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Virtual Education Journal

A note from editor Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. Warren Buffet

fined the many qualities and patterns of Matt / Cyrus’s life. But, until now I don’t

thors shared insights into how education-

think many of us realized just how much

al avatars have successfully created vir-

hurt or how deeply our avatars feel pain

tual communities of learners in Second

and loss of another avatar. Lost. Gone. If

Life, opensims, and other virtual worlds.

a picture paints 1,000 words, the picture

But, on June 5, 2016, for many of us, Sec-

by Augusta looking at the “Offline Sign”

ond Life stood still as the news spread

of Cyrus at VSTE Island says it all (Page

through digital channels. Quiet whispers,


then shouts of disbelief, and then painful Today many of us are enjoying the shade

tears rocked our metaverse as never be-


from trees that have been planted across

fore of the untimely death of Matt Poole/

Education Journal Edovator of the Year

the metaverse thanks to the dedicated,

Cyrus Hush.

Award Committee was unanimous in

hard work of early explorers, innovators,




their decision to recognize Matt Poole

and pioneers, such as Matt Poole (rl),

I don’t think any of us quite realized the

(rl), Cyrus Hush (sl) as the 2016 Edova-

aka Cyrus Hush (sl), the recipient of the

magnitude and the strength of our vari-

tor of the Year. Well deserved, as you can

2016 Edovator of the Year award. This is

ous virtual communities, especially the

see as you read through several articles and tributes to Matt/Cyrus. In addition, we have reprinted the first “Expedition… Walkabout” column by Matt/Cyrus and Matt’s Educational Philosophy.

In this issue of VEJ we are also celebrating “The Past, Present, and Future” of our existence in digital and virtual environments. As we go to publication for this issue of VEJ, Second Life is celebrating its 13th birthday, having launched from San the highest recognition given by the Vir-

relationships among our intricate and

Francisco, California on June 23, 2003.

tual Education Journal for an outstand-



According to Linden Lab, by 2013 there

ing educator who has demonstrated an

friends. . . a multicolored tapestry of

were approximately 1 million regular us-

entrepreneurial spirit across the digital

organizations spanning virtual worlds

ers. With the advent of VR tools and the

and virtual educational realm. Among

across the metaverse grids.

ability to hypergrid with suitcase in hand,



other things, Matt/Cyrus is best known in

the future seems infinite as we continue

Second Life for his “Exploration Central”

As avatars gathered together to comfort

resources and his “Walkabout” VEJ col-

each other, they shared many stories


about Matt/Cyrus. From artifacts, pic-

We hope you will enjoy the “Past, Present

tures, and oral stories we began to glean

and Future – Everything About ISTE VEN”

all of the pieces of the puzzle that de-

article by Scott Merrick/Scottmerrick Oh

In the Spring 2016 issue of VEJ, the au-

to explore the metaverse.

Virtual Education Journal

and co-author Andrew Wheelock/Spiff Whitfield. We also hope you will dive deeply into this issue of VEJ and take time to enjoy the numerous url hyperlinks to videos and additional resources

In this issue. . . Past, Present, & Future

throughout this issue of VEJ that document the important work that has been done and continues to be done in virtual worlds to plant the shade trees.

Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners of the 2016 Virtual Education Journal Reader’s Choice Awards. Keep up the GREAT work!

We have timed this edition of VEJ to

Past, Present, & Future

be published at the beginning of the ISTE2016 conference in Denver. As we go to press there are schedules and awards for the ISTE Games & Simulations Net-

ISTE was at that time putting thousands of dollars a year into maintenance of ISTE Island, where a robust Docenting program scheduled educators to just hang out at various times of the International day.

work and the ISTE Virtual Environments Network. Check them out and hope to see you at ISTE. If you are at ISTE, make sure to stop by the playground and say “hi!” We would love to meet you.

Finally, with this issue, VEJ is happy to celebrate 5 years of publications! We greatly appreciate all of the work that is happening in digital and virtual worlds and your willingness to share your experiences with the rest of us. Continue to plant those trees… Ten years from now we hope to have a lot more shade!

Once again, VEJ… Out of this World and devour every byte! Keep Smiling, Roxie Neiro (sl), Rosie Vojtek (rl)

Remembering Matt Poole/Cyrus Hush Both Bill and Christine attended Matt’s funeral service on Saturday June 11, 2016 at 10 am (ET) at Oakey’s South Chapel in Roanoke, VA.



Virtual Education Journal

11 Expeditions

2016 Edovator of the Year Goes to...

06 36

Reader’s Choice Awards

SLMOOC Pokeman + Ingress = Pokeman Go!

76 78

Virtual Education Journal



ISTE Virtual Environments Pioneer of the Year Award



Congratulations Matt: 2016 Edovator of the Year


Expeditions: Matt Poole’s First Article May 2011


Past, Present & Future: ISTE Virtual Environment Network


Regarding Online Education


Remembering Matt Poole (rl), Cyrus Hush (sl)


VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


In Loving Memory




Blended Government Courses


Learning Naturally


Collaboration on Mobile Devices


ISTE games & Simulations Excellence Awards


A Retrospective Vision


ISTE Games and Sims & VEN Playground Schedule


Writing For VEJ

The Dark Portal To read VEJ online visit follow us on Twitter @VEJournal or #VEJournal


Cover by Bob Vojtek (BJ Gearbox) adapted from photos of Matt Poole



Virtual Education Journal

And, the 2016 Edovator of the Year Award Goes To . . . [Drum roll, please] . . . Matt Poole (RL), Cyrus Hush (SL)

CONGRATULATIONS, MATT! By Roxie Neiro (SL), Rosie Vojtek (RL)

The following is a copy of the speech by Rosie O’Brien Vojtek (rl), Roxie Neiro (sl), Virtual Education Journal (VEJ) Editor gave at the June 20, 2016 Memorial in Second Life for Matt Poole (rl), Cyrus Hush (sl) to celebrate his life and recognize him as the 2015- 2016 Edovator of the Year. The following is the complete text. Good evening. My name is Rosie O’Brien Vojtek in rl and Roxie Neiro in sl. I am here tonight as the editor of the Virtual Education Journal, VEJ, to celebrate the life of Matt Poole, aka Cyrus Hush. Matt was one of our favorite authors and a VEJ columnist who brilliantly wrote “Expeditions” sharing some of his favorite places to “Walkabout.” Cyrus was rezzed on November 13, 2006, about 3 years before me, Roxie Neiro. So, like an older brother, I have always looked up to him. Cyrus always had such great ideas, a fun-loving sense of humor, was there to help my clumsy and virtual world challenged self, and always had a new and exciting place to visit in Second Life. I am not sure when exactly we first met. It was probably on ISTE Island sitting around the campfire chatting or dancing and having fun at an ISTE social. Cyrus often stopped by while I was serving as an ISTE docent. Along with other Second Life colleagues and friends we explored new places on ISTE Tours and Virtual Pioneer Tours. Over the years Cyrus and Roxie became good friends. Cyrus was a member of the VWBPE Social Committee for several years, participating in our fashion show and setting up expedition signposts so participants, especially those new to Second Life, could start exploring some of his favorite places. In 2010 a bunch of us started talking about creating a publication to archive our work in Second Life.

Virtual Education Journal

It took us about a year to actually publish the first issue of the Virtual Education Journal. But in May 2011, five years ago, the first edition was hot off the press. As we like to say, VEJ – Out Of This World! That first issue was 40 pages long and included 11 different articles, one of which was “Expeditions” by Matt Poole, aka Cyrus Hush. In his introduction, he wrote, Thanks to the SIGVE organizers, I will have the honor and pleasure of sharing some highlights of these explorations with you. As you read about and hopefully investigate some of these builds on your own, you may find out about new tools, new best practices, and new ways of using the medium yourselves. Or, you may just find some new places to explore! ‘See you on the road… Cyrus Before we published each issue of VEJ, I would contact Matt to see if he would be able to send me the next saga of his Expedition column. Many of our issues have featured Matt’s Expeditions. However, at submission time for the June 2013 issue of VEJ, Matt emailed the following: Hi Rosie: You are probably going to hit me but I can’t make today’s article deadline for the upcoming VEJ issue. However, you can put in my educational philosophy as an article if you want to (it’s never been published elsewhere; I’m job hunting). If your deadline changes I might be able to make it with another On Walkabout installment. Thanks and sorry! Matt/Cyrus

So, for the June 2013 issue of VEJ we published his philosophy. Matt ended his philosophical statement with the following: Much like a piece of chalk, online education is just a tool in the hands of an educator. It can be used effectively or ineffectively, appropriately or inappropriately. It can be used at the wrong times or for the wrong reasons. However, the challenge and the responsibility for achieving learning objectives lie not in the chalk, but in the hand wielding it. A given online class might not be as good



Virtual Education Journal

as a given traditional class… or it might be just as good… or it might be far superior. The keys for success are design, implementation and, as with all things, effective communication. Whether Matt/Cyrus was writing articles, blogging on his website, learning to produce machinima, exploring Second Life sims and other virtual worlds, or leading ISTE Tours, he was a great communicator. Like Lewis and Clark before him, Matt/Cyrus was constantly mapping his explorations and ventures into little known places, creating signposts for others to follow, and sharing his passions for newly discovered online tools and digital technologies. During these past two weeks since his passing, Matt/Cyrus’s VSTE and ISTE friends, have shared many fond memories of him through emails and in virtual chats. We have shared stories and memories as we put together the many pieces of the puzzle that reflect the patterns of his life. In so doing, it was clear to see Matt’s true complexity and incredibly humble and dedicated passion for moving digital educational technologies forward through their integration in online and virtual learning. It was an easy decision, even if posthumously, for the VEJ Edovator of the Year award committee to unanimously select Matt Poole/ Cyrus Hush as this year’s recipient of the highest award that the Vir-

tual Education Journal and Edovation bestows. Although the Summer 2016 issue of VEJ will not be out until next week during the ISTE 2016 Conference in Denver, we are excited to reveal the cover, which is created with pieces from Matt/ Cyrus’s life that reflect the quintessential educator and innovator that personifies his life. Congratulations to the 2015-2016 Edovator of the Year, Matt Poole/Cyrus Hush! Well deserved!

Virtual Education Journal

I would like to close with the quote that Matt used to begin his “Expedition: On Walkabout” column in 2011. The quote was by Alfred Lord Tennyson. It reminds me so much of Cyrus. “Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world. Push off, and sitting well in order smite The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset…” Matt/Cyrus was a GREAT explorer, a true pioneer, a brilliant blogger, and most of all a wonderful friend. He will be missed by us all.

I know that wherever Matt/Cyrus is, he is happily sailing beyond the sunset, mapping new places, blogging what he sees, and setting up Expedition signposts so one day we can all join him on his next walkabout! Cyrus, ‘See you on the road…

*Note: You can read articles by Matt Poole in archived issues with at



Virtual Education Journal

Virtual Education Journal

Expeditions: Matt Poole’s First Article from May 2011

Reprinted from the very first issue of VEJ

Expeditions By Matt Poole aka Cyrus Hush

Introduction About a year ago, I stumbled across an interesting Second Life build. It was an extraordinarily detailed cyberpunk-art deco town with a lot of interactive content and a lush, atmospheric ambiance to it. My mini-map revealed a tight cluster of avatars in one corner of this sim. Approaching to investigate, I found a goodbye party in progress. It seemed that the day of my first visit was the very last day of this sim’s existence; it was being closed down for good. At that point I decided to make a serious effort to wander about and keep up with the creative efforts of others in

“Come, my friends,

Second Life. I began a blog, an in-world group and a museum called Expedition Central, all with the objective of reviewing,

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

advertising and cataloging as many cool and unusual builds in Second Life as possible. Many if not most of the 160+ sims that

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

have been reviewed and cataloged to date are either of an educational nature or are related to Science, Art or Culture in

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

some fashion.

To sail beyond the sunset…”

Now, thanks to the SIGVE organizers, I will have the honor and pleasure of sharing some highlights of these explorations

--Alfred, Lord Tennyson

with you. As you read about and hopefully investigate some of these builds on your own, you may find out about new tools, new best practices and new ways of using the medium yourselves. Or you may just find some new places to explore! ‘See you on the road… Cyrus



Virtual Education Journal

Volume 1

Okapi Island

Tropical Dry Forest

The University of California at Berkeley has dedicated this sim

Among other things, Costa Rica is home to much of the

to the accurate depiction and investigation of the 7,000-10,000

world’s remaining tracts of tropical dry forest (meaning they

year old Neolithic archeological excavation of Catalhoyuk, in

actually have a hard dry season during the year). This type of

Turkey. This project obviously has a significant budget and lots

ecosystem is quite rare, and remaining tracts are endangered.

of helpers. There are instructional videos, background music

You can tour a recreation of the Palo Verde biological preserve

and interactive exhibits all through the place.

at Tropical Dry Forest, nestled in the heart of the Costa Rica sims…

You can climb in and out of reconstructed houses, examine artifacts and learn about the way of life for people who were just

Upon landing you will have the opportunity to take a boat tour

beginning to abandon the nomadic hunter-gatherer existence

of the build. The boat tour is narrated, extremely informa-

in favor of more permanent settlements. You can also learn

tive and highly recommended. The texture details and sound

about how an archeological dig is conducted and managed.

effects are wonderful! I wouldn’t have thought you could do a convincing and worthwhile nature documentary in Second

On the hillside behind the settlements you may notice a small

Life, but I would have been mistaken.

round ball on the ground. Clicking this ball launches a short, educational and fun scavenger hunt for artifacts on the island.

