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VEJ        Vol.  2  Issue  1   Virtual  Education  Journal  

In This  Issue   • • • • •

WOW! One  Year  Old!  Can  you  b elieve  it?  And  VEJ  threw  a   party  like  no  other  –  especially  if  you  are  a  Jimmy  Buffett   Parrothead!  The  concert,  thanks  to  Lightning  Productions,  was   awesome!  The  birthday  cake  and  margarita  fountain,  thanks  to   Foods-­‐By-­‐CAS,  was  virtually  DELICIOUS!  A  special  THANKS  to  all  our   contributors  and  readers!  Keep  Vej-­‐jing  Out  and  sharing  what  you   learn!  We  just  turned  one,  but  may  we  have  many,  many  more!  We   have  so  much  to  learn!   CONGRATULATIONS  to  the  winners  of  the  1 st  VEJ  Reader’s   Choice  Awards!  Winners  were  selected  from  the  nominations  sent   into  us  by  our  readers.  Several  of  the  voting  categories  were   extremely  close.  That  is  because  there  are  many  talented  people,   amazing  learning  opportunities,  fun  explorations,  and  excellent   educational  resources  in  the  virtual  worlds.  VEJ  is  committed  to   finding  them  and  sharing  them  with  you.    A  BIG  thanks  to  everyone   who  participated  by  nominating  and  voting  in  this  year’s  awards.     CONGRATULATIONS  again  to  ALL  of  our  nominees  and  winners!   This  issue  highlights  both  the  VWBPE   2010  Conference    (see  the  interview  with   Phelan  and  other  highlights)  and  the  upcoming   ISTE  2 012  Conference.  SIGVE  will  be  streaming   their  presentations  live  during  the  SIGVE   Playground  June  25th  both  inworld  and  at  the   real-­‐world  conference.    The  same  with  the   EDuMachinima  Fest  on  May  26 th.  For  a   schedule  and  times  be  sure  to  visit   Virtual  Pioneers  Conference   Gridjumper’s  Blog  (one  of  our  Reader’s   2012   Choice   Winners)  at       The  interview  with  architect  Jon  Brouchoud  –  his  work  in   amazing!  This  issue  is  filled  with  excellent  tips,  tricks,  and  virtual   experiences.  Be  s ure  to  use  the  url’s  and  slurls  –  you  will  want  to   devour  every  morsel.  So  get  started,  and    


Keep smiling  J   Rosie  Vojtek,  aka  Roxie  Neiro    (sl)  

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Happy Birthday VEJ SIGVE Playground 2012 – Come Play Teaching Artificial Intelligence in Virtual Worlds Reflections on Introducing a Group of Educators to WoW Why Are You Here – Barbara Johnson Answers Our Question Designing Virtual Learning Environments for Beginners A Fresh Approach to Design and Visualization: An Interview with Jon Bouchoud (Keystone Bouchard, sl) VSTE Book Study! Join The Fun! VWBPE 2012 was EPIC! An Interview with Kevin Feenan (Phelan Corrimal, sl) An EPIC Overview of the VWBPE 2012 Conference VWBPE 2012 Socials ROCK! Games MOOC Group Notice From: VWBPE, Kavon Zenovka 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Award Winners Announced On Walkabout with Matt Poole aka Cyrus Hush Two Worlds Collide: Kentucky Derby - RL and SL Art in the Park at Alice Academy Fires of Genocide – SIGVE ISTE Tour Gridjumper Blogs ISTE 2012 ARG Academy Prometheus Bound Machinima

To Read  VEJ  online  visit:   For  more  information  about  ISTE  SIGVE  or   to  join  the  fun,  visit:   Follow  us  on  Twitter  @VEJournal  or   #VEJournal     2  


Bluebarker Lowtide the Bartender


Bama Breeze Saloon


SIGVE Playground 2012---Come Play!!! by Scott Merrick and Andy Wheelock, ISTE SIGVE ISTE’s 32nd National Educational Computing Conference, formerly “NECC” and now simply called “ISTE 2012” (fill in the year), will be held in San Diego, California this summer. Last year, in Philadelphia, its Special Interest Group for Virtual Environments, SIGVE, held three days of back to back half hour presentations relating to the use of 3D virtual worlds in the service of learning and teaching. Those sessions have been described in great detail in previous editions of VEJ, so we won’t go into them that way here, but if you failed to read about them they are well worth the read. You can also get a quick summary about last year’s Playground at the Open Letter from Scott that resides on our wiki at Here’s a snapshot from one presentation:

Boy, oh boy, have there been some changes since then. Changes It started with an email announcing that ISTE, in its restructuring process undertaken as a proactive response (is that even possible?) to the


economic downturns we all felt in one way or another, was abandoning ISTE Island. The Island presented a not insignificant commitment of funding that had been judged excessive in light of the return on investment. That sparked the creation of a task force whose members ebbed and flowed in and out of the discussion and after negotiation of a months--long tortuous twisting and turning path finally arrived at the decision to spend our greatly reduced funding to lease our own ISTE SIGVE parcel on Eduisland 9. In return for that funding ISTE is represented in Second Life by ISTE SIGVE and is still providing meeting spaces for social gatherings, casual professional conversational opportunities, organized professional development and more. The support is issued annually and will be up for review next March. Social gatherings happen via a newly formed SIGVE Social Committee led by Maggie Larimore. There is often a theme--bowling, field trips, dances, etc.--but the point is to get folks together who are physically at a distance. Remember “Sense of Place at a Distance” is the underlying motivation for everything we do in virtual worlds. This purely social element is a good one for educators, providing opportunities to unwind and participate in friendships with colleagues they may actually only see face to face annually at ISTE. Casual conversations continue, inspired by the sort of chats that would spontaneously grow into serious discussions about practice, resources, tools, challenges and solutions that old timers remember from the front porch on ISTE Island. I once coined a term, noticing how avatars tended to step back to welcome a newly arrived participant during these ad hoc sessions: “wircling”--”widening the circle.” These days, at ISTE SIGVE, we often meet in the tasteful pose-loaded adirondack chairs facing the beautiful ocean island vista created by Serena Offcourse and Techplex Engineer, winners of the design contest that resulted in this welcoming and effective layout of our spaces in Second Life. If the meeting gets bigger than the chairs might accomodate, we might adjourn to the expandable conference table upstairs in HQ. Wircling continues. The cornerstone of Professional Development is the monthly ISTE SIGVE Speaker Session, ongoing regularly now for three years and providing onehour live interviews and presentations by those who are at the forefront of innovation in virtual worlds. Not limited to Second Life, we gather


audiences in sizes ranging from 5 to 50, and regardless of the audience size, these opportunities to learn and to share are always fascinating. We are pleased to have recently confirmed Dr. Chris Dede, from Harvard Graduate School of Education, as our season kick-off for September 18 after our now traditional break in August. You can see the speakers, past, present, and future, for our Speaker Sessions at our very active wiki: Current KZero stats KZero, the world’s premier research go-to for quarterly updated information about the growth and direction of the virtual worlds arena, reported that for the 4th quarter of 2011 user registrations in all virtual worlds totalled 1,772,000 (or so) users. Say what you will, once you get past a billion or so registered users we believe that something significant is happening on a global scale. Can you even comprehend what a billion is? This graphic might help, though it’s a visual based on stacks of 100 bills, not human beings, but a billion is a LOT:

The quarterly “KZero Universe Chart,” available free upon request at, is something anyone interested in virtual worlds should order each time a new one is released. Cleverly designed to display each world according to its user base size, age range appeal, and date of release and demise, if that applies, it’s a feast for the eyes and a graphic


justification for the kind of passion for this field we who contribute to it share. Two graphics from KZero--user base growth over time (beginning Quarter 1 of 2009) and a thumbnail of the universe chart:

See the full Monty at -- it’s worth the clicks. Perhaps you might feel a little different about the value of taking in our upcoming presentations at the SIGVE Playground, June 25, 8am-4pm Pacific Time, after understanding the phenomenal growth of virtual worlds.


ISTE SIGVE stats and plans I emailed Colleen for current demographics Playground schedule This year our playground will be on Monday, June 25th, from 8am-4pm (Second Life time, hehe). Since it is just one day this year, we decided to try and bring in a nice mix of many of the relevant virtual worlds out there, with some of our dynamic members leading the way. Of course, there is so much left off the table that we hope will leave our audience wanting MORE! *Note: RL is in San Diego California--all events will be streamed live into SL


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and in ustream at Want to host a viewing party on your own sim? IM Scottmerrick Oh in Second Life for a free displayer!

