Editorial: Welcome to the New Normal

A man lies dead in the street in Wuhan, China (source: The Guardian)

Between Australian bush fires, presidential impeachment hearings in the U.S. Senate, and the Wuhan coronavirus, 2020 is shaping up as a year to remember (not in a good way)—and January isn’t even over yet! This could be a long, long year.

Over the course of one week, I have switched from being a social VR/virtual worlds blogger to a Wuhan coronavirus blogger! Welcome to the new normal, folks. Expect me to flip back and forth between these two completely separate topics for the next little while.

It’s a good thing that I branded this blog with my own name, rather than a preset topic like “Social VR Blog”. It means I can be flexible as needed. So, I have updated the tagline for my blog accordingly:

I will be continuing my daily news update on 2019-nCoV, with links to the best, most credible information resources, so you can stay up-to-date on what’s going on as this virus continues its spread around the world.

And (to get my often-anxious mind off the topic), I will continue my blogposts about Sinespace, Second Life, and other virtual worlds and social VR platforms. It’s still my passion, it still engages me, and I will certainly be continuing that coverage.

I also need to work on my presentation at the upcoming Educators in VR conference which, unlike conferences which take place in real-world locations, is very unlikely to be affected by the flight cancellations and other logistical problems imposed by the Wuhan coronavirus!

So, as you can see, I’ve got lots to keep me busy over the next little while. Stay tuned, and stay healthy!

I Will Be a Presenter at the Educators in VR 2020 International Summit

I am happy to announce that my application to speak at the Educators in VR 2020 International Summit has been accepted! This six-day conference will be held entirely on various social VR platforms such as AltspaceVR, ENGAGE, and Rumii, instead of in a real-world physical location. (No need to book airline tickets or hotel rooms!)

I will be speaking on the topic of applications of commercial social VR platforms to libraries (specifically, academic libraries, although much of what I will say equally applies to special/corporate libraries and public libraries). This will be the first time I am speaking from my dual perspective as an academic librarian and as a social VR blogger!

I will most likely be giving my presentation from the ENGAGE educational social VR platform, where they already have a virtual recreation of the famous Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford that I could use! You can see it in this short video clip below:

I’d like to thank the organizers, Lorelle VanFossen and Daniel Dyboski-Bryant, for inviting me to come speak! They are also on the lookout for volunteers to help run the Summit:

This event will not happen without volunteers helping to moderate, film and record, and help with logistics. If you would like to volunteer in addition to speaking, or have students, co-workers, or others familiar with social and educational VR platforms willing to help, please use our Volunteer Form to let us know how you may help. 


So please consider becoming a volunteer. Thanks!