Back at the gift shop you can purchase a monkey, coati or cai-

Clicking each item as you locate it brings you one step closer to

man of your very own!

the prize!

Virtual Education Journal

Statue of Zeus

Nautilus City is actually part of the Linden continent of Nautilus. Cut through by a deep-walled canal that runs through its length, Nautilus Island sports a number of impressive-looking classical buildings facing the canal, including a reproduction of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. Inside is the statue itself, which shows a seated Zeus leafed in gold. A number of other impressive Greek buildings are nearby, including a recreation of the statue of Athena from in front of the Austrian Parliament building in Vienna. This area is definitely worth a visit for any fan of classical history and architecture.

There are many lists of World Wonders, but the original list

To be continued…

was the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This was a list of “must-see” Mediterranean attractions that were posted into Greek tour guide books around the First Century BC. Note: This was the first Expedition column by Matt Poole/Cyrus All but the Pyramids are gone now, but several of them have

Hush. It was originally printed in the May 2011 issue of the

been digitally reincarnated in Second Life and it certainly is fun

Virtual Education Journal.

to wonder what the original designers would have thought… “The Statue of Zeus was the fourth oldest of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. It was built in Olympia in 433 BCE by the famous sculptor Phidias to adorn the Sanctuary of Zeus, where the Olympic games were held each year. It was 40 feet high…” –retrieved from

To see additional Expeditions from Cyrus Hush, go to :



Virtual Education Journal

Past, Present, and Future ISTE Virtual Environment Network By Scott Merrick/Scottmerrick Oh with co-author Andrew Wheelock/Spiff Whitfield

Everything About ISTE Virtual Environments Network Hi, Scott here. On Saturday morning, April 8, I arose as I typically do, around 5:30 in the morning. Ruby was singing the song of her people in the hallway. It was 3:30 am on the Pacific coast, Second Life Time, and I had around 4 and a half hours to get myself in gear for our presentation for the Second Life Mooc 2016. It was really only sketched out, but that’s how we roll at the ISTE Virtual Environments Network. Andrew Wheelock and I are sort of famous for working on the edge. We like to call it “Just-In-Time Design and Delivery.” It sounds much better than “Habitually Winging It.” I dealt with the menagerie, our pups Watson and MacGuyver and our aforementioned senile cat, Ruby. I set up my relatively new Toshiba Satellite laptop and logged into Second Life. That sounds so simple. Actually I was sidetracked for around 5 minutes as a new update of the Second Life viewer downloaded and updated software on my computer. Then I logged in. Once Scottmerrick Oh rezzed completely, becoming him/myself out of the swirling cloud on the screen, I ambled upstairs to the Library of ISTE VEN HeadQuarters. Andy typed “Hi, buddy” and it registered on my local chat window. He was checking out the space himself, and he had updated the south library wall with a web page display prim populated with our Virtual Environments Mentors padlet page.

Virtual Education Journal

We chatted in text just a minute, and I told him that I was having sound issues in SL, and that I would finish out the shared Google Slides document and get it inworld prior to 8 am SLT, or my 10 am and his 11 am. If I were granted godlike powers I would eliminate time zones. That’s another story. I went to work. Most of my images came from my years-old Flickr Pro account. I kept getting sucked down rabbit holes as I perused photographs that documented years of involvement with learning and teaching in Second Life and beyond. I had completed the first slide (view entire slideshow at Plain and simple: Slides to spark memories and discussion. Let’s start at the beginning, sort of narrating here as I was to do in person. There is a video online at, since Maggie Larrimore, AKA Nancy Zingrone, was filming; so if you really want the whole shebang, viewing the PowerPoint (link above) while watching the video in a second window will pretty much do the trick. Let’s begin:

Images of David Warlick and Claudia Linden should get things off to an auspicious start, as would two snapshots from ISTE in Washington, DC, where we hosted the last of several “Second Life Playgrounds.” Note our Peggy Sheehy in the right-hand pic—holding forth to students visiting the Playground.



Virtual Education Journal

And here’s me at the crowded 2005 NECC in Atlanta. It was my first time with a Playground, and it was so exciting I was hooked. Love the title banner in the background: “MUVES AND STUDENTS.”

Virtual Education Journal

2008, San Antonio. I put this together and roped in some of the most influential virtual environments pioneers on the globe to share the bully pulpit. It sold out all 30 seats well in advance of the National Educators Computing Conference and we had a blast. The links on these slides are and sets/72157605927790311/ I see Kevin Jarrett, the late Scott Swanson and Peggy again, and Bill Freese, a shim in the attendee pool. What fun that was, and it was the first time we had contact with Linden Lab in the lovely form of their Education Community Manager, Claudia L’Amoreaux/Linden.



Virtual Education Journal

The inworld build for SLedupotential is something I threw together in a holographic virtual room within Second Life, up above the iconic ISTE Island. That was a packed sim for over two hours.

ISTE was at that time putting thousands of dollars a year into maintenance of ISTE Island, where a robust Docenting program scheduled educators to just hang out at various times of the International day. I was a volunteer in that program, and I remember how exciting it was to have teachers pop in to see what was up. We would gather on the front sidewalk and widen our circle as new colleagues rezzed. I called that “wircling.” That term hasn’t made it into the dictionary yet, but I deem it appropriate. And memorable.

Virtual Education Journal

The next slide held some talking points about ISTE Conferences and how our community has bellied up to the conference bar with evocative location-specific builds for those both at the conferences and unable to attend. The Red Rocks build last Denver conference was a great example. We had presentations in there concurrent with the ongoing ones at the Playground. That’s me sitting in the chair with our first Grand Poobah hat. It’s become a tradition, and we also have one we take turns wearing at conferences, though it does not have a video display and is more of a fool’s bonnet.



Virtual Education Journal

I blogged regularly from 2007 until the 434th post in 2014, when I shut down “Oh!VirtualLearning” to move on to other projects. The first post, May 27, 2007, proclaims my intentions: Read it here. I still believe it’s a rich resource for any educator interested in learning and teaching in virtual environments, and it developed directly as a result of the strong community that became VEN, now 1200+ members strong in the ISTE organization.

Rosie Vojtek, creator and publisher of Virtual Education Journal along with her capable husband, Bob, was on hand at the session to share some of her perspectives. I missed that due to crashing computer/sound issues, so I’m looking forward to the archived video. I don’t need to tell you about VEJ here, though. You’re reading it! Well, I will say that it is our body of work. Published at least every 6 months since May 2011, it contains articles, some scholarly, some less so, about topics we care about. Considering that you are reading this, you do to. Peruse back issues at and download the app to read away on your mobile device.

Virtual Education Journal

Kevin Jarrett, AKA KJ Hax, hosted a long run of ISTE Island Speaker Sessions back in the day. We picked that up when KJ decided for professional reasons that Second Life was taking too much of his effort and time. As Andy and I were to share, the events went from very professional and orderly to loose and laid back. We still model that and we’re not ashamed to do so. That’s how we roll, well, in addition to liking to produce work “just-in-time.”



Virtual Education Journal

Definitely a talking point slide here. We met for weeks that seemed like years as we sought consensus on the pathway forward after ISTE announced closure of ISTE Island. Committee members brought widely divergent paths to the consideration table, and it took a lot before we finally agreed to continue based on ISTE’s gracious continued support in the form of (a much smaller) rental property on Eduisland 9.

Serena Offcourse, AKA Mary O’Brien, was enlisted to design and put in place our new HeadQuarters on Eduisland 9. It brought over many of the qualities that made ISTE Island Headquarters so inviting and successful. The front sidewalk was left behind, but a campfire meeting place with multi-pose Adirondack chairs took its place. The room we sat in for this session, the library, features an expandable table, as attendees discovered when they sat down. It is LSL-scripted so that when a new avatar sits down, another chair is added to the table, which in turn grows in size. It’s epitomic welcome. It would become a much used resource over the next few years. Since 2012 there have been over 88,000 personal visits to the meeting place. While it may be true that a thousand of those were mine or Andy’s, that’s still a lot of bang for ISTE’s buck. What do we do there that draws so many visitors? Let’s start at the beginning at ISTE Island:

Virtual Education Journal

Andy (Spiff) and I took over the Speaker Series from our friend Kevin Jarrett when he stepped out of Second Life. At the new HQ, the presentation series changed from bi-weekly to monthly, held every 3rd Tuesday of each month. We focused on experts who could share successes learning and teaching in virtual worlds, and the introduction/interview format was retained, with Spiff leading interviews and Scott stepping in when needed. HQ was fitted with benches in an audience style format. For a good while, speaker enlistment and program delivery was handled by Barbara Truman and Frankie Antonelli. When they handed it back over to Andy and Spiff, some redesign was in order.



Virtual Education Journal

It was time to morph Speaker Sessions into Focus Sessions. We had a focus, after all, but more importantly we wanted to move away from the “sit & git” sort of lecture/presentation format into more of a discussion. Consequently, the audience layout was redesigned into more of a living room, with posable furniture arranged in a big circle. Focus Sessions were born. Still each 3rd Tuesday, we meet at 5pm SLT to share successes and challenges, plans and dreams. Beth and Nova do a smash-up job of lining up our focus and bringing the right leaders in to guide it. Join us, any month, to spend an hour or so in a community of learners you won’t likely forget. Keep in touch with our schedule at or in the Massive Open Online Calendar.

And then there’s Gridjumper. She leads our Machinima Nights, switching up formats so that we never know exactly how we are going to explore machinima making and sharing, just that we are going to do just that. On a recent Machinima Night, for example, our Bluebarker Lowtide explored the importance of sound in machinima-making, at one point playing a segment with one sound track, then replaying it with another to demonstrate how important a role music can play in eliciting reactions from viewers.

Virtual Education Journal

The ISTE Island front sidewalk meetups have been replaced by monthly informal “Open Office Hours,” led by VEN leaders and often with agenda, but just as often without. Join us. Oh, I already said that. And finally:



Virtual Education Journal

The 1st Tuesday in April, Helena Kiana, AKA Barbara Seaton, led us into new territory for the first time. We met at HQ at the usual time (5pm SLT) and she laid out the goal. We would visit one evocative region in Second Life each month, and—atypically—limit our IM and chat, just roam around and explore, discover, experience; all with the goal of coming out of the hour with inspiration to write…something. ISTE VEN Writers Group was launched. The first place chosen to visit was Moneti Mori, by Chou Chou. Built as a venu for the Japanese Electronica duo’s performances, its region stream contains their music and serves as a stimulating audio track for exploring its unique cathedral-like design. I came out of the experience with a little haiku, which can be viewed online. We tied up the session with a discussion of this year’s ISTE Conference in Denver, Colorado; we shared the news that our PLN “Virtual Pioneer of the Year” award winner will be announced in Denver at the annual meeting, which traditionally follows our 3 hour Virtual Environments Playground and will so this year. Pictured in the slide above is our “Money Shot” from ISTE 2015, where we dropped balloons out into the teeming hallway below in a fairly successful effort to draw larger attendance at our tucked-away Playground location. We apologized to Google, who was presenting beneath us, for the machine gun-like cacophony that resulted from the directions on the balloons to pop them. In closing, thanks to everyone at SLMooc16, especially Nellie Deutsch, for the opportunity to share this live and archived. Thanks to my brother-from-another-mother, Andy Wheelock, for allowing himself to be roped into another adventure with me, and for holding down the fort during my multiple bouts with crashing computers and lost sound. And thanks to everyone who attended! And thanks to Bob and Rosie for sharing here, and thanks to YOU, the readers! Come join us for ISTE 2016 in Denver, Colorado, whether in person--where you get the annual free hugs from me-or in SL, where I can do the same! This year, in addition to action-packed interactivities (I may have made that up), we are featuring an opening keynote by Cynthia Calogne (Lyr Lobo) and a closing keynote by Bernhard Drax (Draxtor/Depres). WOW! See you. Life(s) is grand.

Virtual Education Journal

PS. . . The future holds some very interesting options for us in Virtual Environments Work. It’s always hard for us to project into the future in any technology because of the constant ebb and flow of tech change and disruption. However, I do foresee some exciting possibilities going forward. Trends that are on the horizon


for Virtual Environments: Art and Architecture: Virtual environments have amazing potential for artistic and architectural renderings that haven’t been tapped into by education in particular. Creating virtual art in Virtual Environments allows for interaction for the user. For example, a RL Art museum only allows for the viewer to look. Interaction is not participatory. However, art in a virtual world, could allow for others to create off of art – that is, to see art in other dimensions as well as take photographs off of the art and thus creating more art with inspiration from the original artist. I can of course hear the naysayers, “How are my students going to use this outside of school?” Easy: Jobs from construction workers to game designers are using virtual world tools and 3D creation items in their work. These jobs are valuable, needed, and in most cases offer careers that are sustainable and financially stable.