Time 8:30-9:15 9:30-10:15 10:3011:15 11:3012:15 1:00-1:45 2:00-2:45 3:00-4:00

Presenter Minerva Ladores Kae Novak and Chris Luchs Bron Stuckey Scott Merrick Gord Holden Bron Stuckey Lucas Gilespie

Topic So You Want to Teach in Second Life: First Things First Mixed Realities: AR, ARGs, Machinima & MOOCs--"Virtual realities mean multiple modalities” Massively Minecraft - Building and learning Kitely- Social Networks and Virtual Environments Active Worlds in the school Quest Atlantis Remixed Minecraft/Wow in school: World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and console games in the classroom? Yes!


Invitation to participate both in San Diego and in Second Life. Can’t make it to San Diego? Not to worry! We will be streaming all the sessions for those to be seen on their internet browser or, better yet, come into Second Life and spend time watching it with other SIGVE members at our headquarters. Tatiana Martin, a.k.a Gridjumper will be hosting these events. So pop on in and chat with us via the Second Life viewer. We can see you from San Diego! Don’t forget we will be having a synchronous Birds of a Feather Session with the SIGVE members from San Diego and in-world, so bring your


thoughts, ideas, and talents and join us from 5:30-6:45pm SL-Pacific Time)

Virtual Environments Playground • Scheduled: ◦ Monday, 6/25/2012, 8:00am–4:00pm PDT (Pacific Daylight Time)

SIGVE (Virtual Environments) Gathering • Scheduled: ◦ Monday, 6/25/2012, 5:30pm–6:45pm PDT (Pacific Daylight Time)

SIGVE Machinima Fest • Scheduled: Tuesday, 6/26/2012, 5:30pm–7:30pm PDT (Pacific Daylight Time)


Teaching Artificial Intelligence in Virtual Worlds By Any Gynoid, New Citizens Inc

Scores of years ago, Professor Edward Feigenbaum, Turing Award Winner, told us that one day we would all have avatars. Go Figure! All along, Iʼve been watching for signs that might interest the good Professor. Chatbots. Hmmmm. Joseph Weizenbaumʼs classic Artificial Intelligence (AI) experiments. Pathfinding, oh yes, Edsger Dijkstraʼs algorithm. And so forth. About Pathfinding in Virtual Worlds: Also that article explains why AI characters will not create lag. The challenge of AI has always been the platform. How much software and data scaffolding must we build, before we get to the fun part, creating the AI? Seems to me, we have arrived. The platform, the scaffolding, everything is being served up to us, mis en place. As Pathfinding rolls out grid-wide in Second Life, and soon to the opensim metaverse… the engineers have done their job; we have everything we need. It is our


turn: artists, entrepreneurs, and teachers. The question now… What future do we want? Entrepreneurs will invent cash generating AI products. Hidden knowledge is their power. Artists too, O purveyors of beauty with veiled messages, how much we love you, muses of our virtual worlds… who rarely turn their inventions inside out, for all to see. Thatʼs what we teachers do. Take things apart and turn them inside out for students to put back together. In this knowledge ecosystem, as in RL, teachers intervene in society to empower emerging entrepreneurs, artists, and teachers to create a better world. We teachers set the low water mark for common knowledge. By teaching AI in Virtual Worlds… making AI very accessible to everyone interested, we are lifting Archimedes lever. Profoundly!

AI characters are animated without programming.

AI is fun! In my class, I do a brief lecture with AI demonstrations… you learn and experience chatbots and pathfinding and other powers, now available with simple scripts. The rest of this class comprises self-guided exercises. Building AI. Create a prim. Throw in a chatbot script and a personality notecard. Throw in a pathfinding script. Voila! Youʼve built sophisticated AI! Itʼs really that easy.


I give you all the scripts and step by step instructions on how to build AI characters. Pathfinding… (wandering, pursuing, and patrolling…) Pathfinding with Sensors… Chatbots… Greeter bot… Sound making… Animations… Walking Controller… I call these scripts AI Beans. Drop an AI Bean in your characterʼs Content tab and it performs AI! Key parameters that you want to tweak, are right at the top of each script, and well documented. Minimal external requirements are documented too, such as adding a chatbot personality or sound files.

Shot on the Aditi test grid, in the pathfinding region PathTest4. You see some of Linden's test cubes and their various test apparatus, e.g. stairs, platforms, spiral stairs, zoetrope, etc.

The crème de la crème skill for building AI characters is animation. Pathfinding makes your characters mobile; they move around the grid. Animations is what makes characters walk and physically gesture; moving arms, legs, elevation, etc. I give you a folder of high quality characters; these are sculptie or mesh creations, donated to NCI, some with freeware licensing. Through class exercises, I teach you how to animate these characters (or your own), in a few easy steps using a marvelous script from Ferd, an epic SL creator. Donʼt forget the Mono checkbox! No programming needed. Use SLʼs prim editor to move your characterʼs limbs. Record 3 to 5 positions and youʼve got a walking animated character! Of course, all of this content is totally free. You can reuse it to teach AI too! New Citizens Inc (NCI) is a free school. You are welcome to join us at 3pm SLT every Tuesday at NCI Dream Seeker (SLURL ). We are seeking qualified instructors to teach this class at additional times. I also offer an asynchronous, distance learning option. The class materials are self-explanatory; I give all the class visuals and


lecture notes (with visual cues). Exercises are self-guided. Contact any1 Gynoid inworld (SL main grid) for more information. The new SL AI has the potential to transform Virtual Worlds, from vast depopulated regions to highly interactive, immersive experiences teaming with artificial life. This potential will go unrealized without us, the teachers. We teachers make it possible for ordinary people to be successful resolving complex challenges. Having the great good fortune of an education, I do as much as I can to pull together courseware and deliver it to the universe. I invite you to join our Quixotic AI quest. Now itʼs your turn.

Navimesh on NCI Dream Seeker shows the pathfinding mesh in and around my classroom (see the white lines are navigable polygons for AI characters).

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Roxie Neiro, VEJ Editor in Chief, for publishing this timely article. Thank you to my students and friends who encouraged me to boldy go where no avi has sojourned before! In particular, my star student Vectrix and my friend Travis (andewbatz.silverweb) who followed this AI adventure from day 1 (visit Travisʼ AI convenience store clerk at Danger Point SLURL


Reflections on Introducing a Group of Educators to

World of Warcraft By Chris Luchs (Abacus Capalini, sl)

For four weeks in March and April, educators from around the world participated in the Virtual Worlds, Games and Education Tour MOOC. This massive online open course introduced the 80 participants to Second Life, JokaydiaGrid, Inworldz, Machinima, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and Eve Online. The group met synchronously four times a week to hear from guest speakers. They also met asynchronously online in P2PU to discuss topics and experiences. During the third week of this MOOC, the group was introduced to World of Warcraft using either the free trial account or paid subscription. Once in world, these adventurous educators were trained on the basic mechanics of game play, stormed a castle, and were given tours of the major cities for the two dominant player factions in WoW, the Horde and Alliance. Participants were also introduced to in-game banking, auction house, professions, transportation, and discussions on leveling, class and player roles. As a group leader, I had the benefit of experience in WoW to allow me to focus on observing our participants and answering questions. One of the first things, the educators had to master was the interface itself. WoW offers players a lot of customizing that allows players to adjust the layout to the way they want through in-game interface options as well as addons, software programs that allows a player to download and then modify their WoW interface to provide additional screens, counters, and other useful analytic tools. There are also numerous menus, icons, and communication channels that a player must learn. One of the biggest challenges for our group was selecting the correct chat channel to communicate to the group. To simplify, we choose to use the general chat, which worked great in the isolated start up zones, but was much more challenging once we entered the city and players experienced the deluge of chats from the seven other chat channels that are available. Another interesting observation concerning the interface, was that in many cases, initiating an avatar action on screen was a better way to communicate than chat. A common occurrence during the week of World of Warcraft was the statement, "Follow the jumping [insert race here]," or "Jump if you are ready." These avatar actions where a quick means of communicating to the group and offered non-chat  


related cues to and from the participants that they understood and were ready to participate in the action. The group also reinforced that the Horde characters and World of Warcraft are an acquired taste. Of the participants that went into WoW, only three continued to play their horde characters once the group created Alliance characters and only four continue to regularly play and participate. This reinforces the importance of context when using / introducing a group to a non-epistemic game. Many of the questions asked about Wow centered on how an educator uses World of Warcraft in their class, which relates to the context of the game within the curriculum. While WoW strongly applies to many disciplines such as Business, Sociology, Math, and English, it does not apply to all subjects equally. Based on the discussions, the take away points are that educators must evaluate each game to determine fit for their class and they must also provide the context and epistemic frame for the student to ensure a clear understanding of assignments and those competencies being assessed. The last observation is the importance of groups or cohorts when using World of Warcraft. Many of our educators initially started out playing and completing quests by themselves. We had one educator level their character to 85 within six and a half weeks; however this educator has mentioned that he would not advise anyone to follow his example. He stated that leveling alone was OK initially, however, by level 60 he was ready to abandon the game he was gaining minimal new experiences from the game. After consulting with the other group leaders, he decided to queue for random dungeons and play with a random group of players. This offered him great insight into the dynamics of social interaction and felt it made leveling the last 20 levels less tedious. At level 80, he started to group with group leaders and other members of the Cognitive Dissonance educators’ guild and found he really enjoyed collaborating on dungeons with fellow educators and stated that he would only level another character with a group of guildies! Our participant’s experiences really drove home the need for cohorts. The main reason for this is the social aspect of groups. While players can solo their way up to 85, it is not recommended. The main reason is that WoW quests have been designed to allow players to treadmill or grind their way to the highest level. However, by soloing, the player invariably focuses on optimizing their play still to a self-sustaining model, which requires a more general play style and minimized the player’s ability to specialize in one aspect of their class. This style of play is great, however, upon reaching end game play, the player finds that they are unable to fit with the specialized roles required to master end game content. This issue is


negated if the player is comfortable playing in a group where they focus on optimizing one aspect of their class (tanking, healing, or damage) instead of trying to master all three roles as a soloist. In addition, cohorts allow players to play to their strengths and focus on roles within the group that they enjoy.

