Virtual Reality and Learning: Leading the Way, a Free Online One-Day Mini-Conference by Library 2.0 and the School of Information at San José State University, March 29th, 2022

I recently received the following email from Library 2.0, who partner with the The School of Information at San José State University to hold large-scale, free, online conference events for the library community at large:

Our first Library 2.022 mini-conference: “Virtual Reality and Learning: Leading the Way,” will be held online (and for free) on Tuesday, March 29th, 2022.

Virtual Reality was identified by the American Library Association as one of the 10 top library technology trends for the future. The use of this technology is equally trending in the education, museum, and professional learning spheres. Virtual Reality is a social and digital technology that uniquely promises to transform learning, build empathy, and make personal and professional training more effective and economical.

Through the leadership of the state libraries in California, Nevada, and Washington, Virtual Reality projects have been deployed in over 120 libraries in the three states in both economically and geographically diverse service areas. This example, as well as other effective approaches, can help us to begin a national conversation about the use of XR/immersive learning technology in libraries, schools, and museums; and about making content available to all users, creating spaces where digital inclusion and digital literacy serves those who need it the most.

The Virtual Reality and Learning: Leading the Way mini-conference is a free event, which will be held live online, and also recorded. You can register here (via EventBrite) to attend live via Zoom and/or to receive the recording links afterward. The final schedule and Zoom session links will be sent by email to those who register. You are also encouraged to join the Library 2.0 initiative for free, and join their mailing list for details on upcoming events (please see their website for details).

The email continues:

Everyone is invited to participate in our Library 2.0 conference events, which are designed to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among information professionals worldwide. Each three-hour event consists of a keynote panel, 10-15 crowd-sourced thirty-minute presentations, and a closing keynote. 

You can view the keynote speakers and special guests, plus a complete conference schedule, here. It promises to be an informative and engaging event, and I definitely plan to attend!

The 15th Annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) Conference in Second Life, March 31st to April 2nd, 2022

This is just a brief blogpost to remind you that the 15th Annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) Conference is taking place in Second Life from March 31st to April 2nd, 2022. SL blogger Inara Pey writes:

The 2022 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference will be taking place between March 31st and April 2nd inclusive, and both a call for proposals and a call for volunteers to help run things has been issued…

VWBPE is a global grass-roots community event focusing on education in immersive virtual environments which attracts over 2,000  educational professionals from around the world each year, who participate in 150-200 online presentations including theoretical research, application of best practices, virtual world tours, hands-on workshops, discussion panels, machinima presentations, and poster exhibits.

In the context of the conference, a “virtual world” is an on-line community through which users can interact with one another and use and create ideas irrespective of time and space. As such, typical examples include Second Life, OpenSimulator, Unity, World of Warcraft, Eve Online, and so on, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or any virtual environments characterized by an open social presence and in which the direction of the platform’s evolution is manifest in the community.

For more information, please see the VWBPE website. If you wish to volunteer at the conference, please visit this information page and volunteer sign-up form.

See you there!

Dr. Marie Vans: 14 Reasons Why Virtual Worlds Are Still Better than Social VR Worlds for Educational Purposes

PLEASE NOTE: My blog is still on indefinite hiatus; I have made a single exception for this blogpost. After this, I will be going back on my self-imposed break from blogging.


Dr, Marie Vans (known as Amvans Lapis in Second Life) is a Senior Research Scientist at HP Labs in Colorado, who gave the following provocatively-titled presentation on March 19th, 2021 at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) 2021 Conference, held in SL:

Title Slide from Dr. Vans’ VWBPE Presentaion

14 Reasons Why Virtual Worlds are still better than Social VR Worlds

A year ago, VCARA started the VR Exploder’s Club wherein educators meet up once a month to determine whether and/or which Social VR Worlds we should establish a presence thereon after exploring different platforms together. Whether we used VR headsets or desktop versions of these platforms, we looked at criteria such as learning curve, real-time communication, interaction capabilities, and more. I will describe specific issues that have been resolved in VWs that still need attention in VR.

Drawing upon a number of representative social VR platforms chosen from my November 2019 spreadsheet (which I need to update!), she gave a great presentation on why she thinks that social VR platforms need to pull up their socks when it comes to supporting education, and why these newer platforms should not be so quick to dismiss older virtual world platforms such as Second Life!

Because the following YouTube video of Dr. Marie Vans’ presentation has a absolutely criminally low 56 views thus far, I have decided to write up a blogpost about it! And here it is! (I am going back on hiatus again after this.)

Here is the video of Dr. Vans’ hour-long VWBPE presentation, followed by a question and answer session with the audience. It’s well worth watching the entire thing!

Call for Papers and Proposals: The 7th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN 2021), Taking Place in VirBELA from May 17th to June 10th, 2021

I recently received the following email, containing details on the next iLRN conference, which will take place in the virtual world of VirBELA:


The 7th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN 2021) will be an innovative and interactive virtual gathering for a strengthening global network of researchers and practitioners collaborating to develop the scientific, technical, and applied potential of immersive learning. It is the premier scholarly event focusing on advances in the use of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and other extended reality (XR) technologies to support learners across the full span of learning—from K-12 through higher education to work-based, informal, and lifelong learning contexts. 

Following the success of iLRN 2020, our first fully online and in-VR conference, this year’s conference will once again be based on the iLRN Virtual Campus, powered by VirBELA, but with a range of activities taking place on various other XR simulation, gaming, and other platforms. Scholars and professionals working from informal and formal education settings as well as those representing diverse industry sectors are invited to participate in the conference, where they may share their research findings, experiences, and insights; network and establish partnerships to envision and shape the future of XR and immersive technologies for learning; and contribute to the emerging scholarly knowledge base on how these technologies can be used to create experiences that educate, engage, and excite learners.

Note: The 2020 iLRN conference drew over 3,600 attendees from across the globe, making the scheduling of sessions a challenge. In 2021, conference activities will be spread over a four-week period so as to give attendees more opportunities to participate at times that are conducive to their local time zones.

Papers and proposals may be submitted to one of 10 program tracks, the first nine of which correspond to the iLRN Houses of application, and the tenth of which is intended for papers making knowledge contributions to the learning sciences, computer science, and/or game studies that are not linked to any particular application area:

  1. Assessment and Evaluation (A&E)
  2. Early Childhood Development & Learning (ECDL)
  3. Galleries, Libraries, Archives, & Museums (GLAM)
  4. Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, & Social Justice (IDEAS)
  5. K-12 STEM Education
  6. Language, Culture, & Heritage (LCH)
  7. Medical & Healthcare Education (MHE)
  8. Nature & Environmental Sciences (NES)
  9. Workforce Development & Industry Training (WDIT)
  10. Basic Research and Theory in Immersive Learning (not linked to any particular application area)

For further information, please refer to the digital flyer or the iLRN website.

Inquiries regarding the iLRN 2021 conference should be directed to the Conference Secretariat at conference@immersivelrn.org. General inquiries about iLRN may be sent to info@immersivelrn.org

The iLRN 2020 conference was amazing, and I hope to see you at iLRN 2021!