No longer is the stereotype of an artist, the “starving artist” caricature. Virtual Reality is coming… (We hope) Occulus Rift1 , Samsung Gear VR2, and Google’s Expeditions3 were some of the initial entries into “Goggle On” Technology. Google has created a teaser for their new VR technology called, DayDream4. It looks as if it offers great possibility for us Virtual World builders. What’s more exciting is, it offers interactivity through a “wand” type device, which is essential for education. Stay tuned…


“Oculus.” 2014. 15 Jun. 2016 <>


“Samsung Gear VR - The Official Samsung Galaxy Site.” 2015. 15 Jun. 2016 <http://www.>


“Expeditions Pioneer Program - Google.” 2015. 15 Jun. 2016 < expeditions/>


“Google VR - Daydream.” 2016. 15 Jun. 2016 <>



Virtual Education Journal

Regarding Online Education By Matt Poole (rl), Cyrus Hush (sl) In recent years, the growth rate for online degree programs has soundly surpassed that of “brickand-mortar” institutions. Traditional universities have understandably regarded this trend with a certain amount of trepidation. A few traditional educators have even decried the online academic environment as being cold and impersonal; even symptomatic of a “dumbing down” of the educational system. Aficianados might be inclined to defend the online educational environment by pointing out the convenience and flexibility of online classes for working adults, as well as the need to maximize educational efficiencies in the face of ongoing budgetary cutbacks. Both sides of this debate may be missing the larger point, however. The suggestion that online classes have to be qualitatively inferior to traditional classes in any way is simply not true. Arguments against the value of an online education might include accusations that educators and students never meet face-to-face, that the intellectual dynamics of classroom discussion and debate are missing and that subtle cues of interpersonal communication cannot be expressed in an online environment. Such statements rely on assumptions, however, and the assumptions may not be valid or may not be valid anymore. Indeed, given the speed at which the Web is evolving, any limitations to Web-based learning that might still exist could disappear tomorrow. For many educators, assumptions or misconceptions about online courses probably stem from memories of correspondence courses wherein a student received a package of readings and assignments through the mail. Once completed, the student would mail it back to an instructor for a grade. While convenient, this model was not only impersonal but made it very difficult to receive timely feedback on an assignment. However, if a given online class is destined to be merely a high-tech vision of the venerable correspondence course, it is not going to be because of a technological limitation but rather because of a limitation of vision on the part of educators. Online education is (and always has been) going through a transition. In many cases the expectations of traditional educators and the general public are rooted in memories of earlier models of distance education, or in their own general anxieties about the online environment. However, these expectations may not be shared by their students, who may have different experiential frameworks entirely. Modern Millennials have had the opportunity to grow up in an environment of video games, video-chat, texting, email, social networks and other technologies. Educators of another generation may have adopted these technologies, either reluctantly or joyously, but they may not have had the opportunity to learn as children how to be Web natives. To many of our students,

Virtual Education Journal

however, the idea of online collaboration seems neither sterile nor impersonal but already a necessary part of their lives. Apple Inc. recently launched a new series of textbooks available through their iTunes outlet. As with many of their other products, they took an innovative approach. Rather than first creating the printed text and then making a static digital copy, Apple’s innovation was to start from scratch and to leverage the full capabilities of e-book technology for each title, delivering dynamic and interactive multi-media resources that a traditional textbook, for all its tactile charm, could not be expected to match. To achieve its fullest potential, online education has to develop the same way and be built from the ground up to maximize the student experience with media-rich content, constant “check-ins” from instructors and mentors, and lots of collaborative, interactive group projects to challenge the students’ critical thinking skills. Today, you can take a virtual tour of great museums with Google Art Project. You can dive out of the sky and explore any point on the planet with Google Earth. You can have a face-to-face conversation with anyone in the world using Skype and a webcam. You can have lively group meetings using webinars. You can network with friends and colleagues using socialnetworking sites. You can enter a virtual world as an avatar and simulate a classroom environment, complete with an avatar-instructor and other avatar-students. All of this is possible right now. Much like a piece of chalk, online education is just a tool in the hands of an educator. It can be used effectively or ineffectively, appropriately or inappropriately. It can be used at the wrong times or for the wrong reasons. However, the challenge and the responsibility for achieving learning objectives lie not in the chalk, but in the hand wielding it. A given online class might not be as good as a given traditional class… or it might be just as good… or it might be far superior. The keys for success are design, implementation and, as with all things, effective communication.

Matt Poole May 15, 2013 First published in June 2013 issue of VEJ, pages 163- 165



Virtual Education Journal

Remembering Matt Poole/Cyrus Hush An Interview with Bill Schmachtenberg (rl), Dae Miami (sl) and Christine Gries (rl), Darra Nimbus (sl) Robert Matthew Poole, age 55 December 25, 1960 – June 5, 2016

RCyrus Hush, age 10 November 13, 2006 – June 5, 2016 Interview by Roxie Neiro (sl) Rosie Vojtek (rl)

Bill Schmachtenberg (rl), Dae Miami (sl) and Christine Gries (rl), Darra Nimbus (sl) knew Matt Poole both in real life and Second Life. Christine worked with Matt at the American National University (ANU) where he joined the faculty in 2003. Matt served as department chair for the information technology programs at the ANU Roanoke Valley Campus, director of online education, and director of online academics, before assuming responsibility as an online faculty member. Bill knew Cyrus in Second Life and had the opportunity to meet him at a VSTE Day Conference. Both Bill and Christine attended Matt’s funeral service on Saturday June 11, 2016 at 10 am (ET) at Oakey’s South Chapel in Roanoke, VA. They agreed to share their friendship and memories of Matt/Cyrus as well as highlights from the funeral service with VEJ Readers.

Roxie: First of all, thank you Bill and Chris-

night tours, and tried to attend them as

“Hey, Dae!” Cyrus’s low tones are embed-

tine for sharing your memories of Matt/

often as he could. The problem was that

ded in Dae’s head. Dae does not need

Cyrus with us. Let’s begin first with you,

I taught a class at Ferrum College at that

photographs or videos to remind himself

Bill. How did you and your avatar first meet

time in the Fall, so Dae could not go as

about how special Cyrus was.

Cyrus Hush in Second Life (SL)?

often as he liked. Roxie: Yes, Cyrus was always so welcom-

Bill: Many years ago, my avatar, Dae Mi-

Roxie: I’m sure that was frustrating. Cyrus

ing to everyone who showed up for his

ami, first met Cyrus Hush on a Thursday

did many excellent tours in Second Life on

tours. Did you ever get to meet Matt in real

night ISTE tour. Cyrus was piloting a vir-

Thursday nights for ISTE!

life? Or, were you just friends in Second Life?

tual spaceship through our solar system. It was clear from our first meeting that

Bill: As Dae went on more and more of

Cyrus not only was adept at navigating

the ISTE tours, Dae and Cyrus became

Bill: Yes. Years later, Karen Richardson,

the educational virtual worlds in second

good friends. Dae loved it when he heard

Director of VSTE and George Washington,

life, but he was a master of science. Dae

his greeting from Cyrus as he logged into

Director of Technology for Franklin Coun-

was quickly hooked on these Thursday

the ISTE sim and heard over his speakers,

ty Public Schools, organized a VSTE day

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at the RPDIT (Regional Professional De-

referred to me as Dae in his answer. That

velopment for Instructional Technology)

day, I realized how our Second Life and

during the Summer. I had taught for 23

real life personalities could be merged

years in Franklin County and was honored


to be asked to present at VSTE day. That presentation was on the topic of Second

Roxie: It is such a strange feeling when

Life, and was presented at the conference

you realize how much you are your avatar

in both real life and Second Life.

and your avatar is you! How did you get the news about Matt’s passing?

Roxie: Interesting.

Bill: The day I received the email from VSTE friends that Matt was no longer with

Bill: Only 6 people attended my presen-

us was a total shock. There was no warn-

tation in real life, but 29 showed up in

ing. I was working with other teachers,

Second Life. That is when I got to meet

and had no choice but to excuse myself

Matt Poole for the first time in real life. He

to the bathroom so I could cry. This was

attended my session and then I attended

the first time I had faced the loss of a real

Matt’s’ session on World of Warcraft. Dur-

life and second life friend. Unlike losing a

ing his session, out of habit, Bill asked a

loved one in real life, I felt I had no imme-

question and started with “Hey Cyrus….”

diate support from friends, colleagues, or relatives since they did not know this

I think only Karen and Matt understood

kind man. I had to wait until that night

why I used that greeting. Matt in reply,

on VSTE island for Dae to be with people



Virtual Education Journal

that could support us both in this time

Bill: Yes, Meredith talked about Matt’s

of grief. I was glad to hear that Christine

childhood – how he was raised by two

Gries, would be coming to the funeral.

older sisters. She talked about the death

He said that Matt had started a “real”

of his father at 13 during a rock dig and

second life now that he had passed on.

Roxie: After attending the funeral for Matt,

how Matt became a gem expert (calling

It was a beautiful tribute to an outstand-

you sent out a summary to many of us who

everything rocks). Matt loved to read. He

ing educator and friend. After the service,

were close to Matt and Cyrus who could

loved science fiction so much he shared

I had the opportunity to meet with Mer-

not attend the funeral because we live

it with his children by reading all of the

edith, and tell her how much we all loved

around the world. Would you just share

Lord of the Ring Trilogy and Harry Potter

Matt in Second Life. I told her I, that is my

with all of our readers your memories and

to them. Matt also collected bugs. Once

avatar, Dae, was going to give a science

experiences at the funeral?

he hid a jar with a collection of ants in it.

lecture in Second Life that afternoon and

ality world of second life and mentioned

However, his dad made him release them

would dedicate the lecture to the memo-

his SL name: Cyrus Hush. Meredith said

because they were termites.

ry of Matt. She was pleased.

death reached the internet on Monday, a

Roxie: How funny! Yet, sounds just like the

Roxie: What a great tribute to Matt/Cyrus,

group of friends and colleagues gathered

inquisitive him!

to dedicate one of your science lectures to

with his son, but his son was better at it!

Bill: On June 11, 2016, the funeral for Matt Poole, aka Cyrus Hush, was held in Roanoke. As far as we could tell only two members of the Second Life community were in attendance: Christine Gries (Darra Nimbus, SL); and me, Bill Schmachtenberg (Dae Miami, SL). The service began with biblical readings and songs. Meredith Poole, Matt’s sister, gave some reflections on the life of Matt. She started with a mention of his presence in the virtual re-

that she knew that when word of Matt’s

on the island (presumably referring to

him. How did it feel being at the funeral for

VSTE island) and said words of support of

Bill: Matt played a musical instrument

someone you have a stronger virtual con-

Matt. Meredith had read the commentar-

and loved music in general. Meredith

nection with than a real life connection?

ies and was touched by what we said, but

talked about how while working at JC

did not read them during the funeral for

Penny’s jewelry counter Matt would read

Bill: This was the first time I have attend-

the sake of brevity.

his wife, Claudia, jokes from the World’s

ed a funeral of a friend that I have known

Worst Joke book. Reverend Todd Meyer

in real life and Second Life. I had no idea

Roxie: How wonderful of her to recognize

gave a Eulogy for Matt. At the end he

what to say or how to act. I felt I didn’t

all of his close friends in SL. Did Meredith

brought up Second Life, but defined it in

have social protocols to follow for such

or anyone else talk about Matt’s personal

a new way. Reverend Meyer also talked

an event. I felt the best thing to do was


about how Matt played World of Warcraft

to honor Matt, and not bring up Second

Virtual Education Journal

Life. But, I was relieved when Matt’s sis-

here to guide us during this time.

Cyrus you would like to share?

Roxie: I couldn’t agree more.

Bill: Matt’s final IM to Dae was “OK Bro.”

ter, Meredith, started her reflection with his Second Life name, Cyrus. Then, having Reverend Meyer discuss Second Life

How appropriate that he felt that way

told me it was ok to discuss Second Life

Bill: It is up to us to continue Matt’s/

with his sister. I had the opportunity to do

Cyrus’s legacy. I am glad to see his Thurs-

that after the service was over. Later that

day night tours continuing. I hope to

Roxie: What about you, Christine? What

night, I went to church with my family and

bring more of my colleagues into Second

are your last memories of Matt?

was able to talk to a seminarian, who was

Life. Recently, I brought in a friend from

familiar Second Life. I got the feeling that

Alaska. So, if you see Geology Bob run-

Christine: Matt’s last words to me (Darra/

the seminarian felt it was acceptable to

ning around Second Life, welcome him,

Christine) were, “Thanks for keeping me

bring up the interests of a departed one

please. I am also happy to say that Alex


as a way to pay tribute to them.

Hastings will be coming into Second Life

about Dae.

for a lecture on Titanoboa at the Second

Roxie: How did you get to know Matt/

Roxie: Have you been back in Second Life

Life Science Circle sim on July 30, 10


since Matt’s funeral?

am (SLT), 1 pm(ET)). You can attend by clicking on the slurl below: http://maps.

Christine: Matt and I have known each

Bill: This morning, I woke up at 6:30 am,

other for the past eight years (in Second

which is early for me especially since I am


Life time that is 17,520 days). During that

off for Summer break. My mind goes back to all the fun times Dae had with Cyrus in Second Life on the ISTE tours led by Cyrus. In addition to being sad, I am sort of angry that we lost Cyrus/Matt in 2016. Many see this year as the year of virtual reality. Google cardboard is very popular especially at my school. Facebook launched the latest version of Oculus Rift, and there are many other VR devices coming on the market such as Samsung VR. The commonwealth of Virginia recognized years ago that Virtual Reality must be a part of our student’s education and included it in the computer technology standards for high school students. Yet, the Department of Education (DOE) failed to give any instructions on how to carry out this worthwhile standard. It is a shame that we don’t have Matt/Cyrus still

time we have explored Second life, World Roxie: Any last memories about Matt or

of Warcraft, Guild Wars and a few other



Virtual Education Journal

virtual worlds together. Matt encouraged

at ANU it was not always smooth sailing.

sharing that with us. Do you have anything

me to become proficient at WOW and

We sometime argued, and he would al-

else you would like to say about Matt or

Guild Wars, but alas, I am a bit challenged

ways have a smart aleck, roundabout way


in multiplayer games. Nonetheless, his

of making his point. . . kind-of-like going

patience helped me level up.

the long way around on a WOW sim to

Christine: Cyrus/Matt, like his hero

avoid the big boss guy ready to stomp on

Richard Halliburton, was an explorer, a

you. Matt fostered our online team to be

consummate educator, a good and loyal

the best they could be by allowing us to

friend and I know that he is helping some

Christine: I use this term because Matt

handle the challenges and deadlines and

angel somewhere, to navigate some sce-

always helped people level up. For in-

to help him meet organizational goals. . .

nario, to get their wings and level up.

stance, while pursuing a Bachelor’s De-

in essence we all leveled up.