Our participant’s experiences really drove home the need for cohorts. The main reason for this is the social aspect of groups. While players can solo their way up to 85, it is not recommended. The main reason is that WoW quests have been designed to allow players to treadmill or grind their way to the highest level. However, by soloing, the player invariably focuses on optimizing their play still to a self-sustaining model, which requires a more general play style and minimized the player’s ability to specialize in one aspect of their class. This style of play is great, however, upon reaching end game play, the player finds that they are unable to fit with the specialized roles required to master end game content. This issue is negated if the player is comfortable playing in a group where they focus on optimizing one aspect of their class (tanking, healing, or damage) instead of trying to master all three roles as a soloist. In addition, cohorts allow players to play to their strengths and focus on roles within the group that they enjoy. Overall, I found that introducing educators to World of Warcraft was very similar to the challenges we face introducing students to a learning management system. The main concerns were comfort with the interface, ability to access content and


complete content, and communicating with the rest of the group. Another key component was the ability to develop a social presence in an online environment. Our educators and students both love to be able to interact and engage with others online. However, unlike most LMS, World of Warcraft allows the player to choose their level of social interaction through solo questing or group dungeoning. So main lesson learned from my reflection is: Educators Don’t Let Educators Play Alone especially not in World of Warcraft or Learning Management Systems! To which, we will be running another group of educators through World of Warcraft during the Games MOOC - if you are interested please let me know at abacus.capalini@gmail. Remember - educators don’t let educators go to World of Warcraft alone!


3 Annual Virtual Worlds & Games UnSymposium

SAVE the DATES! November 9, 10 & 11 3rd Annual Virtual Worlds & Games UnSymposium  


Barbara Johnson  Answers  Our  Question,   Why  Are  You  Here?   My real name is Barbara Z. Johnson) and the email address My professional/research blog is at  

I have included my picture as well as my favorite avatar from Second Life (Chris_001) --- Christien Suntzu.

The collectable pet image is an example of usercreated art sold in one of many of the shops I am researching, run by teens and young adults in the virtual world Gaia Online.  

And the TSI image is from an island the the Tech Savvy Girls program operated in Teen Second Life as an afterschool program.

It shows two of the businesses that teens operated during that time, selling their own creations in that world. (Picture on next page.)


Barbara Z. Johnson, M.Ed. Doctoral Candidate - Teaching and Learning University of Minnesota - Duluth 218.390.0962




Designing Virtual  Learning     Environments  for  Beginners  

By: Bluebarker  Lowtide  

  Virtual  Learning  Environments  (VLE)  are  places  where  visual  information  is   displayed  that  can  range  from  text  input  prompts,  websites  and  three-­‐ dimensional  (3D)  worlds.  Though  a  collection  of  websites  or  links  does  not   define  a  Virtual  Learning  Environment  unless  it  has  to  have  a  place  for  social   interaction.  This  can  be  a  chat  box,  forum  page,  messaging  or  full  on   microphone  capability.     For  the  relevancy  of  this  article  though,  we  will  refer  only  to  VLE  categorized   within  a  3D  virtual  world.       As  an  educator  teaching  K-­‐12,  you  are  more  than  likely  teaching  face-­‐to-­‐face   to  students  in  the  front  of  the  room  where  your  students  are  seated  in  rows   looking  at  the  front.  In  a  VLE,  you  are  not  constricted  to  such  arcane  set-­‐ups   for  learning.  Higher  educational  set-­‐ups  are  mainly  forum  based  and  free  form   structures  that  tend  to  set  the  trend  in  VLE.       As  a  designer,  however,  it  is  your  job  to  not  only  be  able  to  display  the   information  in  a  creative  way,  but  to  be  able  to  know  about  the  varying   learner  arrangements  to  maximize  learning  in  a  VLE.  Another  important  thing   to  note  here  is  that  this  will  differentiate  with  your  learners’  level  of  learning   (K-­‐12,  higher  education  or  corporate),  your  teaching  style  and  the  kind  of   information  you  are  presenting.     When  I  say  “level  of  learning”  this  also  encompasses  the  learners’  maturity   level,  as  this  will  most  certainly  be  different  between  grade  school  and  higher   education  students.    For  most  VLE  acceptable  through  kindergarten  and   middle  school,  you  have  limited  control  over  the  environment  and  the  avatar   creation  process,  as  this  will  be  an  educational  game  world.  Most  of  which  are   pre-­‐selected  and  cookie-­‐cutter  and  will  most  certainly  need  to  be   supplemented  with  external  activities  and  exercises.  VLE  are  not  the  “end  all   be  all”  solution  but  are  certainly  an  effective  measure  to  take  to  engage  your  


students in  the  material  and  having  to  teach  the  technology  native  students   that  more  and  more  teachers  are  running  into.    

As far  as  your  teaching  style,  do  what  you  are  most  comfortable  with.  Ask   yourself  if  you  like  teaching  at  a  podium  or  perhaps  you  like  to  walk  around?   Setting  up  stadium-­‐type  seating  pointing  to  a  stage  may  be  your  preferred   method  and  there  is  no  right  or  wrong  way  but  there  are  certain  things  to   keep  in  mind.  Within  a  learning  environment,  whether  it  is  real  world  or    


virtual there  are,  what  I  like  to  call,  two  spheres  of  attention:  the  audience   sphere  and  the  focus  sphere.  The  audience  sphere  is  where  your  audience  is   located;  whether  it  is  one  location  (like  at  a  stadium  or  classroom),  a  rounded   location  (like  with  forum  or  campfire  discussion)  and/or  a  moving  location   (like  with  guided  tours  or  immersive  locations).  The  focus  sphere  will  be   either  you  (the  educator,  the  presenter  or  educator)  or  your  information   (whether  it  be  slideshows,  educational  models  or  other  forms  of  information).   The  audience  sphere  should  never  be  cluttered  or  distracting  to  your  learners.   Like  the  real  world,  your  audience  members  should  be  able  to  see  the  focus   sphere  wherever  they  are  seated  or  standing.  The  focus  sphere  should  be   open  enough  for  you  and  what  you  are  presenting.  With  the  focus  sphere  for  a   guided  tour  or  immersive  setting,  keeping  your  audience  and  learners  on  a   designated  path  while  going  through  the  location,  their  focus  will  be   everything  outside  the  path.  The  use  of  signs  and  destination  boards  will  help   eliminate  confusion  and  distractions.     You  are  practically  limitless  to  what  you  can  achieve  in  the  building  of  your   VLE.  But  starting  out  you  can  certainly  be  overwhelmed  and  fall  into   unnecessary  pitfalls.  Getting  the  hang  of  building  in  your  virtual  world  is  a   huge  advantage,  for  most  sandbox  genres  (i.e.  Second  Life,  Opensim  and  the   defunct  Lego  Universe)  where  you  have  the  expanded  option  of  customization   giving  you  free  reign  in  your  designated  learning  space.  The  Builder’s  Brewery   in  Second  Life  was  a  huge  help  in   achieving  a  higher  level  of  understanding  SL’s  modeling  and  building  features.   That’s  is  not  to  say  I  am  not  a  consumer,  a  good  60%  of  most  of  my  builds  are   found  and  bought  in  the  Second  Life  Marketplace.  Mixing  and  matching  and   finding  great  deals  are  a  good  thing  to  keep  in  mind  because  it’s  easy  to  get   carried  away.  Second  Life  itself  is  a  great  big  treasure  hunt  with  freebies  lying   around  waiting  to  be  used,  so  always  keep  an  eye  out  for  those  as  well.     I  have  been  designing  and  building  VLE  for  over  a  year  now  and  I  can  say  it  is   a  lot  of  fun.  Even  though  I  am  mainly  an  Instructional  Designer,  that  does  not   say  I  don’t  get  my  fair  share  of  lectures.  If  you  are  designing  your  own  space  to   present  in,  please  take  into  account  the  surrounding  environment.    



