible to groom learning couture and style towards effective communication and learning? What is it about the fashion industry that has achieved such success virtually? What might we learn from achieving a sense of style in the virtual classroom?

Track:  How-To
Ten Tips for Designing Your Build

Kimberly Rufer-Bach (Kim Anubis in SL and OS) [name] will cover ten tips to keep in mind as you design your virtual world project for Second Life or OpenSimulator. When you sit down to design, where do you start, what should you keep in mind, and what’s truly essential? This presentation will help you to avoid common pitfalls and misconceptions, communicate better with content creators, and learn vital information for do-it-yourself projects.

Track:   Best Practices
The Food Processors of Education – The Normalisation of Virtual Worlds

Briarmelle Quintessa (Merle Hearns RL) A look at history is a look at journeys made by individuals, groups, and societies. In 1972, the food processor was seen as the answer to the problems faced by all home chefs. Yet, buyers often found it difficult to use. There was much to learn in order to get the desired results. Once accustomed to this new appliance, slicing, dicing, kneading, shredding, could be more efficiently executed. From 2005, many educators had to decide whether to take a strange new road into virtual worlds, or to watch critically while others made this journey. Early hype, claiming virtual worlds to be an educational panacea, has died down. Currently, a large body of research indicates virtual worlds are versatile, efficient, and productive educational resources. This presentation will deal with a personal journey as an educator: a hesitation at the initial crossroads; a tentative journey leading directly into Second Life; and a far more confident venture along alternative routes. Student participation is now a part of regular classroom practice, highlighting efficiency and enthusiasm for learning. A range of eclectic activities will be shredded, diced, and pureed, to show how virtual worlds have been incorporated into a foundation (bridging/enabling) environment.

Track:  How-To
The Story of Science during the Scientific Revolution: Designing an Educational Exhibit

Marie Vans/Amvans Lapis

I will describe the process I used to design an in-world exhibit on the scientific developments of the 15th and 16th centuries in Western Europe. The project was part of the requirements for a Master’s level course in Library and Information Science. This educational exhibit was conceived of, designed, and implemented between September 15th and December 1, 2014. I focus on the design aspect, the implementation aspect, and the skills necessary to complete a successful project, while using the exhibit as an example.

Track:  Research
The Third Culture: The Transforming Culture in Virtual Worlds

Hsiao-Cheng (Sandrine) Han

The purpose of this proposal is to improve the understanding of how users of online virtual worlds learn and/or relearn ‘culture’ via use of visual components (avatars, environments). The goal of this research is to understand if culturally and historically authentic imagery is important for users to understand the virtual world they are in; how virtual world residents form and reform their virtual culture; and whether the visual culture in the virtual world is imported from the real world, colonized by any dominate culture, or assimilated into a new culture. The results of this research will help educators determine cultural development in a virtual world and whether the authenticity of imagery is essential for students’ visual learning process. This study used the mixed method of concurrent triangulation strategy. The participants of this research are Second Life users who have lived in at least two different countries for at least 6 months. I used random sampling and a survey to gather quantitative results and collect qualitative data from interviews to explore the phenomenon among virtual world residents.I analyzed the survey and interview data with post-colonial theory to understand the cultural transformation in the virtual world.

Track:   Best Practices
Transcending Culture in Global Settings

Steven Van Hook/Kip Roffo

Educators of international students are frequently challenged with a clashing diversity of cultures in a global classroom. This presentation describes and demonstrates what sorts of themes and images might resonate across nationalities and cultures, which can be used to ease the way for students and educators in international classes. The findings were used to consider instructional applications for more effective learning in international classroom settings, as well as identify hazards posed from misapplication of transcultural tools. The study findings indicate applied themes and images including babies/children, animals, relationships, sports, life cycles, and self-image may help evoke a positive transcultural resonance for a common base of shared experience. The presentation provides practical examples of how transcultural tactics can be applied in real and virtual global settings.