Roxie: Level up?

gree in Organizational Leadership I attended Penn State World Campus. My

Roxie: It sounds like you had a great work-

true passion was instructional design-

ing relationship. It also sounds like he was

Roxie: I couldn’t agree more. Thank you

ing and teaching, which I was already

a great mentor in real life, just as he was in

both, Bill and Christine, so much for shar-

involved in at work. With his guidance I

second life to so many people.

ing your memories of both Matt and Cyrus

changed programs and schools and ob-

with us.

tained my BS in Instructional design. Matt

Christine: Matt’s many kindnesses ex-

helped me level up in my educational

tended not just to people. Matt loved ani-

endeavors. When he needed an ID, since

mals. In the case of Zoro, the Greyhound,

his ID turned in notice and classes were

I dragged Matt, one lunch hour to the lo-

h t t p : / / w w w . r o a n o k e . c o m /o b i t u -

to restart in four weeks, he asked, “How

cal greyhound rescue wanting to look at

a r i e s /p o o l e - ro b e r t - m a t t h ew /a r -

soon can you come to Virginia?” In two

this dog I saw on the pet adoption pages


weeks I found myself in Roanoke. Once

during one of my sleepless nights. I was


again Matt helped me and my husband

hoping Matt would talk me out of the

level up in life, with a better job than

hound. Matt confided in me later that he

what I had left, and a life in a nicer part

saw that I fell in love with the critter and

of the country.

was not going to even try. When Sarah,

h t t p : / / w w w . r o a n o k e . c o m /o b i t u -

the kennel operator, let Zoro out in the


exercise yard, Zoro immediately made a


beeline for Matt and wanted to play. Zoro


Christine: Our place of employment, ex-

finally decided to check me out as well.


perienced some very frustrating times,

They say animals can sense the good in

with both management and operational

a person, even when others cannot see

challenges. During our meetings at work

it. Zoro knew Matt was a cool person who

Matt continually questioned policies that

loved to give ear scratches. Zoro leveled

were not always favorable for students, in

up because I wound up adopting him.


Roxie: What was it like to work with Matt?

his mind. It was our goal to help the students, level up. During our time together

Roxie: What a great story. Thank you for

Brief Obituary:

Guest Book:

Full Obituary with Guest Book:

Virtual Education Journal

You are Invited to Join The East Coast Miners Minecraft Server and Guild The East Coast Miners Server and Guild is designed for creative kids aged 16 and under with a passion for building and learning. This Minecraft Community is operated by two educators and one geek (engineer) in the hopes to enrich STEAM skills *science, technology, engineering, art and math* as well as communication and collaboration skills. It is our goal to have fun while enhancing the education of our youth. We are a community of explorers and builders who respect each other and  treat everyone with kindness and honesty. Specific expectations will be developed by guild members. East Coast Miners is a strictly enforced Grated environment, chat will be logged and monitored. It is our hope that this server can be a safe and fun place for all.

Visit Our Website at to apply and help us starting building our world.



Virtual Education Journal

VEJ: Readerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Choice Awards for 2016 By Roxie Neiro (SL), Rosie Vojtek (RL)

And the winner is... Second Life


World of Warcraft

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TIE: ISTEHeadquarters on AvaCon Grid & Machinima area on AvaCon Grid

Second Life

VWBPE 2016

Inevitable Betrayal Google+ Community



Virtual Education Journal

Beth Ghostaven

Taurren Chieftans in World of Warcraft

The Free Dove

AviWorlds Shopping Mall

Virtual Education Journal

Twelfth Night Designs

History, Regency Buckingham Palace

History, Regency Buckingham Palace

Mary O’Brien “Other” includes a variety of individuals, Mary O’Brien has the greatest number of votes.



Virtual Education Journal

House @ Blues

Mary Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien


VSTE Island Sim

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Inevitable Betrayal Google+ Community

Tour of Second Life Libraries 2015


Building and Creating



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Building and Creating

Lifeline by Kae Novak

VWBPE16 Selfies by Bluebarker Lowtide

TIE 21st Century and ARG & VWBPE16 Featuring Ebee Altberg

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Relay for Life SL

VSTE Island





Virtual Education Journal

In Loving Memory. . . A Tribute to Matte Poole (rl), aka Cyrus Hush (sl) Matt Poole was a kind and dedicated educator. My fondest memory of him in rl was when i met him at the RPDIT conference in Franklin County. He was giving a passionate talk about World of Warcraft. I went to ask a question and by habit referred to him as Cyrus. Karen Richardson and Matt were the only people in the room who know what I was saying. He by habit referred to me as Dae even though we were in rl. I always loved going on his ISTE tours, and I am glad they will continue. His last IM to me said it all...ok was nice to know that he felt that way about me. Bill Schmachtenberg Dae Miami (sl) â&#x20AC;&#x192; Cyrus Hush was dedicated to education in virtual environments. He was always ready and willing to help with all sorts of projects. These two pictures are from VWBPE Conferences. In 2011 Cyrus participated in the fashion show and wore a Steampunk outfit complete with goggles. He had an inventory full of fashion and unusual avatars. The following year Cyrus brought his best educational landmarks from Expedition Central to the Social Island for a special garden walk. He was diligent in making sure the landmark givers were all in working order and provided excellent

Virtual Education Journal

photos for each sign. This walk provided landmarks to new avatars who visited our island. These are just two examples of Cyrus’ dedication to education in virtual worlds. His gentle, relaxed and helpful demeanor will be greatly missed. A Gentleman and a Scholar A Tribute by Serena Offcourse (sl) Mary O’Brien (rl)  

Message for VSTE Email Newsletter: It is with sorrow and regret we have learned that pioneering virtual educator Matt Poole passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, June 5. As an early adopter and a docent on ISTE Island, he was a mentor to many of us as we began in Second Life. He was instrumental in celebrating the opening of our own sim, VSTE Island, in 2009 and continued to be an active member through tours of science, art, and historical builds. An explorer at heart, Matt founded Expedition Central in Second Life, where he curated numerous landmarks for avatars wishing to find interesting, educational, or beautiful sims to tour.



Virtual Education Journal

Matt co-presented and supported the VSTE Virtual Environment PLN at VSTE Conferences in Virginia Beach and Roanoke and supported us in all our sessions. He was bright, friendly, and patient in helping new users grasp this innovative social network. Matt was a professor at American National University (ANU) in Roanoke where he especially enjoyed teaching Environmental Science online. He dreamed of getting a PhD and teaching at a public university. On Monday, June 6, members and friends met to comfort each other on VSTE Island, and twenty-five or so people from all over Virginia and the country came to share their memories of this incredibly smart and kind man. Whether they knew Matt in the physical world or only virtually, to know him was to like him. He had a great sense of humor and entertained us often with his quick switching of avatars from the humanoid to the bizarre creations he found and enjoyed. On behalf of the VSTE family and all educators, we express our great sympathy to all who knew and loved Matt Poole. He was a valued member of our community, admired and enjoyed for his humor and intelligence. Kim Harrison VSTE VE PLN Chairperson â&#x20AC;&#x192; Matt Poole aka Cyrus Hush Machinima Tribute In memory of Matthew Poole - family man, educator, friend, colleague, virtual environment innovator and gamer. Matt Poole worked to enhance online teaching and learning by using multiple methods to engage students. I have fond memories of Cyrus Hush tours in SL and retro raids with Caravaggio. The real and virtual world has lost a good manâ&#x20AC;Ś He will be missed.

Virtual Education Journal

Published on June 10, 2016 Gridjumper Tanya Martin YouTube Tribute

Note: Video was all taken from his videos on his channel. The music is Gorillaz, a group that Matt was fond of.

The last time many of us saw Cyrus Hush was at the June 2, 2016 ISTE Social. We were all sitting outside House @Blues “Just chillin.’” Bluebarker Lowtide was spinnin’ the tunes and the rest of us were having fun dancing and chatting in the pool. Cyrus is in the white shirt. Cyrus was a GREAT explorer, true pioneer, brilliant blogger, and most of all a wonderful friend. I



Virtual Education Journal

know that wherever Matt/Cyrus is, he is setting up Expedition Signposts for his next Walkabout! VEJ won’t be the same. Second Life won’t be the same. Miss you, Cyrus! Roxie Neiro   People of Second Life: Cyrus Hush (2006-2016) aka Matthew Poole (1960-2016) Kay T. Burnett, who lives in Russia and attended the memorial for Cyrus Hush, aka Matt Poole, in Second Life on June 20, 2016. Kay wrote, It was an honor to be at the SL Memorial on Monday, June 20, 2016, and to learn more about somebody who has made such a huge impact on Second Life in particular and the use of the digital worlds in general. Let’s carry on that spirit of adventure, let’s not let it die off! Kay T. Burnett (KayT)

“The job Cyrus has done for Second Life, while done in the digital world, has been impacting the residents in the very real way, and the service, while held

Virtual Education Journal

in the digital world, is just as powerful as the one that took place in the physical world, if not more powerful – because people from all over the world have this opportunity to get together at one place to celebrate life of this truly remarkable man.” Quote taken from Blog written by Kay T Burnett (Kay T) Read entire blog at   Read other memories and tributes to Matt Poole /Cyrus Hush: Brief Obituary with Guest Book: b20b615a-a80e-5eff-bf2f-c0193c584397.html Full Obituary with Guest Book: id=1808132 bbf2898e-036e-534b-a136-ba67401537f1.html

Learn more about Cyrus Hush / Matt Poole check out the the following: LinkedIn: YouTube: Article: Website: Expedition Central Blog:



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Second Life: Twitter: @cytec and Facebook: Google+: and View Complete Memorial Tribute Memorial: bbf2898e-036e-534b-a136-ba67401537f1.htm Memorial Ceremony Tribute Area on VSTE Island Island/61/129/22 Memorial Garden on VSTE Island   VSTE Island: The R Matthew Poole Memorial Center For Teacher Resources Matt Poole Expeditions in VSTE Teacher Resource Center   ‘There are people you meet in life who change you forever, and Cyrus was one of those people for me. I will always have a place in my heart for him, and will miss his love of adventure, his sense of humor, and his dedication to us all. ~Augusta’

Virtual Education Journal


Photo by Augusta Carolina Maria v.Nassau (gardengirl), sl

‘See you on the road!’



Virtual Education Journal


Diane Moser

Sue Kallenbach

In response to a need in our district for more online courses and

We implemented a blended learning approach in a senior Gov-

elective possibilities for our virtual school that we also have in

ernment class during first block of the school day where stu-

Maize, the district purchased an educational technology curricu-

dents received traditional classroom instruction on Monday,

lum known as Edgenuity. Within Edgenuity, lectures and interac-

Wednesdays, and Fridays while completing Tuesday and Thurs-

tion are provided online. This technology has made it cheaper

day assignments and lecture online using Edgenuity.

and more convenient for our bricks and mortar Maize students

the course of 9 weeks, two blended Government courses and

to take online courses for credit recovery and credit acquisition

two traditional courses were conducted in two different high

as well.

schools. The same teachers that taught the traditional Govern-


ment courses also taught the blended Government courses. This Other possibilities for use of this technology to support regu-

procedure was repeated during the second 9 weeks of the fall

lar face-to-face classroom settings were also investigated. This

semester with two different face-to-face and blended classes

type of curricular structure is known as blended learning. A

taught by the same teachers. It was hoped that this integration

good definition of blended learning, according to the Clayton

of technology would help seniors to prepare themselves for col-

Christensen Institute, is “a formal education program in which

lege schedules and online responsibilities; helping them to gain

a student learns – at least in part – through online delivery of

experience in time management.

instruction and content, with some element of student control over time, place, path and/or pace.”