Most conferences  and  educational  spaces  have  their  own  themes  and  it’s  a   polite  “unspoken”  rule  to  adapt  the  theme  into  your  builds.  If  you  really  desire   to  be  creative,  ask  the  manager  or  group  leader  and  inform  them  of  your   intentions.  The  Caledon  spaces  are  great  and  are  run  by  educators,  but  they   have  a  relatively  strict  theme  of  Victorian  and  Steampunk,  just  to  give  an   example.  If  you  own  your  own  land,  it  is  best  to  always  have  a  second  opinion   before  you  open  it  up  to  your  audience.  Designing  on  a  blank  slate  is  a  great   opportunity,  but  getting  lost  in  your  creative  mind  doesn’t  help  you  reach   your  educational  objections  and  goals.     Plan,  plan  and  plan!!!  Whether  it’s  a  quick  sketch  or  a  draft,  plan  what  the   look  and  the  feel  you  want  right  at  the  beginning  so  you  can  stay  on  task  and   not  get  lost  on  tangents.  Analyze  where  your  Focus  Spheres  and  Audience   Spheres  are.  Eliminate  clutter  and  be  consistent  with  your  themes  or  colors   schemes.  I  wouldn’t  be  a  very  good  designer  if  I  didn’t  mention  colors.     Remember  Colors  have  important  affects  on  your  audience  whether  it  is   purposefully  or  unconsciously,  colors  help  dictate  a  lot  of  the  design  world   and  should  never  be  a  second  thought.     Helpful  Second  Life  Locations  &  Resources  for  starting  designers  of  VLE:     Virtual  Learning  Environments  by  P.Dillenbourg  2000  -­‐­‐papers-­‐2/Dil.7.5.18.pdf       Builder’s  Brewery     Caledon  Oxbridge  University     Kuwol  -­‐  Instructional  Design  of  Educators     The  Tech  Virtual  –  Museum  Exhibit  Design  


A Fresh Approach to Design and Visualization An Interview with Jon Brouchoud (Keystone Bouchard, sl) BJ Gearbox and I just happened to be out exploring second life one afternoon when we stumbled across the work of Jon Brouchoud. We were so excited and amazed by his work that we asked if we could interview him. He said yes, and this is what we learned from him!

Roxie Neiro: How did you get started in second life? What other virtual worlds do you work in, if any? Jon Brouchoud: Part of my Masterʼs thesis in Architecture dealt with how online environments, including multi-user games like Everquest, had the potential to transform and augment real world architecture. I was amazed at how graphically rich and complex the environments were in Everquest, and how people from all over the world could interact within those environments, in real-time. I wondered if it could someday be possible to replace the dungeons with 3D models of architectural design proposals, and swap the elves for avatars of real-world project stakeholders who wanted to gain a better understanding of what their new building would look like. The biggest challenge at that time, in 2001, was that game worlds were incredibly difficult to create - reserved almost exclusively for use in multi-million dollar game worlds.

Architecture 101 Island/116/148/1173


Roxie: How did you transition your professional interests/work from the real-world to virtual worlds? Jon: I never expected to take on virtual world work as a profession. I built a little neighborhood of model ʻgreenʼ homes and was giving a presentation when Kiwini Oe (Steven Nelson irl) of Clear Ink approached me and asked if I would be interested in giving a presentation at their real life office, at Linden Labʼs office *and* at the headquarters of Autodesk! A few weeks later, we were giving a keynote presentation demonstrating Second Life alongside the CEO of Autodesk in front of 8,000 people. I continued working for Clear Ink, where I had the opportunity to work on the virtual U.S. House of Representatives, Linden Labʼs virtual headquarters, and lots of other incredible projects. I gradually realized my career path would probably never be the same, and I loved it. =)

Roxie: What advantages do you see in designing, prototyping and building in virtual worlds? Jon: The collaborative potential, to create 3D objects in real-time alongside people from all around the world - thatʼs a game changer that continues to be underestimated, and has yet to be fully discovered.


Also, blueprints are notoriously difficult for most people to fully understand. Even if you can grasp the layout, you probably canʼt translate a floor plan into the full 3D experience in your mindʼs eye. By building in a virtual world, you can become immersed in a very holistic representation of the building.

Roxie: What recommendations do you have for people getting started with building/designing in virtual worlds? Jon: Donʼt think of Second Life as a thing, or a place to make money. Think of it as a place. Engage the community, and network as much as you possibly can. If you wish to pursue virtual world work as a career, your projects will come from the people you meet. Roxie: That is so true. I am always amazed at the number of creative, innovative, and talented people that reside in virtual worlds like second life! What are your greatest obstacles and how have you overcome some of the challenges?


Jon: Truth is, the perpetual ʻNDAʼ is one of my biggest obstacles, lol. I donʼt blame my clients for keeping projects private - itʼs a necessary part of the way business gets done. But it can be the death of a freelance designer to not be able to show off your best work in order to build momentum toward finding the next project. In fact, quite a few people ask me why I left Second Life, which couldnʼt be further from the truth! If I could talk about even a fraction of the last several projects I worked on, nobody would believe me! Also, the shifting platform war continues to be my greatest obstacle. I would love nothing more than to work full-time exclusively in Second Life, but Iʼve had to retool to learn Maya and Unity3D in order to stay in business - following the clientʼs lead into these new platforms. Roxie: How would you characterize your work in second life (e.g., to prototype real world buildings, to design and build exclusively for virtual worlds, or other emphasis/interests)? Jon: I started off prototyping real world buildings, but now my work is almost exclusively designing and building purely virtual experiences. My main clients have been educators, and companies involved with training as well as quite a bit of military-related work. Roxie: You are truly amazing! Your work is phenomenal – I want to say “out of this world!” J What work(s) are you most proud of in second life or other virtual worlds? Why? Jon: The project Iʼm most proud of and excited about is always ʻthe next oneʼ. =) Roxie: LOL And I canʼt wait to see some of those projects! Where do you see custom designs and buildings in virtual worlds five years from now? Jon: I think the majority of virtual world interaction will be much more ʻappʼ like. More like iTunes, more mobile, more fluid, more prefab. I think organizations will gradually adopt 3D representations online, in whichever


world or platform or technology that may be. When that starts to happen, I think weʼll see a lot of the same factors come into play that shaped our original real world cityscapes. Organizations will use their 3D presence to say something about their values, their strengths, etc. They will starts to see virtual ʻarchitectureʼ as a means of expressing themselves - not as much a functional element of providing space for employees, but more of a freeform phenomenon that communicates and responds dynamically.

Roxie: What are the differences and similarities about building and designing in real-world and virtual worlds? Jon: Designing, collaborating and building in a virtual world is 10x more efficient (and fun) than doing the same for real-world projects. After growing accustomed to meeting with people from all around the world, building together in real-time, meeting instantly whenever we wish, having to get into a car and drive 20 minutes to review a set of 2D blueprints on paper with a client feels backward and terribly inefficient. Roxie: I so agree with being able to meet with people who are anywhere in the world at anytime, without leaving your house. That is a real game-changer for educators as well as for architects! So, what advice do you have for educators bringing students into virtual worlds to study the fundamentals of design, design processes and design strategies?


Jon: Find the students who are ready for it and work with them - even if itʼs only a few at first. Trying to shoehorn students who despise virtual worlds and spending a whole semester trying to convince them is a waste of time. If you can find students who believe in this, and are ready to do serious exploration into virtual worlds, then build on their interest and showcase their work. Also, donʼt be afraid to explore purely virtual design. It helps get back to the very basic fundamentals of form and space, and can be a very useful tool in teaching design from an experiential perspective. Roxie: I think that is great advice for any educator as well. You have to make sure people are ready for the experience. You have to build that readiness. In you work in virtual worlds, you have created some prefab designs for classrooms and exhibit spaces. What types of designs have you found work best for educators working in second life? Jon: The more flexible the design, the better. Each educator has his or her own unique needs and functional requirements. Trying to create a rigid design that they need to fit into is less effective than creating a ʻkit of partsʼ they can use to determine their own layout.