Workshop Abstracts

Track:  How-To
Nothing Should Get in the Way of Teaching: Help Students Focus When and Where with Camera Control

Cooper Macbeth

Rebecca L. Patterson

It’s the dream of every teacher to make sure the student is focused on the subject matter. In Second Life that can become a reality through camera control. In this workshop we will take control of our cameras. We will examine simple scripts to focus your students’ eyes on your educational objectives. Upon completion you will understand how critical camera control can become to developing a healthy, happy online experience for students in virtual worlds by having created and experienced one another’s control of the camera.

Track:  Advocacy
Open Your Eyes and See NUMBERS: Without Words or Symbols!

Cooper Macbeth

Rebecca L. Patterson

An urgent need exists to reexamine the pedagogy of foundational mathematics. We have been headed down the same dreary road for 10,000 years. We are finally at the crossroad. Discover for yourself three revolutionary concepts which can be understood in physical reality at a severe cost of time, space, and money, but in virtual reality almost free. We will be using advanced teaching methodologies to help you see and believe. Unless you’ve been to one of our presentations in the past you will not believe what’s about to happen, but you will. If you have seen one, be prepared to see us level-up our exhibition of subQuan knowledge. The attendee will leave with resources to help them further examine subQuan including, but not limited to, The Hands and a Limited Edition sQi3d Controller VWBPE 2015 model. The data collected from this workshop will be available at the end of the presentation to attendees.

Track:   Best Practices
Symbolic Modeling in SL

Marly Milena/Niela Miller

The purpose of this workshop is to provide a new process for teaching and learning called Symbolic Modeling which is particularly suited to virtual environments. Whether investigating ideas, feeling states, values, decision strategies or other content, the technology of SL allows for builds and other arts tools to be used to gain new perspectives and insights in a process that goes beyond thinking and talking alone. In this session, we will talk about this approach, based on ideas from Gestalt psychology, and we will demonstrate this process of symbolic modeling of an idea, value or feeling by accessing a geometric shape from the available tools and editing it in a variety of ways to create a metaphorical representation. The object is given a voice and speaks to the builder and a dialogue and experimentation with the object ensues, including attention to the body at the computer, in which new learning, perspectives and insights are possible.( Photos, paintings and other arts- based tools can be used as well. One or more persons can be involved in the process). This will be especially valuable for educators, coaches, group leaders, and counselors who want to learn a unique and creative way to work with individual students, clients and groups in Second Life. To see samples of this type of work, please go to this section of my website: http://www.

Track:  How-To
The Importance of Space

Eyem Beck

Diantha Petrov


Zoey Jeruben

Kaylee Innovia

Virtual world environments might be the biggest reason for advocating virtual worlds for learning. These spaces can mimic the real world OR can be fantastical spaces with interactive design and immersion that would be impossible or cost prohibitive in a brick-and-mortar classroom. This workshop introduces participants to the importance of spatial design and how a virtual environment can provide a unique learning space that encourages student interaction with their colleagues and instructor. We will present three different learning environments that attendees can experience and understand how environmental design can impact learning and teaching experiences. Participants will receive handouts outlining a basic design process including a series of questions to pose before designing a space. The workshop proceeds in three parts: 1) exploring three environments, 2) choosing/designing a space for specific teaching/learning objectives, and 3) brainstorming changes for the spaces. At the completion of the workshop participants will come back together to share and discuss. We have experienced a number of crossroads developing best practices in designing virtual environments to promote active learning opportunities. We would like to share our research to-date and engage the participants in experiences and reflective discussion.