This type of learning would also support the “flipped classroom” research so that students would have online experiences to sup-

Virtual Education Journal

port classroom instruction every other day. However, if a stu-

students were actually more prepared for classroom discussions

dent’s grade dropped below an 80%, the student was required

face-to-face because of online content that they received the

to come to class on Tuesday and Thursday until the grade re-

day before.

turned to an 80% or above. This would allow the student to get individual instruction from the teacher as well as motivation to


work hard. Students who took part in the blended Government course durGovernment classes that met every day without Edgenuity were

ing the first nine weeks reacted very positively to the structure of

also conducted during the same nine weeks. Both classes took

the course. Most felt that they were able to learn the material on

the same exams every other Friday during class. Students from

Tuesdays and Thursdays on their own. They enjoyed having the

both types of courses were surveyed at the end to find out their

flexibility on Tuesdays and Thursdays to be responsible for their

views on the course structure. The teachers were also surveyed

own learning. One student wrote, “I didn’t know that I was going

to find out their views on student learning in both environments.

to actually learn as much as I did, and not only from the class, but on organization tips, and tips to help me in future classes


extending toward college.” Another student wrote, “I liked the independence. It was nice to have a taste of what college will be

Teaching a course online involves moving lectures, interaction,

like. Not having to rely on the teacher to remind us was a more

or testing on the internet. Lectures provide students with a first

realistic way to prepare a group of students.” Another student

exposure to course content. Interaction involves students inter-

responded to the survey saying, “I liked that I was depending on

acting with the instructor and other students to help them more

myself to get the work done, and that if I didn’t make the time, it

deeply process course content. While the instructors knew that

didn’t get done. And I also liked that I could take notes and move

the Edgenuity covered the course material thoroughly, they still

at my own pace.” Ninety-seven out of ninety-eight students said

found it difficult to trust that students would learn the material

that they would recommend this course layout to other students

that wasn’t taught face-to-face. After the first nine weeks, the

taking Government.

teachers felt more comfortable releasing this responsibility to the students. The second nine weeks that the course was taught


resulted in a greater amount of instruction taught and more meaningful conversations taking place during the face-to-face

I hope that eventually, such incremental work as the study re-


ported here may make it possible for students to experience blended courses in a high school setting. I feel that the real

Mrs. Moser found that although most students enjoyed sleep-

contribution to education of the Internet may be as a tool for

ing in on Tuesdays and Thursday and working on their schedule,

experimentation and innovation, to add value, maybe to reduce

there were some that enjoyed working online in class so that

cost/class size, and possibly to expand the availability of higher

they could work with their friends. Mrs. Moser welcomed this

education to new groups of people.

and made herself available to them when they needed assistance. Mrs. Kallenbach found that student test scores of her

On a personal note, I understand that teachers feel the need to

blended students were actually slightly higher than those of

use class time to cover course material. They feel that if they do

her traditional classroom during the second term. This could

not cover all the material in class that they are not doing their

possibly be related to the “flipped classroom” strategy, where




Virtual Education Journal

At the same time, new technologies such as Edgenuity provide

now possible with technology. Technology can give teachers

quality instruction and cover the material thoroughly. An impor-

time to do those things that they have always wanted to do but

tant point that I am beginning to appreciate is that a decision to

did not have the time for. It is possible that in technology-en-

use, or not to use, technology in the classroom should not be

hanced courses, the flexibility of the Internet maybe used to its

considered a trade-off between utilitarian concerns and teach-

best advantage.

ing effectiveness â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the value of computers of enhance learning by encouraging interaction. In this regard, technology can be

For more information you can reach Dr.Jen Kern, Educational

used to do new things or old things better.

Outreach Coordinator and Blackboard Administrator for Maize Virtual Preparatory School Principal at Dr. Jenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Virtual Class-

Opportunities to move routine tasks out of the classroom are


Virtual Education Journal

Learning naturally through motion-tracking gameplay with the Intel Realsense camera By Fleet Goldenberg

Since June 2014, my non-profit company Sambiglyon – the

bone joints and facial landmarks into mirrored movements and

name is Greek for ‘Education, Entertainment’ – has been devel-

face expressions on a full-body player avatar.

oping a PC game powered by the $129 Intel RealSense motion tracking camera. Called ‘My Father’s Face’, the game translates

The basic philosophy behind using motion tracking for con-

real-time inputs provided by the camera about the positions of

trol of the avatar is that it minimizes the need for the player



Virtual Education Journal

to be trained in the controls via cumbersome tutorial lessons.

home temporarily to the family’s tree-house home to help his

Because they interface with the game world in the same way

mother after his father was involved in an accident.

that they would approach problems in the real world with their flesh body, life experience has already given them the practical

As well as making use of the information and resources in the

knowledge for tackling most in-game situations.

world to make money to cover the family expenses, Lannel also uses a large touchable interactive wall mirror to explore his own

In ‘My Father’s Face’, the player assumes the role of Lannel Phar-

thoughts and perceptions, and his difficult relationship with his

aoh, a twenty-something walking, talking squirrel who has come

father that the father’s injuries have brought to a sudden head.

By exploring Lannel’s mind in the mirror, the player also leans

ligence character with realistic emotions who is on hand to give

how to analyze their own thoughts too as the camera replicates

the player advice whilst living her own active and independent

their facial expressions and emotions on Lannel’s face in real-

life each day with choices – like a real person – that are based


not just on regular routine but also on how she is feeling.

Accompanying the player’s personal journey in the mountain-

Outside the tree-house windows in the busy city of Skyline

top city of Skyline is his mother Mrs Pharaoh, an artificial intel-

meanwhile, a multitude of AI citizens are living their own lives in

Virtual Education Journal

workplaces, schools and on the roads and sidewalks. No matter

constantly reminded that there is a whole world that continues

what is happening to the player as they guide Lannel, they are

to exist and move forwards no matter what they do.

Every aspect of the player’s avatar character is designed to ease

stooping or kneeling in the real world.

their camera-controlled engagement with the world. As well as 1:1 control of virtual arms and head with the player’s real coun-

Furthermore, the animal nature of the player character provides

terparts, the avatar can grip and release objects with their virtual

further opportunities to overcome interface problems typically

hands by closing and opening their real fingers. It can also lean

encountered with motion control of virtual hands. Thin claws on

forwards and kneel to pick up objects that have been dropped

the tips of the avatar’s fingers act like a mobile device’s stylus

on the ground simply by lowering the real-life head as though

pen, enabling in-game buttons to be targeted and pressed precisely without mis-triggering the wrong option.



Virtual Education Journal

Virtual Education Journal

What the RealSense motion camera contributes to learning

Positive emotions are detected by the camera and enhance the

above all else is the ability for the player’s in-game performance

avatar as much as negative emotions hinder it, whilst faster and

to improve as their confidence and physical motor skills improve.

more precise body movements will be translated by the camera into increased avatar prowess, enabling them to do more in the game world.

The pleasure of new-found capability in the digital world will feed back to greater success in the real world as the player realizes that they are capable of achieving more than they previously imagined.

There is something much simpler than all of this that informed Sambiglyon of the potential success of ‘My Father’s Face’ though … observing the sheer boundless joy of young elementary-age relatives as the squirrel man responds to their hand-waving in front of the camera, and fighting to have a turn with it!

Fleet Goldenberg is the co-founder of Sambiglyon (, a non-profit developer of learning content.

The images in this article represent a work in progress and do not reflect the final quality.

View samples of Intel RealSense April 2015 Avatar Demos at: Avatar Mouth and Lip Control Avatar Dual Arm and Leg Control Avatar Arm and Leg Control v.. 2 Avatar arm side-swinging with motion camera



Virtual Education Journal

Collaboration on Mobile Devices of Past, Present, and Future

The secret to creating


By William Schmachtenberg (rl) Dae Miami (sl)

software is to use RPCs.


suggest verbal and written collabora-

to $45, a real bargain, and is available

for Remote Proce-

tion and problem solving skills as being


important. With this emphasis on col-

en/#!/content/33155. Most importantly,


laboration, it is surprising that most of

you can easily customize the interface as

send commands to

our assessments called SOL tests involve

much as you want for your project.

dure all

This Calls.



nected on a server.

herding students into computer labs like cattle, and forcing them to work on their

In the Fall of 2014, my students entered

own in cubicles to take multiple choice

a state wide software development com-


petition called the VSTE STIC (Virginia Society of Technology in Education Stu-

I thought perhaps that developing better

dent Technology Integration Challenge).

activities was too difficult or too expen-

The students worked on a team, and I

sive. Kevin Tweedy, CEO of Extremality

set a further goal of asking them to come

has assured me that this is simply not the

up with an alternative to traditional SOL

case. He has developed a software devel-

tests that focused on collaboration. In ad-

opment kit (SDK) that allows developers

dition, to being able to work together as

Last Summer, I worked with Marianne

to make Unity 3D based sims multiplayer

a team, Kevin Tweedy allowed us to use

Hellberg, a teacher in Sweden, to devel-

with chat, avatar functionality, and the

his SDK for the project, and I trained my

op an app called 3D Forest Explorer, and

ability to work together.

students in how to use it as Kevin had

Past Collaborative Projects

launched it on the Apple App Store . I de-

taught me.

scribed in that article the issues we faced

Several years ago, I paid $100 for his SDK

and the advantages to collaboration in a

and another $100 to get trained to use it.

Collaborations between businesses and

VEJ article. Since then, I have given more

The first version took some time to learn

schools such as this are crucial for stu-

thought to how to get students to col-

and required asset bundles which meant

dent success. The students began by

laborate in the classroom.

purchasing the Pro version of Unity 3D.

creating a landscape in Unity with moun-

Since then Kevin has significantly im-

tains and valleys. They then created 10

Virginiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s computer technology stand-

proved his SDK. It currently works with

boulders and placed them around the

ards encourage collaboration verbally

the free version of Unity 3D, and is much

landscape. They created 10 multiple

presumably through tools like Skype,

easier to use. Typically, I can put it in a

choice questions that were triggered by

through writing with Google docs, and

Unity sim in about 15 mins. There are

regions around the boulders. Then they

through participation in virtual world

also many Mechanim avatars that can be

put the SDK in the simulation. So, as the

projects. The ISTE NET standards similarly

added to the SDK. The price has dropped

avatar entered the region, the question

Virtual Education Journal

would appear. Unlike traditional SOL test-

The secret to creating collaborative soft-

The point is that RPCs can do a lot more

ing, when one student triggered a ques-

ware is to use RPCs or Remote procedure

than just sending text around a server.

tion, that question appeared on all the

calls. This code is well known to IT pro-

Kevin Tweedy tried to show me how to

screens of the students that were in the

fessionals, but rarely discussed in educa-

write this software into my programs, but

simulation. Students could discuss the

tional circles. We typically use them and

to be honest, I had trouble following him.

question in chat, but each student had

don’t even know it. For example, when

What I found out by accident is that RPCs

to answer individually. Students had to

you type comments into the local chat

are automatically created with trigger re-

evaluate the information in the chat as to

box in second life, you are using RPCs to

gions in Unity 3D!

how accurate it was.

share that text with other avatars around you.

If you want to try Geology Valley for yourself, it is available on my website at: Just click on the student showcase and VSTE STIC 2014 links. My students came in first place for best new high school software at the VSTE conference in Virginia Beach. Rob Furman, one of the keynote speakers at the conference saw it, and said it was “cutting edge.” He included a screen capture of it in his keynote!

Present Collaborative Projects

Geology Valley created by my students in the Fall of 2014

Unity 3D allows us to create collaborative software for many platforms. If you have a sim with complicated 3D models and many polygons, beautifully rendered with high resolution textures, you will likely be limited to pc and mac executable programs that have to be loaded onto a hard drive. If the graphics are not as demanding, you can run the simulation on a website.

In the past, Unity 3D allowed such programs to be run with a webplayer browser.

Questions were shared among all avatars on the server, and students could discuss the questions in chat.

An easier solution was provided in Unity 3D version 5 in which these programs ran with WebGL and did not require a plug in.



Virtual Education Journal

One Christmas ago, my son and I played a

the player is shown with a red arrow on

card with information on the geology and

multiplayer racing game on iPad2s. I won-

a map, and the location of the fossils are

age of the specimen. Additional activities

dered if I could create similar multiplayer

shown as blue boxes. As a fossil is found,

are planned such as allowing the players

games using Unity 3D. Kevin Tweedy as-

the blue box showing its location is re-

to plot the fossils on a map or geologic

sured me that such sims were possible

moved from the map. Players get a fossil

time scale.

with his SDK. For two years, we struggled with technical difficulties to create multiplayer unity sims for mobile devices with no luck. Finally, this past Spring, we were successful!

I immediately put his SDK into 3D Fossil Adventure 2 that was already on the Apple App Store. The new app was called 3D Fossil Adventure 3, and was released on memorial day of this year. In this program, the players load the app, enter a login name, and select one of five avatars using the character button. They are then transported to a recreation of Route

You can look for fossils with friends in 3D Fossil Adventure 3 on the Apple App Store.

311 in Virginia. This route has some of the richest fossil beds in my state. Note the number in the upper portion of the screen in the app. This is called the room number. If you give this number to other friends, they can join you using the room button in the app. Otherwise, all avatars are in a separate room, and cannot see each other.

Above each avatar is the name with which they used to log into the app. Each player looks for fossils in the app. When a fossil is found, RPCs are used to share the appearance of the fossil and other information. Each player can then select that fossil for their inventory. To help you find the fossils, an in-game GPS system is used. The location and orientation of

One of the players in the room finds a fossil. That fossil is immediately shared with other players in the room.

Virtual Education Journal

and other social media sites.

I met with a college student from Russia today on second life. She was very interested in my software and apps that I have developed. The main comment she noted was that she wished for more collaborative software. As a product of the cold war era, I found it refreshing and ironic that a citizen of Russia wanted to work with me to improve education!

To help find fossils, an in-game GPS system shows the location of the player and the fossils.

I hope to add the SDK to other simulations such as the one I have called 3D

Future Collaborative Projects

rights to use any of the 5,000 fossil spec-

Algebra Island on the Apple App Store or

imens in the museum in the app. These

3D Mineral.

Since the topic was collaboration, I am

specimens are not on display and are

happy to announce that I will be working

rarely accessible to the public. He also

If you have ideas for collaborative

with the Virginia Museum of Natural His-

granted me access to high-end photogra-

projects, feel free to email me at:

tory to improve my 3D Fossil Adventure 3

phy equipment and to the curators and or IM me

app. Last week, I met with Joe Keiper, the

other staff at the museum. The museum

at Dae Miami on sl. After all the idea be-

director of the museum, who granted me

will promote the app on their website

hind collaborative projects is to work together.