Roxie: You have a sign at Virtual Architecture 101 labeled “Defining Spatial Boundary.” The sign says, “There are numerous ways to define a spatial boundary. Space can be defined with walls and vertical planes, but something as simple as a transition in floor material can also define a boundary.” What are the advantages of defining spatial boundaries in virtual worlds like second life? Can you give us some examples of designs you have created in second life that work well here – but not be “doable” in real-life? Jon: Even though virtual architecture has no real limitations, we still visually organize and ʻreadʼ space in a virtual world based on the same familiar visual cues we use in the real world - that weʼve known since childhood. Itʼs important to use that same visual language to define space, and make a space navigable and delightful. Defining spatial boundaries is a very basic fundamental of architectural design. It helps a visitor understand where the functional elements are. Iʼve experienced plenty of places where the designer made a point of ʻpushing the envelopeʼ of virtual architecture, and created these dreamy floating clouds of prims - but nobody could find their way around, and people just stumble around getting frustrated. Iʼm not suggesting we simply build everything exactly as it is in the real world, but I feel pretty strongly that we still need to build on those same cues in order to make virtual spaces truly useful to everyone. Roxie: Yes, I am sure our readers know exactly what you mean. We have all gotten lost in some of those places! LOL Can you explain


what is meant by “Hybrid Architecture” especially as it relates to the work you did with the Kelley School of Business? Jon: Their real world building is an icon on their campus, and something students, faculty and visitors recognize and identify with the school. If we had started with a blank slate on their virtual counterpart, it would have missed the opportunity to retain that strong architectural identity. On the other hand, if we build an exact replica of the real world building, doors, walls, bathrooms, etc. it would have missed the point and tremendous potential of virtual architecture. I proposed a ʻhybrid architectureʼ approach to their project, where we built just enough of the physical building to retain that iconic architectural identity, but we then took liberties to gut the interior - making one vast avatar-friendly space, along with an outdoor amphitheater, and other elements that broke from the exact replication of the real world campus building, but enabled us to take advantage of the inherent characteristics of the virtual world. Roxie: When BJ and I stumbled upon Architecture Island, I was intrigued by the Winston Churchill statement on one of your displays that reads, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” You write that this is where virtual worlds have a significant advantage. Can you explain to readers what you mean by this? Jon: Yes. Itʼs much easier to change pixels than it is to change real world bricks. =) If we simply create virtual buildings, then treat them the way we treat real world buildings - just letting them sit there, idle, unchanging weʼre missing a huge opportunity. I like to turn Mr. Churchillʼs statement around in relation to virtual worlds, and suggest that in virtual reality - “We shape our buildings; thereafter we keep shaping them.” Roxie: Thank you, Jon, for taking the time to


talk with us about your exciting work in virtual spaces. Be sure to visit: Architecture 101 Island/116/148/1173

Arch Virtual: Buildings and Cities in Realtime, Interactive 3D Keystone1111ʼs Photostream Architecture Island: Island/44/82/23     Cresendo  Design:     Architecture  in  Second  Life  Machinima    


VSTE Book  Study!          Join  The  Fun!     Hey,  it’s  time  for  another  summertime  book  discussion  on  VSTE  Island  in   Second  Life!         Are  you  a  gamer?    Or  do  you  live  with  one?  Are  you  interested  in  the  role   gaming  plays  in  the  lives  of  our  young  people?    More  than  174  million  Americans   are  gamers,  and  the  average  young  person  in  the  United  States  will  spend  ten   thousand  hours  gaming  by  the  age  of  twenty-­‐one.    In  her  book,  Reality  is  Broken,   game  designer,  Jane  McGonigal,  explores  this  movement  towards  virtual  worlds   and  finds  that  games  are  fulfilling  essential  human  needs.    She  also  discusses  how   the  lessons  of  game   design  can  help  us  fix   problems  in  the  real   world.         This  summer   VSTE's  Director,  Dr.   Karen  Richardson  (aka   witchyrichy),  will  be   leading  us  in  a   discussion  of  the  book   as  part  of  our  Second   Life  professional   development  and   VSTEOnline,  our   professional  learning   community.         Our  first  book   group  meeting  will  be   Monday,  July  9,  (5-­‐6PM   SLT)  on  VSTE  Island  in   Second  Life  and  will   continue  on  Monday   evenings,  July  23,   August  6,  and  August  20   (5-­‐6PM  SLT).       So  grab  a  copy  of  the  book  and  start  reading!    You  can  benefit  VSTE  by   purchasing  your  book  through  the  Amazon  portal  at  or  check   out  the  VSTE  store:­‐20.    Learn  more  about  Jane   McGonigal's  work  at       Join the VSTE Ning at There are two groups for you: The SL group and the book group. We'd love to have you be part of the conversation!  


VWBPE 2012  was  EPIC!  

An Interview  with  Kevin    Feenan  (Phelan  Corrimal,  sl)      

Kevin Feenan,  aka  Phelan  Corrimal  (sl),  is  the  President  of  Rockcliffe  University   Consortium  and  VWBPE  Conference  Director.  After  the  2012  VWBPE  Conference,   I  caught  up  with  Kevin  and  asked  him  a  few  questions  about  the  history  of   VWBPE  and  what  we  can  look   forward  to  in  the  future.  The   following  is  what  we  discussed.     Roxie  Neiro:    Let’s  start  by   having  you  tell  us  how  VWBPE   got  started,  and  how  has   conference  has  evolved?     Phelan:  VWBPE  started  as  a   community  event  in  2007.  At  the   time  it  was  called  SLBPE  (Second   Life  Best  Practices  in  Education).   The  conference  attracted  some   1000+  educators  and  was  a  24   hour  event  across  a  number  of  community  sims.  In  2008  there  wasn’t  a   conference  so  in  2009,  Rockcliffe  picked  up  the  mantle  renaming  the  conference   Virtual  Worlds  Best  Practices  in  Education.  Since  2009  the  organizing   committee  has  experimented  with  different  ideas  and  formats  as  suggested  by   the  community.  We  have  tried  to  evolve  as  the  technology  has  gotten  better  and   as  new  ideas  in  teaching,  such  as  MOOCs,  have  been  introduced  into  the   educational  field.     Roxie:  Yes,  the  MOOC  was  a  lot  of  fun  this  year,  and  the  members  of  that   group  are  still  continuing  to  meet  and  learn  from  each  other.  What   statistics  do  you  have  about  the  conference  this  year?  What  are  some  of   the  demographics?       Phelan:  Attendance  has  been  very  good  compared  to  live  conferences.  Since  the   reintroduction  of  the  conference  in  2009,  attendance  figures  have  been  in  and    


around the  2000  unique  individuals  each  year.  It  is  harder  to  provide  an  exact   number  this  year  as  Linden  Lab  has  not  provided  us  with  statistics  this  year  as   they  have  in  past  years.  What  statistics  we  do  have  for  this  year  seems  to   reinforce  the  consistency  of  the  audience  and  the  breadth  of  reach  to  over  60   countries  around  the  world.  In  previous  conferences  numbers  have  reached  as   many  as  3500  and  over  90  countries  during  the  high  point  of  SL  in  early  2009   before  Linden  Lab  changed  their  policy  towards  education  and  non-­‐profits.    

Roxie:  As  one  of  the  conference  directors,  what  do  you  see  as  the   purpose  for  the  conference  and  what  do  you  hope  to  accomplish?    


Phelan: The  purpose  of  the  conference  is  to  provide  a  forum  in  which  educators   can  freely  exchange  ideas,  both  academic  and  practical,  in  an  open  source   forum.  We  do  not  charge  for  attendance  at  the  conference  and  the  conference  is   open  to  anyone  who  has  an  interest  in  teaching  and  education  whether  it  be  as  a   community  mentor  /  volunteer,  university  academic,  or  business  training   professional.  What  we  hope  to  accomplish  with  this  conference  is  to  develop  a   collection  of  resources  that  educators  can  refer  to  which  will  help  them  in   developing  content  using  virtual  worlds,  and  hopefully  allow  the  introduction  to   administrations  and  colleagues  who  are  not  familiar  with  such  technologies  or   the  benefits  they  can  bring  to  a  classroom.  Virtual  world  are  a  valuable  tool  that   educators  need  to  have  in  their  toolkit  and  like  any  tool  we  hope  to  provide  best   practice  examples  of  how  to  use  that  tool  effectively.     Roxie:  This  past  year  the  conference  theme  was  “BE  EPIC.”  As  you  know,   if  you  ask  me,  EPIC  was  when  social  crashed  the  sim!  LOL      