Panel Abstracts

Track:   Best Practices
Content Curation Through Virtual World Communities

Valerie Hill

Renne Brock-Richmond

Beth O’Connell

Joyce Bettencourt

Today, through Web 2.0 and social networking, anyone and everyone is a content curator. The user-generated content shared is often disorganized and most of us are bombarded by “too much incoming” information on a daily basis. Could virtual worlds help content creators reach target audiences and build better communities for creating and sharing information? Explore content creation and curation through the lens of virtual world communities with educators and librarians on this panel. Participants will observe and analyze content curation tools with emphasis on community collaboration, sustainability and high quality educational value in an increasingly entertainment-focused culture. Target audience is educators, librarians, content curators (writing, visual arts, machinima, music or any creative content) and learners of all age groups.

Track:  Advocacy
Fanny Starr – A Holocaust Survivor’s Firsthand Testimony

Helen R. Starr/Explorer Dastardly

Fanny Starr, Holocaust Survivor

As the Holocaust Survivors pass away, so does the firsthand testimony of the Holocaust. The Holocaust was an act of brutality that killed 11 million people, and six million were Jews in World War II. History repeats itself; hate and oppression are still very prevalent throughout our world. Bryant (2014) we must make the fight against racism and anti-Semitism a great national and international cause. In 1967, Fanny Starr and her late husband Zesa began reaching out to schools, churches, and synagogues sharing the truths and experiences as Holocaust survivors. “We are not teachers. We endured six long years, we’re sharing our firsthand testimonies of torture, slave laboring, and bearing witness to mass murders.” Fanny was liberated from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at age 19, and Zesa from Dachau. Fanny began her virtual outreach program in Second Life at the age of 87. Her presentation will touch on the following:

  • Genocide
  • Human Rights
  • Racism
  • Religious Freedoms

Now at 92, Fanny continues to share her unique story to virtual audiences in Second Life, followed by discussions to promote awareness and understanding. We would like the opportunity to have Fanny present at the conference in order for future generations to learn from these experiences.

Track:   Best Practices
Help Education Quorum Roundtable

Carl Metropolitan

Brace Coral

The Help Education Quorum is composed of of representatives from SL-based in-world Help and Education groups and organizations. The HEQ exists to provice mutual support and communication between these groups and to provide a liason with Linden Lab. This panel will feature leaders four to six leaders of HEQ- member organizations in a round table discussion on helping new Second Life residents, and on dealing with each other and with Linden Lab via the HEQ.

Track:  Advocacy
Meeting of the Minds - Informal Learning in Informal Virtual Space

Yen Verhoeven (aka. Blue Myanamotu)

Starr Zackerly

Aubrey L. Jeppson (aka. Natalya Lore)

{and 1 other presenter)

Meeting of the Minds (MOMs) is a discussion group in Second Life with over 300 members. Described as a place for having “polite discussions about impolite topics,” people from all walks of life, educational levels and backgrounds are invited to talk, learn and debate on a variety of different subjects, ranging from feminism to politics, science and philosophy. This a social community, with events such as lectures, live music, and facilitator-led group discussions. In this panel, members of MOMs will share their insights regarding the creation of MOMs, and discuss some of the challenges and rewards from running and nurturing this community. We will also share stories about how MOMs facilitates community-led education. The objectives of this panel discussion include: 1) Attendees will have an understanding about the development of the MOMs venue, and unique forms of education can happen in informal spaces. 2) Attendees will have an idea of some of the best practices and insights regarding the management of such a large and active discussion venue through a “member’s point of view” and a “lecturer’s point of view.”

Track:   Best Practices
Quill & Quarrel - REAL Theater in a VIRTUAL World

Rose, Gatz


Lilly Cherish

“Aeschylus and Plato are remembered long after the triumphs of Athens are gone. Dante outlived the ambitions of thirteenth century Florence. Goethe stands serenely above the politics of Germany, and after the dust of centuries has passed, we too will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.”