Virtual Education Journal

ISTE Games and Simulations Excellence Award ISTE’s Games and Simulations Network is proud to announce the 2016 Excellence Award Winner and finalists. The ISTE Games and Simulations Network Excellence Award Winner is Sherry Jones, a national leader for game based learning who has developed a philosophical approach for analyzing games and for exploring the meaning of play. Sherry Jones is a Philosophy Instructor, and the Game Design & Psychology Subject Matter Expert for Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, RMCAD, in Colorado. Sherry elevates games, the use of games for teaching and learning and all of us in the network. As a facilitator and contributor for the Metagame Book Club , writer and game designer (she designed “The Perspective Game”) who champions the deeper learning that is possible in games and simulations, she applies a critical eye and academic rigor to her teaching and also the professional development she shares with us. Sherry is a consistent contributor to the Games and Simulation Network, appearing on live streamed events, forums, live events and social media. We can trust that any information she shares with us is accurate, original and attributed. Sherry has a wicked sense of humor, loves horror games and has introduced us to the art of interactive fiction. In 2015 Sherry Jones was named the 2015 Educator of the Year by eLCC. We look forward to Sherry’s Keynote address at the 2016 EduMachinima Fest at the ISTE Conference.

Virtual Education Journal

The ISTE’s Games and Simulation Network has 2 runners up for the Excellence Award. Stephen Corcoran, Director of Digital Learning, has collaboratively worked in a joint partnership with Edith Cowan University to successfully develop an engaging and rich online learning experience that enhances mathematical learning within a traditional challenging and online resource on the topic of fractions. The group successfully developed a single player series of mini games with an underlying adaptive analytical engine. Fractions concepts were used as core elements to design three computer games. In each game the concepts were presented in the form of tangible puzzles, rather than abstract math problems, set at a difficulty based on student capability. The games were integrated into a single game world as individual locations in that world and a story was used to help build a compelling experience. A research study at St Stephen’s School was used to evaluate the game over four weeks, resulting in significant findings in the area of teaching fractions.

Ken Willers is a 21st Century Principal at the School of the Madeleine in Berkley, California, who believes creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration occur while students are engaged in gaming and simulations. Over the last 6 years Ken has found innovative ways to partner with EdTech start-ups and companies to bring emerging gaming technologies into the actual learning experiences of our students. Ken’s belief is that as students use, beta-test, pilot and partner with gaming developers around their products, they are not only learning by gaming, but they are actually providing vital feedback to developers that impacts the final product. Ken sees this ‘real-life’ learning opportunity as a direct result integrating gaming and simulations into our 21st Century Learning philosophy. Ken is proud of the fact that these partnerships have crossed gender and grade level barriers.



Virtual Education Journal

A Retrospective Vision Regarding the AW3DU Approach to Virtual Learning Environments By Gord Holden

Greetings friends. There was some agony around the selection

SAFETY – In setting up our program, the first concern for us and

of a title that would encapsulate the theme of this particular VEJ

for our parents is student safety. To this end we chose AW3DU

issue. I settled on what might seem to be somewhat oxymoronic


to many but, to those familiar with our Immersive Technology (IMT) Program at Heritage Christian Online School (HCOS), it fits.

Only those with accounts can get into our universe;

HCOS is one of only a few schools currently using an Active

Access to individual worlds can also be managed by ac-

Worlds (AW) platform for education. Others include Wilostar3d


and the ongoing work of Sharon Bowers’ with the Virginia Beach City School District and the National Institute of Aerospace. In

All test chat can be monitored, and is recorded and saved;

All VoIP can be recorded by anyone;

We control the content available. There is no adult content

addition to using AW, these programs have a couple other things in common. They are successful and thriving. How is this possible when the 3D virtual platform they are using is over 20 years old?

in the media used, or in the actions that can be taken by the To my mind, one cannot begin any discussion of the AW platform

default avatars, all of which are modestly dressed.

in an educational context without acknowledging the phenomenally successful “Quest Atlantis” (QA), developed by Dr. Sasha

In essence, we provide a swimming pool where our grade 5-8

Barab and nurtured by Dr. Bron Stuckey. It was a brilliant com-

students learn how to use the internet responsibly and judi-

bination for those things that make for both good gaming and

ciously. Parents like and appreciate this.

a good education. It had the backstory, the economy, the levelling up, and the sense of community. It also had learning that

FLEXIBILITY – Due to the relatively low cost of various worlds,

was authentic, contextual, relevant, and challenging. Where is

we have been able to lease 17 AW3DU themed worlds, while

this now you ask? It was where many of us in this field got our

having access to 33 more “general” worlds. Our P50 worlds of

start, and what many of us would still be using, but it was aban-

HCFrench and HCSpanish ($600/yr. each) house entire cities and

doned for the siren call of the better graphics and animations

suburbs with everything that you can imagine in them. French/

allowed by a newer platform. The funding for QA was redirected

Spanish students even have their own individual house to care

to a revision in the Unity3D platform. The result was graphically

for, and access to a building school. These two worlds are each

stunning, and very educationally sound, but lacking the unifying

1000 m. x 1000m in size, taking more than 6 minutes to walk

backstory and community of learners. This new “improved” ver-

briskly across. One of our P30 worlds (Musgamagw) is only a

sion therefore languishes, leaving us with a cautionary tale. In

third the size of a P50. It costs $300/yr. but provides:

our quest for more, sometimes that more doesn’t serve us well!

Virtual Education Journal

360,000 m2 of land where we can build up to 600m above

complete with very affirming testimonials by a couple of the

and 600m below;

students. At the end you’ll see that my avatar does have some significantly cool dance moves.

Enough space for 10 classrooms, a conference centre (for 130), a stadium (for 200), a teleport centre, an admin cen-

Another issue is the learning curve. It’s low. Student time is not

tre with various meeting rooms, and a History/Science Fair

eaten up learning how to operate in AW3DU. New students are


completely capable of:

Access (the way we’ve set it up) for 1000+ staff and students

Navigating through the toolbars and icons provided;

Building & accessorizing their avatars within 10 minutes,

attending various activities in this world simultaneously.

Here’s a picture of our latest staff meeting where we had approximately 170 teachers participating. This arena has seating for the 200 (within view) participant limit we’ve elected to go with. On the surrounding grounds are a variety of four breakout rooms, each with their own VoIP. Every participant has access to controls to zoom in on the podium. Every presenter has access to powerful media tools to show videos, slideshows, and picture in a variety of ways. saving as many as they want; and

Building incredible projects after a

15 minute tutorial. qHHz3URE9Uo

DEVICE ACCESSIBILITY – The frugal structure of this “ancient” (but constantly upgraded) technology, AW3DU turns out to be a blessing. Not only is it capable of running on older PCs and Macs, but Pictured here is the grad ceremony for 5 of our 13 classes. (Cer-

there’s no need to purchase a graphics card. It will even run on

emonies were split up only in the interest of time not size.) I’d

low-end tablets and Windows phones. If one wants to integrate

invite you to click on the picture to bring up the greatly abridged

VR into AW3DU it comes as cheaply as purchasing a Google-

video (4 min.) Click HERE for the complete ceremony (50 min.),



Virtual Education Journal


And so, the “retro” in retrospective is reminiscent to me of the

this outside of our own school as well, as we clearly have

story about NASA spending a lot of money to develop a pen that

something that works much better for many students than

would write in space, while the Russians simply used pencils

more expensive alternatives like Rosetta Stone. We see this

and spent their research money on something more practical.

as a huge area of growth.

While some would argue that other platforms have more power, I would argue that they also present more challenges. While

Our provincial government and other Reconciliation Initia-

others will readily embrace another platform because it’s more

tive stakeholders are negotiating with us to do recreations of

popular and engaging, I would ask if the countless hours spent

the traditional territories of up to 80 different First Nations

in that resource is the most productive use of a student’s time. In

peoples and equip them so that these virtual environments

AW3DU we have (re)discovered a practical and efficient platform

have traditional meeting places, schools, and stores. They

that does everything we need, and doesn’t do what we don’t

want to embed their language and culture in these builds so


despite being scattered, these unique peoples can come together once again and embrace their heritage. If successful, I see this becoming a global project for aboriginal peoples.

I contin-

ue to make fortuitous contacts with people who have the


and experience to help us find a way to



children in counOur IMT program at HCOS began 5 years ago with 8 students and

tries where going to school is not safe. This is particularly

has doubled in each subsequent year. In year 6 we’re on target to

true of course for the girls in many countries. Our long term

have over 200 different students taking 1000+ course offerings

goal is to meet that need through IMT.

while primarily in our virtual learning environments. • What is our vision for the future?

We continue to get enquiries from colleges and universities about helping them to extend their DL programs without the costly overhead of brick & mortar overhead. I believe

Our Languages program (French) was so popular last year

we’re getting closer to forming some partnerships in this

that we have expanded to offering Spanish as well. We hope

area as well.

to add ESL & German next year. We are beginning to offer

Virtual Education Journal

My department now has a staff of 12, but I’m looking to expand

ing, movie industry (CGI), and the gaming industry. We are just

that over the next few years. It’s likely that we’ll continue to use

scratching the surface of where we believe we can go with this.

AW3DU up to grade 9, but then switch over to teaching students

The pieces of the puzzle continue to fall into place, and I’m won-

how to build commercially in Unity3D. We also want to ensure

dering if one of those pieces is you?

that our students graduate with the skills for careers in teach-

Contact Gord Holden at

Phone: 1-250-334-3676

Additional Resources IMT Brochure 2016-17 IMT Brochure 2017

Be Sure To…

JOIN THE FUN! ISTE Social Night at House @ Blues the first Tuesday of Every Month! Join House @Blues group in SL for announcements of upcoming events! Hope to see you there!



Virtual Education Journal

ISTE Games & Sims and Virtual Environments Playground Tuesday, June 28, 2:00–5:30 pm CCC Concourse E; Playground B

Link to document Games & Sims Playground Description (pictured left: Core Volunteers following the Games & Sims and VEN Playground in Philadelphia, PA, ISTE 2015)

The Games & Simulations and Virtual Environments Networks will provide a scaffolded experience for participants to experiment, play and learn how games and virtual environments are part of the Maker Movement. The focus will be on escape rooms, ARGs, game jams and building in Minecraft and virtual environments. This playground is a place where games and virtual environments meet the maker movement, ISTE Standards, and the Common Core! If you are using these environments in or out of the classroom, please come tell us your story! Livestream over Periscope Scott Merrick @scottmerrick All times are MDT--local in Denver, Colorado 2:00 - 3:00: Lyr Lobo (Cynthia Calongne) GSN & VEN Playground Kickoff Keynote. Cynthia Calongne, aka Lyr Lobo, joined CTU’s Computer Science Doctoral department in 1996, and prior to it, was a software engineer for 13 years for AF Space Command and for an environmental organization. She has hosted 125+ keynote addresses, research paper presentations and workshops. Her team won the $25,000 Grand Prize in the Federal Virtual World Challenge for the Mars Expedition Strategy Challenge, a space simulation, and in 2005, she completed an artificial intelligence grant for the National Science Foundation. Her research began in 1995 when she evaluated a user interface paradigm for using virtual environments on a personal computer. 3:00 - 3:30: Explore! Google Expeditions-Want to learn about the next generation of Simulations in education? Google’s own, Lyman Missimer will give us a guided tour using Google cardboard with Google Expeditions. Devices will be available for participants to try. 3:30 - 4:00: Game Jams (“The Global Game Jam® (GGJ) is the world's largest game jam event (game creation) taking place around the world at physical locations. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development.”) with Erica Liszewski 4:00 - 4:30: ‘Bitcoin, Blockchains, and the Future of Education’ Doug Levin leads a demo and discussion on the implications of cryptocurrency for privacy and identity management, badging/credentialing, and learner agency.

Virtual Education Journal

4:30 - 5:00: Bernhard Drax (Draxtor Despres) Closing Keynote in Second Life, live from Germany and Streaming in YouTube: Bernhard Drax is an award-winning filmmaker, musician & former radio news guy, originally from Munich, Germany.