Roxie:  From  your  perspective  what  made  this  year’s  conference  EPIC  for   you?  What  were  some  of  the  highlights?     Phelan:  Each  year  we  try  something  slightly  different  and  while  some  of  those   changes  don’t  pan  out  the  way  we  hope,  some  work  spectacularly.  This  year  two   such  changes  were  focusing  on  a  slightly  smaller  set  of  programs  but  then   increasing  the  number  of  invited  speakers  with  content  on  current  trends  and  


analysis in  the  industry.  While  the  Programs  Chair  will  typically  do  this  as  part   of  each  year’s  conference,  there  was  a  specific  emphasis  on  attracting  an   increased  number  of  cutting  edge  presentations  for  2012.  Reducing  the  number   of  presentations  also  helped  alleviate  a  common  complaint  from  past   conferences  that  there  was  too  much  that  people  wanted  to  see  in  terms  of   discussions,  presentations,  panels,  demonstrations  and  so  on.  When  you  are   running  so  many  exceptional  presentations  concurrently,  people  tend  to  get   frustrated  if  they  can’t  see  them  all.  So  in  many  ways  what  I  think  really  made   this  conference  EPIC  this  year  is  how  we  managed  to  present  a  better  balanced   program.  The  program  this  year  managed  a  solid  mix  of  submitted  papers  and   invited  speakers  and  in  doing  so  gave  participants  a  better  opportunity  to   connect  with  the  speakers  and  topics  they  really  wanted  to  see.    After  all,  there  is   no  point  in  being  EPIC  if  there  is  no  one  else  there  to  experience  the  moment.     Roxie:  I  agree!  I  loved  the  Machinima  Festival  and  because  the  main   socials  were  scheduled  when  presentations  were  not  happening,  people   were  able  to  have  some  fun  and  network  with  other  participants.  I  know   that  this  must  take  a  lot  of  work.  So,  how  long  does  it  take  you  to  plan   each  conference?  How  do  you  pull  this  all  together,  and  for  FREE?     Phelan:  The  2009  conference  was  pulled  together  in  about  3  months.  Since  then   we’ve  learned  that  it  really  takes  the  better  part  of  a  year  to  do  something  like   this  reasonably  well.  Working  with  all  volunteers  means  that  not  everything   goes  without  a  hitch  but  in  general  we’ve  started  to  fall  into  a  rhythm  where  the   planning  cycle  for  the   conference  starts  in  July  and   then  ends  with  the  publication   of  the  conference  proceedings  in   the  May-­‐June  time  frame.   Rockcliffe  University   Consortium  manages  the   logistics  of  the  conference   involving  anything  to  do  with   finances,  infrastructure,  legal,   and  contracts.  Once  the  call   goes  out  for  VWBPE  committee   chairs  in  August,  everything   from  that  point  on  is  run   completely  by  community    


volunteers. It  is  these  dedicated  volunteers  that  determine  where  the  conference   goes  and  what  new  opportunities  will  be  available  for  the  coming  conference.     Roxie:  You  must  be  really  proud  of  the  large  number  of  people  who  have   attended  VWBPE  in  the  past  couple  of  years,  especially  since  attendance   at  many  real-­‐world  conferences  is  down.  How  are  you  able  to  put  on  the   VWBPE  conference  for  FREE?  That  is  right,  I  said,  FREE!       Phelan:  It  hasn’t  been  easy  trying  to  put  on  a  completely  free  conference  for   2000+  participants,  150-­‐200  presenters,  and  120  volunteers.  We  are  completely   dependent  on  the  generosity  of  sponsors  to  donate  the  $8,000-­‐10,000  it  takes  to   run  each  conference.  We  have  had  some  people  suggest  charging  for  a   conference  of  this  caliber  but  that  would  defeat  one  of  the  core  goals  of  the   conference  which  is  to  make  this  information  freely  available  to  educators   without  encumbrances.  We  want  to  encourage  open  dialogue.  To  that  end  we  do   what  we  have  to  in  order  to  make  sure  the  conference  goes  on.  The  closer  we  get   to  the  financial  goals,  the  more  programs  we  can  develop  for  the  community.   Every  dime  of  sponsorship  money  goes  directly  into  program  for  the  conference   that  benefits  all  participants.     Roxie:  Who  are  your  sponsors  and  how  do  they  help  keep  the  cost  down?       Phelan:  Every  year  the  sponsors  are  different.  They  range  in  size  from  large   contributions  in-­‐kind,  to  promoted  sponsorships,  to  small  independent   donations.  Throughout  the  lead-­‐up  to  the  conference  we  are  constantly   balancing  the  availability  of  value-­‐added  program  elements,  such  as  live  video   feeds  and  archived  recordings,  to  the  number  of  sponsors  /  donations.  The   conference  has  to  live  within  its  means.  That  means  sometimes  being  very   creative  in  the  selection  of  locations,  builds,  and  program  activities  that  still   achieve  the  conference’s  aims  but  fit  within  the  availability  of  funds.     Roxie:  During  the  conference  there  are  many  activities  happening   simultaneously.  How  do  you  coordinate  everything?       Phelan:  Each  member  of  the  Organizing  Committee  is  responsible  for  a  specific   aspect  of  the  program.  The  most  challenging  aspect  is  handling  the   interrelationships  as  almost  every  portfolio  overlaps  each  other  at  some  point  in   the  schedule.  Sometimes  we  nail  it  in  terms  of  getting  everything  to  come   together  smoothly  and  other  times  it’s  a  bit  rocky.  Like  any  type  of  musical    


performance or  stage  production  however  you  have  to  roll  with  what  comes   along.  Having  a  good  organizing  committee  that  communicates  effectively  with   each  other,  however,  is  the  most  important  thing.     Roxie:  You  plan  to  the  best  of  your  ability,  but  some  of  the  best  and  most   memorable  moments  are  unplanned.  Do  you  have  examples  of  any  of   those?        Phelan:  In  terms  of  pure  shock  value  –  it  has  to  be  the  main  stage  set-­‐up  that   Paramparamm  and  Fiery  Broome  did  for  the  2010  conference.  That  build  just   simply  blew  everyone  away  and  I  think  brought  people  together  in  a  way  that   just  putting  presentations  on  a  simple  stage  could  not  have.  When  we  talk  about   the  immersive  experience  one  of  the  things  we  sometimes  forget  is  the  aesthetics   of  our  surroundings.  Having  a  central  stage  that  was  truly  a  work  of  art  I  think   encouraged  people  to  want  to  be  part  of  the  experience.  We  had  so  many  write-­‐ ups  that  year  that  focused  on  the  build  structure  itself  that  a  number  of  people   came  simply  to  be  a  part  of  that  environment.  Any  conference  should  be  so  lucky   as  to  be  able  to  attract  builders  of  this  caliber  and  vision.     Beyond  the  immersive  component,  however,  I  think  that  if  you  can  plan   something  that  touches  someone  in  a  way  that  they  suddenly  have  that  “ah-­‐ha”   moment,  those  are  probably  going  to  be  some  of  the  most  memorable  unplanned   events  you  can  hope  for.  It  may  not  be  as  part  of  a  presentation  but  as  part  of  a   discussion  afterwards  or  a  connection  made  by  visiting  a  poster  exhibit.       For  example  it  was   during  one  of  the  central   auditorium  presentations   that  I  was  talking  with   someone  about  the   mechanics  around  the   stage  set-­‐up.  They   mentioned  the  idea  that   this  isn’t  about  simply   putting  on  a  presentation   but  rather  it  was  theatre.   That  for  me  was  an  ‘ah-­‐ ha’  moment  as  up  to  that   point  I  was  struggling    


with a  number  of  concepts  about  where  we  were  and  where  this  whole  virtual   worlds  environment  was  going.  As  academics  we  talk  about  the  social   construction  of  reality  but  sometimes  you  just  have  to  live  it  before  it  really  sinks   in  exactly  how  far  that  concept  goes  not  just  in  developing  our  own  reality  but   the  reality  we  want  others  to  experience  as  part  of  the  learning  process.     Roxie:  What  is  your  favorite  VWBPE  memory  –  either  from  this  past   conference  or  a  previous  conference?       Phelan:  One  of  my  favorite  memories  was  from  after  having  finished  up  VWBPE   2009  and  thinking  “omg,  we  did  it  –  let’s  do  it  again”.  There  were  so  many   reasons  why  this  conference  shouldn’t  have  worked  but  the  educational   community  is  one  of  those  unique  animals  that  when  they  decide  to  all  pull  in  the   same  direction  they  can  achieve  miracles.  The  community  has  never  ceased  to   amaze  me  just  exactly  how  hard-­‐working,  generous,  and  committed  they  are  to   their  profession.     Roxie:  What  plans  do  you  have  for  future  VWBPE  conferences?  Do  you   have  the  theme  for  next  year?       Phelan:  VWBPE  2013  is  scheduled  for  March  14-­‐16.     We  have  a  few  surprises  in  the  bag  already  for  next  year  if  all  goes  well.   Definitely  we  would  like  to  encourage  additional  alternative  programs,  ideas,   and  events  such  as  the  VWMOOC  put  on  by   FrontRange  Community  College  that  started  at  VWBPE  and  extended  over  the   subsequent  4  weeks.  We’d  also  like  to  encourage  more  academic  paper   submissions.       But,  there  is  nothing  written  in  stone  yet  until  the  committee  meets  again  in   August  however  so  anything  is  possible.     The  tentative  dates  for  VWBPE  2013,  and  of  course,    these  may  be  subject  to   change  –  check  the  website  after  August  6th  for  the  most  up-­‐to-­‐date  information:     September  3rd,  2012  –  Call  for  Committee  Members  for  any  unfilled   positions   October  1st,  2012  -­‐  Call  for  Proposals  /  Papers   October  1st,  2012  -­‐  Call  for  Peer  Reviewers    