–John F. Kennedy

The Quill & Quarrel is a Milestone theater. When Dramatist’s Play Service approved our production of “Wit” (the tour included VWBPE 2104) it was the first time any show had been licensed for InWorld presentation. Q&Q is now in our 4th season, and we are solving the many technical challenges associated with creating full, live Broadway shows in a virtual world. Ah, but there are many still ahead of us! We propose a Panel Discussion in the Best Practices track in Second Life. We have much to share from among our experiences and our solutions thus far. The plan is to open our playbook and give attendees both method and vision for using virtual world theater in their curriculum. Any virtual theater program builds both technical skills and personal confidence – but, more than that, it opens theater involvement to a broadly diverse cast and audience.

Virtual Explorations

Tour of the University of the West of England Simulations, UWE Islands, Second Life

This tour will take us to visit six of the educational simulations at the UWE Islands in Second Life. These simulations are: Accident Investigation and Audit Simulation, Risk Assessment, Counseling Suite, as well as two Forensics Investigations. Our goal is to have students experience different types of events and interact with their avatars. The intention of these simulations is to help students prepare for real life experiences on placements and in their final practice. It is important to stress that these simulations do not replace real life placement/practice, but are intended at aid students to become familiar with these working environments.

In all cases students would not have access to these situations in a real life context because it would be either too costly, too dangerous or simply unethical to recreate. During the tour we will discuss the educational place for simulations using virtual worlds, as well as the advantages and the challenges.


A Unity3D-based online MMO focusing on quick orientation for new users, large-scale campus use, and private branding with safe controlled-access VRcampus, Unity3D

This tour will provide an introductory preview of user- friendly Unity3D-based education and training MMO platform “in development”.

VRcampus can serve with prepackaged environments and levels of permissions, or can be user-generated content worlds.

Questions/discussion can include topics such as privacy/ rebranding, content management, content creation, interactive possibilities, app integration, etc.

Afro-Latino Foodways Museum: A Class Final Project, UTEP Miners, Second Life

All museum exhibits tell a cohesive story. The final project for Dr. Meredith Abarca’s Literature of the Americas focused on “Afro-Latino Voices: History, Memory, and Food.” Students were exposed to the use and value of digital rhetorics to convey a cohesive story of the Afro-Latina/os through the lens of food. The museum captures Afro Latino history and culture as these were and are represented via foodways - connecting history, memory, and food to personal and collective experiences. The narratives of slavery, agency, resistance, freedom, creative enterprise, and new beginnings are better remembered when these are communicated through enactments of the lives of individual people. Thus a number of students feature specific individuals in the museum exhibits. Through the stories of these people we are able to also explore the experience of a greater group.

By studying memoirs, recipes, photographs and other archival research, students created a virtual Latino Village representing an amalgamation of cultures from different historical periods and places in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Through this exploration, students underscore the cultural imprint found in African culinary knowledge marking the collective identity of a group that have come to be known as Afro-Latinos. This culinary imprint has had an influence at a national level. This project is timely because the continuation of Afro-Latinos is not always recognized, yet entire cultures and nations claim the food as “theirs.”

Inspiration Island: Home of the Ageless Mind Project in Second Life, Inspiration Island, Second Life

Inspiration Island is the home of the Whole Brain Health group, the Community of Creative Elders group, and the nonprofit umbrella organization, the Ageless Mind Project. We aspire above all to offer visitors an easily accessible, appealing environment where they can learn through actively practicing the kinds of behaviors that contribute to brain health/general well-being across the lifespan (especially beyond the age of 50).

Our target visitors are people, both inworld and outworld, who like to be proactive about their well-being and are open to a holistic lifestyle approach that is supported by current research from Neuropsychology, the Arts, and Gerontology. We want to reach underserved audiences too, people outworld who are isolated by various circumstances and do not have easy access to these kinds of opportunities.

Inspiration Island is a public sim (i.e., we have no private parcels) hosting a community of over 20 residents who have created interactive builds and free programs. Each of these reflects our focus on five major kinds of activities that foster brain health/well-being: Creativity, Cognitive Challenge, Physical Self-Care, Social Relationships, and Meaning and Purpose.

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