5:00 - 5:30: VEN Annual Meeting --Virtual Pioneer of the Year Award Tables VEN 1 Past: VEJ- Chronicling our Past --- Engaging our Future Rosie Vojtek and Bob Vojtek are the creators, editors, designers, and publishers of what we are proud to call our “body of work.” Speak with them and learn about their Virtual Education Journal , how you can subscribe to receive updates as they hit the digital printing presses and how you can write for VEJ. VEN 2 Present: Current VEN (Virtual Environment Network) Activities VEN shares events 4 Tuesdays a month in Second Life, AvaCon grid, and wherever else learning is happening! Speak with Scott Merrick and Andrew Wheelock and see examples of the VEN Writers Group, VEN Focus Sessions, Machinima Night, and OOH (Open Office Hours). Andy and Scott will help you set up your avatar/account(s) should you want/need that help. Learn about the VEN Mentor Network and how you can make your own connections! See the VEN Weebly for preview and postview. VEN 3 Future: VR Possibilities Mary Howard VEN is enthusiastic about the future possibilities of Virtual Environments...especially educational implications! This display will focus on three categories of transition that are expected in education with Virtual Environments. #1. Virtual Tours becoming Immersive tours; an evaluation of how ‘goggle on’ technology such as Cardboard and Occulus Rift will have an impact on virtual environments. Grab a FREEBIE PRINTABLE lesson plan of this cutting edge technology at our display table. Take a peek at the possibilities of 360 degree immersive experiences through SL. #2. Instructional Technology becoming Immersive Technology. Witness how educators are beginning to use Virtual Environments as hands on platforms for Art and Architectural experiences. See student work in virtual environments aligned to Common Core standards. Help yourself to a model lesson, aligned with standards for integration into the Middle School classroom. #3. Maker Spaces becoming Immersive Spaces. Consider the possibilities of transitioning the awesome and dynamic trend of Maker Spaces into Immersive Experiences that involve coding, construction and limitless hands-on opportunities that are BUDGET FRIENDLY! Walk away with a thorough description of conception developed into practice. See examples of student virtual maker creations that will AMAZE you! Mary Howard Twitter: @mrshoward118 SL: mrshoward118

GSN 1 Past: Martian Madness/Minecraft what can you create? (Metagame Book Club) The #Metagame Book Club this Spring read and watched the Martian and looked at using a Making mindset. Can you use the book and the theme to teach science and math - absolutely! You can take it even further than that and add making in your STEM classroom. After all the Martian didn’t just do “naked math”, it was always about figuring out a problem and making the solution to that problem. Come talk to educators who have found ways to bring the making mindset into the classroom and even make it into an ARG (Alternate Reality Game)



Virtual Education Journal

Link to Martian Madness Metagame page Link to Google Hangout Discussion Link to Martian Madness Slides Kae Novak @kzenovka Bob Smith Shushila Heath

Laurel Thurman @LaurenThurman Lori Weedo Lori Weedo @lweedo

GSN 2 Present: Game Jam / Escape Rooms/Hackathons What to know what a game jam, escape room or a hackathon is? Even better do you want to run one of these Maker, Gamer or Hacker events? Come talk to the educators who are doing these. Hackathon slides Escape Room information Erica Liszewski @BlueAppaloosa Chris Luchs @center4edupunx Sherry Jones @autnes GSN 3 Future: Girls and Coding / Bridging worlds & game designs Cynthia Calongne (Lyr Lobo) @lyrlobo Linda Hammons Kate Hagerty@leedaleshepherd

EDUMachinima Fest 2016 Tuesday, June 28, 5:45â&#x20AC;&#x201C;6:45 pm Room CCC109 5:45 to 5:55 Introductions and Open Remarks Bob Smith (student) with Andrew Wheelock 5:55 to 6:15 pm Sherry Jones Keynote

Virtual Education Journal

6:15pm to 6:30pm - Remembering Matt Poole Andrew speaks briefly about our lost colleague Matt Poole and introduces Roxie to give a tribute to Matt Poole. Roxie speaks and introduces tribute video of Matt’s contributions to virtual Environments, engaged online learning and machinima. Video on Matt Poole (4 ½ minutes). Let’s watch (total length 4:43) 6:30pm to 6:45pm - Machinima Showcase Machinima Showcase Andrew introduces the Machinima. Chris has them ready to show 3 mins each. 1. The first machinima in our showcase is titled Invent-It: Open Sim Student Inventions and was submitted by Mrs. Mary Howard. This Machinima was created by students in Mrs. Howard’s 6th grade class. Celia , Edward, Ryan, Ashley, Joshua, Eleah, Elaina, Grace, Gia, and Hannah. In this Machinima you can see how the students literally attempted to Make the Future! They imagined, designed and then constructed futuristic machines designed to solve a myriad of problems faced by society. As you see their solutions, you'll see future inventors, engineers and designers. It was created in Open Sim. Let’s watch some of this, the total length of the video is 6minutes and 34 seconds so you can watch the entire thing at your leisure. All the Url’s will be posted on the EduMachinima site. (total Length 6:34) 2. Our next machinima was a creation by Ross Dorfman, Bayley Schaefer, Joseph Royster, Jacob Meyer from North Carolina. It is titled The Infinite Loop and was created in Minecraft. This takes place in a future world where everyone lives in connecting biomes.The students ranged in age from 5-10 and worked together to bring you their original story. Let’s watch some of this 13 minute video. (total length 13:44) 3. The Rise of Zenix is another Minecraft machinima created by Robert Burdsall, Carter Hall, Ben Ziegler and submitted by their instructor Mrs. Patricia Cloud. It takes place in the future and past showing us some time travel. Let’s watch. (total length 1:31)

4. Finally we have a teacher submission. This machinima shows a poster area created for the VWPBE conference that has always focused on exploring future uses of virtual environments. Narration is by Mary Howard, Music by



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Kevin Macleod, and created by Andrew Wheelock. Let’s watch ISTE VEN Poster Exhibit for VWBPE (total length 4:14)

6:45 pm - 6:55 pm Closing Remarks Bob Smith (student) with Andrew Wheelock

PLAY ALONG, LET’S HAVE SOME FUN! Make Me A Verse! Recently Scott Merrick challenged himself to write a song for VEN, which he calls, “ISTE VEN ‘YOU’”. Since sharing this with some of his friends on VOXER, he and Mary Howard, have been challenged to sing a duet at the VEN Birds of a Feather Meeting on Tuesday June 28, 2016 in Denver (see details above). So, Scott is asking for comments about his song and for input. Specifically, Scott writes, "Please comment - which version you think we should release with more instrument tracks and harmonies? And, if you want your own verse, follow the rhyme and meter and send it to Scott at with the subject line "Make me a verse!" You can find his original song in three versions. Let Scott know which version you like best! Then, even more importantly, write him a verse. Scott will then select his favorite verses to share with us at the Birds of a Feather meeting. Link: Let’s MAKE SOME NOISE and have some FUN!!!!! BRING IT ON, SCOTT!!!!!

Virtual Education Journal



Virtual Education Journal

Pokeman + Ingress = Pokeman Go! The Evolution of A Trading Card Game to Augmented Reality By Tanya Martin

You may remember the Pokeman Trading

In 2010 Niantic Labs, an internal startup

identified by early players of the game

card game, back in the late 90’s and early

at Google, worked on augmented reality

and are sites of cultural significance in

2000. There was both a collectable as-

mobile games and in 2012 released In-

the community. There are two sides to

pect to the game and a competitive one.

gress. The game is also referred to as The

pick from and a narrative that accompa-

Collecting them was akin to collecting

Niantic Project. Ingress is an augmented

nies the game. Players collect gear, level

baseball cards, each character had skills

reality game played on an Android or IOS

up and ultimately need collaborators to

and talents listed on the card and some

device. It requires that the player “cap-

get ahead in the game. Real world events

even sparkled. These same cards were

ture”, and maintain portals in the com-

are held that progress the game and the

used to “battle” an opponent based on

munity for their side. Portals have been


the skills of the characters. Several video games based on Pokeman trading cards were released around 2000.

The player screen appears on the mobile device and tapping buttons will activate an action. In this screen the Welcome to Fort Lauderdale sign is owned by the Enlightened team, indicated in Green. The player screen appears on the mobile device and tapping buttons will activate an action. In this screen the Welcome to Fort Lauderdale sign is owned by the Enlightened team, indicated in Green.

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PokĂŠmon GO was developed by Niantic and The PokĂŠmon Company. One of the 2016 Superbowl Ads featured Pokeman Go! The augmented reality game will be

The mobile device screen will work in conjunction with the wearable device to indicate where in your neighborhood the Pokemon are located.

released sometime in 2016. The game combines the Niantic game engine and Ingress mechanic combining the use of mobile device and a Bluetooth wearable device that alerts players of the presence of a virtual Pokemon to ultimately battle, train, and trade. The game is currently out in Beta for field testing. Ingress players have been invited to register for possible inclusion in the beta test and a site is open to anyone wishing to apply at

As Gamebased learning and virtual and augmented reality are becoming more the norm, the implications for education are fascinating. The entertainment industry is likely to have an impact on how we teach and learn.



Virtual Education Journal

Planning, Organizing, Managing and Loving Every Minute of the SLMOOC Series By Nan Zingrone, Nellie Deutsch, and Doris Molero


is then updated on the Moodle and in the “physical” syllabus in the SLMOOC Headquarters.

Late in 2013, Dr. Nellie Deutsch (Nellie Homewood in Second Life), a passionate teacher of English and online technology, got

Nellie and Nan create marketing videos and tutorials and Doris

a big idea. Nellie is an evangelist for online education and tech-

updates and expands the Facebook Group Second Life MOOC

nology in education in general, and for free online courses and

with information about the course, its theme and goals, creating

conferences in particular. So she wanted to develop a free multi-

other sources of information as well. Doris also encourages par-

platform professional development course that would introduce

ticipants and presenters to contribute to the Facebook page by

education in virtual worlds to teachers who are either unaware

uploading photos, links, announcements and posts. Finally the

or wary of the resource. Dr. Doris Molero (Pionia Destiny), then

inworld syllabus is added to the SLMOOC building by construct-

a professor of education in Venezuela, saw the value in Nellie’s

ing informational wall and teleport boards and notecard givers.

big idea and so did Dr. Nan Zingrone (Maggie Larimore). Doris

Furniture, food, and drink is also added to make the SLMOOC HQ

is well-known in many EFL teaching and learning networks, and

more welcoming.

Nan’s online teaching education started with Nellie. Doris knew everybody and Nan had taken over the management of the Chil-

Second Life Headquarters

bo Education Village in SL and was setting up Nellie’s Integrating-Technology building there. We were good to go.

The SLMOOC HQ becomes the inworld course information hub. Doris constructed the wall boards in 2014, and Nan took over in


2015 and 2016. When participants click on a wall board for any presentation, a folder appears in their inventory with a notecard

Over the past three years, the organization of each SLMOOC has

that carries the relevant info including the presentation’s SLURL

followed a very systematic process. It starts with a Google drive

or URL. A landmark is also included in the folder. When addition-

doc for the syllabus followed by a doc for the live presentations.

al materials are uploaded to the Moodle or the Facebook group,

Recruited experts can choose a date and sign up. Once the list

that’s added to the SLMOOC HQ as well.

of presenters gets going, a biographical PowerPoint on a Google drive is created and presenters are invited to add a slide. Next, live sessions are scheduled on the social media teaching platform (webinars), in Second Life, or on other virtual worlds and webinar systems if the presenters prefer. Everything

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First meeting of the SLMOOC14 in the HQ

Maggie chilling before SLMOOC15



Virtual Education Journal

Pionia and Maggie on their Virtual Cell Phones on First Day of SLMOOC16


after the course ends. We want the SLMOOC to encourage positive attitudes toward personal and professional development in

We believe that a MOOC needs to be multi-platform, free, and


open to anyone who is interested. We also believe that the quality of a MOOC is directly proportional to the time spent prepar-

The Moodle for Teachers Moodle website was chosen because

ing, supporting the participantsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; learning before, during, and

the platform allows for unlimited numbers of participants, and

Virtual Education Journal

for the creation of badges and certificates that are awarded

learning and sharing among participants.

when required tasks are complete. In addition to containing all the course info as the Google docs and the SLMOOC HQ, the


Moodle includes discussion forums, some with specific reflection questions for the badges, some for sharing, and some for

Like Moodle, WizIQ offers a stable online environment for we-

course support.

binars and integrates readily with Moodle. With over 16,000 followers, Nellie is able to market the SLMOOC to a wide, inter-

Finally, the Moodle provides a way for individuals who haven’t

national group of teachers and learners on the WizIQ platform.

gotten the necessary technology to experience virtual worlds

Having this third “wing” to the course also allows participants

first hand to participate in and complete the course. This aspect

to make free accounts and click through to the webinar-based

not only extends the reach of the course, but also the depth of

presentations in real-time instead of waiting for the recordings to be uploaded.


The Facebook group, Second Life MOOC, is an extremely important part of the course as well. Like Moodle and WizIQ it allows individuals who can’t come into Second Life to engage with the activities of the course. Thanks to Doris’ constant care the Facebook group not only alerts learners to the schedule but also

Nellie Homewood and Pionia Destiny and Students at the Learn It Town Presentation in 2016

gives out all the relevant links. It also provides a great repository for course photos and videos created by the participants, presenters and the three of us. The sense of community is elevated to wonderful level by Doris’ management of the Facebook group: Even those who only follow the Facebook group felt very much a part of the proceedings.

The Presenters

In 2014 we enjoyed presentations by Martha Eugenia Lino (Eugenia Calderon), Liz Falconer (Tamara Kuhn), Saeeid Dastmalchian (SaeeidD), Andy Wheelock (Spiff Whitfield), Neila Miller (Marly Milena), Lynne Berrett (Wisdomseeker Lissena), Jacob Glazer (Erebius Loxely), Tim Beck (Diogenes), Jay Jay Jegesethan (Jay Jay Zifanwe), Scott Merrick and friends, Sharon Collingwood

At Dr. Becky Adam’s (Elli Pinion) presentation for University of New Mexico in 2016

(Ellie Brewester), Matt Poole (Cyrus Hush), Amparo Cervantes A. (Amparo Devalle), Max Ugaz (Maximo Eames), María Sol Cordovez (Losairam Pelliot), Juan Jose Greco (Luto Noyes), Helen



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Myers (Karelia Kondor), Heiki Philp (Gwen Gwasi), Edith Paillat

About half of the presentations were in Spanish and included

(Cybele Placebo), Vicki Robinson (Oddprofessor Snoodle), La Fa-

a tour of the La Familia Gomez set and a lecture on the Second

milia Gomez (Alfonso Garavito Olivar, aka Alfonso Perfelle; Inés

Life campus of the Universidad San Martin de Porres (Chile). Par-

Rodriguez aka Ines Diglione; Juani Ruiz aka Tuajana; and María

ticipants visited ISTE Island and Virtual Pioneers, the University

Sol Cordovez aka Losairam Pelliot), Lauren Thurman (Laural Mc-

of the West of England’s campus, and enjoyed two visits to the

Callan), Lori Weedo (Lori Galli), David Deeds (Deeds David), Kip

Instituto Español, to hear the same talk one in English and once

Boahn (Kip Yellowjacket), Agile Bill Krebs (AgileBill Firehawk) and

in Spanish. Tom Hodgers (Tom Atuto Mate), an language and cul-

Schmoo Snook. Doris and Nan also presented.

ture educator, helped facilitate the course. It was a rich, exciting course and over too soon.