December 2nd,  2012  –  Proposals  Due   January  7th,  2013  –  Call  for  Volunteers     Roxie:  Is  there  anything  else  you  would  like  to  share  with  us  about   VWBPE?     Phelan:  It  takes  many  man-­‐hours  to  put  on  any  type  of  a  conference  and,  as   much  as  this  is  a  community  event,  quite  often  the  organizers,  go  without   substantive  recognition  of  the  countless  sleepless  nights  they  put  in  trying  to  get   everything  as  perfect  as  possible.  For  2012  those  individuals  included  Chris   Luchs,  Alysyn  Middleton,  Rory  Nackerud,  Kae  Novak,  Elizabeth  Stenger,  and   Roseanne  O’Brien  Vojtek  without  whose  dedication  the  conference  just  simply   would  not  have  been  possible.     Every  year  we  learn  a  little  bit  more,  we  get  a  little  bit  better,  we  climb  a  little   bit  higher,  and  become  a  little  bit  wiser.  VWBPE  isn’t  about  getting  it  right,  it’s   about  sharing  the  journey,  and  hopefully  one  that  people  will  join  us  on  as  we   embark  on  the  6th  Annual  Virtual  Worlds  Best  Practices  in  Education  in  2013.     Roxie:  Well,  I  know  I  am  looking  forward  to  VWBPE  2013!  I  can’t  wait  to   see  how  you  top  EPIC!!!!  Thanks  Kevin  for  taking  time  to  talk  with  us  and   for  all  you  do  to  make  VWBPE  the  BEST  Educational  Conference!  To  you   and  the  rest  of  your  Chairs  and  Volunteers,  Keep  Up  The  GREAT  Work!!!!     For  anyone  wanting  to  see  highlights  from  VWBPE  or  to  learn  more  about   the  conference,  be  sure  to  visit:       VWBPE  2012  Nomination  Awards:       VWBPE  2012  Exemplary  Volunteers  Awards:      

VWBPE  Official  Website:      


Early Morning  Thai  Chi  at  the  VWBPE  2012  Tea  House  

VEJ Headquarters    

Now Located  on  Edovation  Island  in  Second  Life   Be sure to follow us on Twitter @VEJournal or #VEJournal. Be sure to explore Edovation Island. Please join the Edovation Island and VEJ – Virtual Education Journal Groups in Second Life. VEJ welcomes articles and pictures from our readers. VEJ is only as good as our readers help us become. For submission information please visit www.virtualeducationj .  


An Epic Overview of the VWBPE 2012 Conference By Kavon Zenovka (sl) aka Kae Novak, Program Chair

The Theme for VWBPE 2012 was “Be Epic!” so programs had no choice other than to open with KnowClue Kidd and then close with fourworlds ra (Botgirl’s human alt).

Keynote and Invited Speakers included: Joe Essid, Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable - "Resistance is futile: making a case for virtual worlds"


Peggy Sheehy and Lucas Gillispie WoW in School with

Dr. Lisa Dawley and Dr. Chris Hasekell, 3D Games Lab

Maria Korolov, The Hypergrid is Ready for You Now, Hypergrid Business

Dr. Chris Dede, How Immersion in Virtual and Augmented Worlds Helps Students in the Real World, EcoMuve

Jackie Gerstein, Using Mobile Devices for Community and Team-Building in the Classroom,

Gord Holden, Gutenberg to Spielberg, Immersive Technology 4 Learning

Sharon Bowers, Active Worlds: Tour of NIAUniverse, daVinci Worlds

Melissa Carrillo, Representing Latino Cultural Heritage in the Age of the Social Web, Smithsonian Latino Center


48 Â

Dr. David Gibson, A Brainstorm on Games and Simulations in Teacher Education, simSchool

We additionally had a dynamic duo at the Conference - M& M – Machinima and MMMORPGs!

Machinima ….ah the portmanteau created by Machine and Cinema Yes – there was another EduMachinima Fest! The group (Knowclue Kidd, Grid Jumper, Abacus Capalini, LeeDale Shepherd, and Kavon Zenovka) who gave you EduMachinima Fest 2011 and are facilitating Machinima Open Online Course at P2PU were back. And the winners were… Be Epic!: Andy Wheelock, Understanding the Holocaust Project Virtual World Outreach: Rawlslyn Francis, Student Life Student Projects for English Composition and Literature Courses at Florida State College at Jacksonville Educational: Valerie Hill, Maya Island: A Library Exhibit and Tour


How-To: JoKay Wollongong, Massively Minecraft HOW To: Minecraft Skin by Ninabanina Teen: Jokay Wollongong, Massively Minecraft: Check Out What We Made! Digital Storyteller: Pooky Amsterdam, Time Travelers-Episode 4: The Pattern People’s Choice: PookyAmersterdam, A Year In the Life Brave Beginner: Doug Threebeard, Testis Ovary Tour

MMORPGs World of Warcraft – VWBPE had a “WoW in School” Keynote, best practices sessions and a tour of World of Warcraft! Tour – WoW in School with Legacy Guild This was a field trip with the WoWinSchool Project. It was a 90 minute session/tour starting at for educators who are new to WoW. Participants received a tour with experienced WoW players – and did we mention students!


One School’s Approach to Vocational Transition: Gaming Kimberly Flack/ Fairekimmer and Dave Flack/Tigovar Theorycraft: Quantitative Analysis in World of Warcraft Kavon Zenovka and Abacus Capalini For more info on World of Warcraft at VWBPE please go to EVEOnline – Kaseido Quandry explained to us why “Space Makes You Bitter” and then during the Virtual Worlds MOOC, Kaseido actually took us into EVEOnline. Club Penguin (okay MMORPG – may be stretching it a bit.) Edith Halderman took WBPE through our third romp in Club Penguin. Minecraft – Massively Minecraft to be exact JoKay and the crew presented on Saturday and then gave us an epically massive tour to end our MMORPG fest. These tours and all other tours were coordinated by Aevalle Galacia, Virtual Worlds Tour Stream Lead and Steampunk Extraordinaire.

And last but certainly not least – POSTERS! As Knowclue Kidd stated, “These are not your Grandmother’s Posters.” They are so much more than the flat representations you see at F2F conferences. These posters are truly epic!


And the winners were…. Best Example of Educational Practices in a Virtual World Explore the 2012 Maya Island while you have time! Stylianos Mystakidis Best Interactive Display Musical Odessey Kate Miranda Best Use of Conference Theme Virtual Pioneers Andrew Wheelock People's Choice Senior Project® Center at P4DL, Inc. (K-12) Kathleen Norris A shout out has to go to the Poster Area Builders who perfectly framed posters and the overall theme of VWBPE 2012. Thank you Izzylander Karu, LuciPearl Sorbet, Brock Jumanya and Roc Furse! And an epic THANK YOU!!! to Izzylander Karu for his excellent all around building and design contributions and for really giving us the 3D and visual symbol of “Be Epic”.        


EPIC Is.  .  .  .When  Social  Crashed  The  SIM!   Or,  Why  VWBPE  Will  Never  Be  The  Same!    



LoriVonne  Luster,  Spiff  Whitfield,  and  Roxie  Neiro  take  the  1st  Question   Challenge.  You  can  catch  the  March  16,  2012  second  life  game  show  staring   Pooky  Amsterdam  &  Hydra  Shaftoe  at  


The Year     Of     The  Dragon  



Dragons       On              Parade!  


The   Welcome     Reception     VWBPE   2012  

The Machinima   Ball     We  Danced   The  Night   Away!  


There is nothing more EPIC than a Tribute Concert To The Beatles! That is, until the large crowd, the great music, and the sparkling fireworks CRASHED THE SIM!


So, what do VWBPE Diehards do? Why, they make their own kind of music. . .

They do  the  Thriller  Dance!    LOL   For more pictures of VWBPE 2012 visit Special THANKS to everyone who shared their pictures!


We’re doing  another  MOOC!    To  be  more  specific,  we’re  doing  a  Games-­‐based   Learning  MOOC.  A  MOOC  is  a  Massive  Online  Open  Course  based  on  the   learning  theory  of  connectivism.  Since  2008,  there  have  been  a  series  of  these   free  open  online  courses  offered.  This  course  is  informed  by  their  design  and   implementation.  This  MOOC  will  be  an  introduction  to  games-­‐based  principles   and  the  motivation  and  engagement  aspects  of  different  types  of  games  as   they  relate  to  learning.     This  is  a  free,  open  course  for  all  educators.  The  model  for  the  course  design   is  based  on  social  network  knowledge  construction.      

Participating  educators  will  be  able  to  engage  the  course  on  several  levels   from  lurking  (reading  the  discussions)  to  actively  creating  content  in  the   course  with  the  course  design  team.  It  is  expected  that  each  participant’s  level   of  engagement  will  vary  each  week  based  on  the  individual’s  interest  in  the   weekly  topics.        