Upper right, David Deeds and Nellie Homewood before the presentation; upper left Amparo Cerventes A. taking questions, lower left, Cybele Placebo’s group getting settled, and lower right, Vicki Robinson sharing her sky box of physics experiments.

In 2015 Doris was unable to serve as an organizer so Tom Hodg-

Andy Wheelock, Scott Merrick, Aaron Griffiths (Isa Goodman),

ers joined the team along with Kip Boahn of Virtlantis. The pre-

Martha Lino Acosta, and Vasili Gianoutsis (Bluebarker Lowtide).

senters were Lee Graham, Kip Boahn, Lynne Berrett, RoseAnne

Nan also presented.

and Bob Vojtek (Roxie Neiro and B. J. Gearbox), AgileBill Krebs,

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From upper left to lower right, Eugenia Calderon presenting in her new school in Central Chilbo, Spanish with Eugenia, Roxie and B.J. presenting on the Virtual Education Journal, Aaron Griffiths giving us a tour of his holodeck installation, and a meditation experience on Inspiration Island during the tour day organized by Lynne Berrett.

In SLMOOC16, Doris returned as an organizer. She and Nellie re-

and Digiworldz.

cruited widely. Most presentations were live in Second Life but participants also traveled to Kitely via a screenshare, Lord of the

The presenters were Valerie Hill (Valibrarian Gregg), Scott Mer-

Rings Online through a video, and visited Minecraft, EdMondo

rick, Andy Wheelock and a host of eminences from ISTE past and



Virtual Education Journal

present, Alice Krueger (Gentle Heron), Heiki Philp and a group

Beth Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connell (Beth Ghostraven), G. Ronnie Kraegel (Namaura

of colleagues including Doris from EVO, Berhard Drax (Drax-

MacMoragh), Vance Stevens and a group of colleagues, Shelwyn

tor Depres), Martha Lino and James T. Abraham (Prof Abraham

Corrigan, Laura Jeffcoat and Ana Gema Gallego Garcia, Meredith

in DigiWorldz), Gina Pickersgill (Nina Lancaster), Renne Emiko

Abarca (Abarcam), Janet Hill (Madelein McMinnar), Helena Galani

Brock-Richmond (Zinnia Zauber), Linda Rogers (Kate Miranda),

(Erlina Azure), Kip Boahn, Christel Schneider (Letty Pienaar), and

Lettizia Cinganotta and Andrea Benassi, John Orlando, Kess Crys-

Scott Anstadt (Ewan Bonham).

tal, Becky Adams (Elli Pinion), Shannon Wildenstein (Donati Fire),

We toured the Community Virtual Library, attended an inspir-

SLMOOC16 playlist before the students started to complete

ing conversation with current and past leaders of ISTE, listed to

their reflections for the certificates. The SLMOOC15 playlist is

Gentle Heron detail the importance of Virtual Ability, listened to

here and the SLMOOC14 playlist is here.

Drax Depresâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; on favorite machinima, visited Spanish language teaching on Digiworldz and watched Italian teachers teaching

The Future of SLMOOC

English on Edmondo. We also toured an Afro-Latino Foodways museum and were wowed by a stunning ashram tour guided

These are the constants: Participation from amazing teach-

by, literally, an angel (StJohn Noyes). Nan gave two lectures and

ers across the grids involved, enthusiastic participants whose

tours, Doris and Nan ran the inworld discussion forums and,

new eyes on virtual worlds, all of this has inspired us.

for the first time, we got all the presentation videos up on the

Virtual Education Journal

Upper left, Scott Anstadt and StJohn Noyes before the Ashram Tour, upper right, Doris (Pionia) taking a group photo, lower left and right, Letty Pienaar giving her presentation on machinima in teaching and learning. We had a core of teachers who came

tours for our participants. His presence in

back again and again, and many new pre-

the background will be missed.

senters who made more than one presentation, not to mention participated in

We three have also found working to-

many of the course events. Although Matt

gether to be a joy. We have different

Poole, the incomparable Cyrus Hush, pre-

skills and have divided the labor in a way

pared a video for us in the 2014 MOOC,

that works. So for the future, we say yes,

he wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t able to participate in 2015

there will be a SLMOOC17! Whatever

and 2016. We remember his generosity,

happens we know it will be wonderful!

though, in opening the Expedition Central towers, on VSTE and then in Chilbo, to



Virtual Education Journal

The Dark Portal: Warcraft Past, Present, and Future By: Trish Cloud

For those of us who have seen Warcraft, the movie just released, which tells of the beginnings of the World of Warcraft story, many might be wondering what was that huge portal the Orcs came through? Where did it come from? And what does it mean? Well the Dark Portal has been around for some time, for players of the game, you go through the Dark Portal for the first time at level 60 to quest and run dungeons. Then again at level 90 you go through the Dark Portal again, but this time you go back in time to the time before the Orcs ever came through the Dark Portal. For those of us who enjoy studying the lore of the game all of this can be quite confusing and hard to keep our timelines straight. Now, Legion, the new expansion, is coming out August 30, 2016 and once again the timeline is going to be altered. So, I think we are going from the past back to the present which is really the future? Who knows? But letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s look at how we got here so you might understand the movie and the game a bit better. This story starts in a novel called Rise of the Horde (written by Christie Golden). In this novel we are introduced to the namesakes of many of the legendary Orcs that towns and areas are named after in Kalimdor, the continent the Horde primarily controls in the game, including names such as, Grommash Hellscream, Ogrim Doomhammer, and Durtotan. These are names of the legendary Orcs that are held in reverence. The entire area that the Orc capital city resides

Virtual Education Journal

in is Durotar, the capital city is Orgimmar, and the main governmental building is Grommash Hold. All of these names are given faces in the Rise of the Horde. We see they live in a land filled

with wildlife and hunting. Tribes that get along, not only with each other but with nature and their shamans, keep that connection going. They live in harmony with a group of foreigners (aliens) that also reside in Draenor. The Eredar, or as they are called since landing there, the



Virtual Education Journal

Draeni. Unfortunately Ner’zhul, the head shaman, starts listening to some strange voices and begins tampering with fel magic. This is not good. Not good at all. Ner’zhul has an apprentice who is greedier and who is more than willing to completely give into the darkness that wants to control not only him but all the Orcs. His name? Gul’dan. What neither of them realize, however, is that this force taking control of them, is not interested in them as much as using them to destroy the Draeni. And, to do this, whispered lies about the Draeni are told to Ner’Zhul and Gul’Dan to embolden them to stir up the Orcs into invading the Draeni areas and kill them. The Orcs give into this and attack the Draeni and almost eradicate the entire peoples. Some escape and flee to Azeroth. This sets the dark force to convincing Ner’Zhul and Gul’Dan that the Orcs must build a portal to this land to conquer it. To do this Ner’Zhul and Gul’Dan truly embrace the fel magic that has been “gifted” to them. Fel magic, when used, pulls the life out of everything. So the land that had been verdant for the Orcs and filled with wildlife begins to die off. People begin going hungry. Gul’dan has now replaced Ner’Zhul as head shaman, and he no longer calls himself a shaman. He now refers to himself as a warlock and is part of the Burning Legion. He begins having the Orcs shamans partake of the fel and converts them into warlocks. And, the land continues to die. Gul’Dan then tells the Orcs they have to build a portal to take them to a new land they can conquer and take over. And this is where the movie comes in – where the Orcs leave their devastated world and enter the world of Azeroth. Over the course of several years a war rages between humans and orcs, until finally a band of humans, night elves, and dwarves go through the Dark Portal to close it for good leaving themselves trapped on the other side. Of course, it does not stay shut and the war continues for

control of Outland as well as Azeroth. When we next encounter Outland (formerly Draenor) is not until the end of the Mists of Pandaria expansion and accompanying books. There we learn the son of Grommash Hellscream, Garrosh Hellscream, who has been leader of the Horde, desperate for his Horde to completely dispatch the Alliance, has managed to travel back in time. He is there when the Orcs originally partook of the fel that started them on this path. He intervenes in that timeline and begins the rise of the Iron Horde. The Iron Horde divides, part in legion with Gul’Dan, part fighting Gul’Dan to stop the progress of the fel influenced Horde and Burning Legion. This is where we are now, preparing to go back through the Dark Portal to battle the Burning Legion face-to-face. The Burning Legion is all that is evil in Azeroth, and is more ancient that than the Dark Portal itself. When we are and what will happen will be revealed to all the millions of World of Warcraft players on August 30, 2016.

Virtual Education Journal

Published on June 8, 2016 "My income from my Second Life sales enabled me to raise my son after I was laid off during the recession!" says fashion designer Eboni Khan who started her Hucci brand of virtual female clothing over 10 years ago. "I think SL has helped many single mothers to become independent business owners that way. The barrier of entry is low and - if you are good and work hard - you can immediately build up an international customer base!"

Check out this latest Drax File to hear what a mysterious avatar in RL St. Louis, virtual shoes, and getting a kid through college have in common. watch?v=zjtleEo2FX0 Enjoy and share and leave a nice comment!


Virtual Education Journal


ISTE Virtual Environments Network Pioneer of the Year Award This year’s PLN Award goes to Mary O’Brien, oftentimes known as Serena Offcourse (Mary’s Second Life avatar name).

Mary has been an integral part of so many educational

guest speakers for the past 5 years. The Virtual Pio-

endeavors in Virtual Environments, yet she has always

neers are an educational history and culture group

maintained a “behind the scenes” persona. However,

that explore Second Life sims which focus on these

her vast effort and work has not gone unnoticed by the


educational groups that she has put her heart into. •

She has also organized and promoted countless

Some of Mary’s many contributions are listed below. I

social events like our Victorian Gala, 1920’s Beach

think anyone seeing this list will get the sense of Mary’s

Party, Fall Costume Frolic, and more.

amazing body of work and her commitment to redefining education using her powerful influence and talent. •

Mary, with the help of “TechPlex Engineer,” designed and put into place the ISTE Virtual Environments Headquarters building and grid. As of this writing, there have been 11,162 avatar visits to this engaging space.

Mary has been organizing Virtual Pioneer Tours and

Virtual Education Journal

She worked on the Open Sim- Understanding the

ous years helping to plan and host events and de-

Holocaust Project.

sign and build the social areas.

She designed and built the

“Streets of Amsterdam” including a recreation of the Secret Annex detailed in the book, Diary of a

Mary’s unswerving dependability and her calm practi-

Young Girl: Anne Frank.

cality lend powerful energy to each and every one of the educational projects and collaborations which she has supported over the years. She is truly deserving of our ISTE Virtual Environments Network Pioneer of the Year Award. We are so grateful for all of your dedication and hard work. Mary, Serena, we humbly present this award to you in anticipation of your many contributions to learn-

Mary also worked with Kim Prentiss to design and build the castle and surrounding medieval village builds for the Heir of the King Open Sim project.

She has been an integral participant in World of Warcraft educational ventures with the Games and Simulations Groups.

Mary has worked with VSTE to help with projects and educational initiatives.

She created her own learning space in Reaction Grid

This stellar educational thought leader participated in countless Minecraft learning opportunities.

Working with Barbara Seaton, she developed the Machinima space and island areas at the ISTE VEN Avacon Grid.

Serena has organized and hosted numerous ISTE Socials for SIGVE, now VEN.

She has served on the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) Social Committee for numer-

ing and teaching you have yet to share. Congratulations



Virtual Education Journal

2016 Community Virtual Library Exhibit

The Community Virtual Library in Second Life presents an exhibit of libraries and library work in virtual worlds. Second Life libraries, as well as libraries and library activities (museum exhibits, art galleries and educational immersive environments) in other virtual worlds, such as Kitely, Inworldz, and Opensim will be on display. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the excitinglibrary and museum activities and exhibits in second life and other virtual worlds. Bring your friends and a picnic lunch and enjoy this beautiful area and informative display.

Virtual Education Journal


We are always looking for educators (and even your students) to share what you are doing in virtual environments, the curricula, strategies, and assessments. We also want to know what you are using, how you engage students differently in virtual environments, and most importantly the take-aways - that is what are you learning about best practices that can be shared with others?

We are interested in all facets of teaching and learning. That is, from Pre-K - 16; to pre-service teacher education programs through graduate school; and professional learning and organizational development for individuals and groups.

Even though our issues have a specific theme we also include other articles about learning and game-play in virtual worlds - especially articles that promote the effective use of virtual environments and virtual learning to enhance and engage teachers and students in quality learning experiences.

Please submit articles, approximately 500 – 2000 words and include pictures and graphics with the highest resolution possible (using png, tiff, jpeg) to:

Be sure to put “VEJ” in subject line.

You may submit articles and pictures at any time. We publish four issues of VEJ per year (i.e., Summer, Winter, Fall, Spring).

If you have questions, email or give Roxie Neiro (sl) a notecardin second life. bYou can find more information and see previous issues of VEJ at and at .

Stop by at the VEN /Games Playground to see us at ISTE.


VEJ Summer 2016  

VEJ Celebrates 5 years of publications by looking at the Past, Present and Future of Digital Environments and Virtual Worlds. Congratulation...

VEJ Summer 2016  

VEJ Celebrates 5 years of publications by looking at the Past, Present and Future of Digital Environments and Virtual Worlds. Congratulation...