The MOOC  will  have  both  synchronous  and  asynchronous  components.  The   asynchronous  portion  will  be  individual  readings  and  text  discussion  in  P2PU   and  the  synchronous  portion  will  consist  of  sessions  in  Second  Life,   Elluminate,  field  trips  into  games  and  tweetchats.       The  Games-­‐based  Learning  MOOC  begins  on  July  9,  2012  and  will  run  for  5   weeks  with  a  sixth  week  and  optional  project  in  mid-­‐September.       The  MOOC  is  under  development  and  for  right  now  we’re  asking   interested  participants  to  go  here  to  register  (       Below  is  an  outline  of  the  topics  for  each  week.      

Game-­‐based  Learning  Schedule     Week  1       Week  2       Week  3       Week  4       Week  5           Week  6    

Games Based  Learning/Game  Principles   Alternate  Reality  Game  (ARG)   Epistemic  Games   Overview  of  Commercial  Off  the  Shelf  Games   Gamification  or  Behavior  Motivation  Elements  for  the     Classroom   Assessing  Student  Learning  and  Data  Collection  


Group Notice From: VWBPE, Kavon Zenovka To  get  ready  for  SIGVE  EduMachiniam  Fest  2012  –  We’re  doing  a  2  week   Machinima  Online  Open  Course  starting  on  Jun  4th  and  running  for  2  weeks   until  Jun  18th.  This  course  will  include  Machinima  creation,  creative  commons   and  outreach  for  the  SIGVE  EduMachinima  Fest.       Since  this  is  an  open  course  –  feel  free  to  participate  at  any  level  you  wish  –   lurkers  welcome!  We’ll  need  actors,  critics  and  of  course  a  viral  video  team!     For  more  info  or  to  sign  up  go  to  P2PU        

Machinima Stage  Coach  Shot     Be  sure  to  check  out  the  submissions  for  the  SIGVE  EDuMachinima   Festival  2012  at­‐-­‐ EduMachinima+Festival+2012  .    Winners  will  be  announced  at  ISTE   2012  June  24  -­‐27,  2012.    


2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards

CONGRATULATIONS TO  OUR   VEJ  Reader’s  Choice  Award  WINNERS!    


Favorite Virtual World. . .

Second Life

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


Favorite Educational Sim/Site in Second Life. . .

Front Range http:// secondlife/Front %20Range/136/119/33

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


Favorite Educational Event During The 2011-2012 Year In A Virtual World. . .

VWBPE 2012 http://

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


Favorite World/Environment/ Game To Spend Time In . . .

Second Life

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


Favorite Freebee Store/Shop In A Virtual World. . .

The Free Dove secondlife/Gallii/121/105/33

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


Favorite Place To Get Information About Happenings In Virtual Worlds. . .

Gridjumper’s Blog

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


Favorite Second Life Fashion Designer. . .

Swaffette Firefly SF Design secondlife/Lotus/229/228/142

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards



Favorite Place To Go To Relax & Have Fun. . .

Hang Out At My Own Sim/Property

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


Favorite Second Life Theme Build/ Sim. . .

Caledon 19th Century Victorian Steampunk secondlife/Caledon/ 130/97/37 destination/caledon-quest

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


Favorite Educational Museum or Sim. . .

The Holocaust Museum watch?v=KYvKZ_i4j60 secondlife/US%20Holocaust %20Museum1/1/35/27

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


Best Orientation Tutorial/Sim/ Website For Newcomers. . . Virtual Ability Island secondlife/Virtual%20Ability/ 128/128/23

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


Avatar/Person Who Taught Or Helped You The Most In Virtual Worlds/Environments. . .

Kavon Zenovka

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


Favorite Thing To Do In A Virtual World With Your Friends. . .

Hang Out At ISTE SIGVE secondlife/EduIsland %209/57/91/22

Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


Best Place To Go To Network & Learn From Other Educators. . .

VSTE Virginia Society for Technology Education group/secondlifevstemembers Island/127/131/23 Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards


On Walkabout By Matt  Poole  aka  Cyrus  Hush   -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐  

Chapter 2:    A  Voyage  to  Heterocera    

Entry 1:

Are you  ready  for  another  expedition  across  a  new  Second  Life  continent?   This  time  we  will  journey  to  Heterocera…  the  atoll  continent.  The  second   continent  to  be  built  in  SL,  Heterocera  looks  a  bit  like  a  cabbage  head  sliced  in   half,  with  roads  and  mountains  forming  concentric  circles  around  an  inner   sea.  


We finished  our  last  journey  on  the  northwestern  shore  of  Sansara.  We  are  on   the  northernmost  shore  this  time,  standing  on  a  dock  next  to  a  big  lighthouse   in  a  sim  called  Purple.  After  a  few  minutes  a  ferry  pulls  into  the  dock  and  a   metal  ramp  lowers  automatically.  We  have  a  seat  and  after  pausing  for  60   seconds  the  automated  ferry  takes  off  heading  north.    

It  pauses  for  another  minute  at  the  ANWR  mid-­‐ocean  derrick.  The  derrick   (rig?  crane?)  is  well  worth  exploring  in  its  own  right  and  offers  several  free   sailboats  for  those  interested.  The  ferry  departs  again  and  after  a  few  water   sims  docks  at  Cecropia  Ocean  Terminal.     This  is  a  big  stone  landing  with  dock  and  lighthouse  as  well  as  a  train  station.   We  are  now  in  train  country.  Heterocera  is  a  major  participant  in  GSLR…  the   Greater  Second  Life  Railway  system.  Like  the  ferry,  these  trains  are  automated  


methods of  mainland  sightseeing.  There  is  a  long  rusty  pipeline  leading  back   to  the  derrick  along  the  ocean  floor.  The  Cecropia  end  appears  to  terminate  in   a  vat  of  green  goo,  right  next  to  a  large  stone  building  called  Artists  of  ZZ  land.  

Behind  this  are  a  shopping  mall  and  the  gateway  to  Calleta  sim.  The  rail  mall   and  grand  Calleta  train  station  are  worth  exploring  even  if  you  are  not  into   trains.  There  is  quite  a  variety  of  functional  rail  vehicles  to  choose  from,  and   there  are  also  free  ones.  Calleta  is  a  major  welcome  center  for  new  residents   and  is  built  on  a  railroad/hobo  theme.  There  are  lots  of  freebies  and  useful   info  but  it  is  laggy.  There  is  also  a  hub  here  for  Yumipod  continental   exploration  tours.  This  one  is  located  on  a  platform  at     This  particular  tour  allows  you  to  sit  on  a  two-­‐prim  automated  scooter  and   take  a  two  hour  narrated  sightseeing  tour  of  southwestern  Heterocera.   To  be  continued…     Entry  2:    Commies!!   Continuing  north  along  the  road,  we  come  to  a  t-­‐bone  intersection  with  Route   1.    Turning  right,  we  pass  from  Calleta  to  Oculea  sim  (still  laggy).    Just  on  the   right  is  a  used  car  lot  filled  with  free  rusty  and  hoboish  but  highly  detailed   vehicles  and  a  free  train.    Pressing  forward,  we  cross  the  border  into  Hera  sim   where  we  promptly  crash.    Hera  seems  to  be  a  full  sim  or  something  because   we  crash  trying  to  enter  or  leave  it,  so  we  backtrack  a  bit  and  follow  a  train  


track North  toward  Neumoegen.    Lag  seems  to  be  much  better  in  this   direction.    

Immediately  to  the  left  looms  a  large  dingy  gray  building  with  the  sign   “Second  Life  Left  Unity.”    This  is  apparently  the  headquarters  for  an  SL-­‐based   socialist  organization  with  web  sites  and  meetings  and  an  agenda  and   everything.    There  are  some  good  freebies  here,  as  well  as  quite  a  bit  of   interesting  content  if  you  are  interested  in  politics  and  activism.       Here  is  the  web  site:     I  am  a  bit  fatigued  by  politics  right  now  so  I  pick  up  an  Amnesty  International   t-­‐shirt  that  looks  cooler  than  the  Greek  Riots  solidarity  one  and  press  on.    A  bit   later  we  leave  the  train  tracts  and  pick  up  a  parallel  road  leading  north.     Entering  Oslar  sim.     Entry  #3,  The  Poet’s  House   Things  are  mostly  always  parallel  in  Heterocera,  as  this  “atoll  continent”  is   roughly  circular  and  basically  looks  like  a  head  of  cabbage  sliced  in  half.    As  we   follow  the  tracks  to  the  North,  to  the  east  lies  the  central  sea  and  to  the  west   lies  a  ring  of  highlands  with  roads  and  train  tracks  essentially  built  in   concentric  circles  around  the  inner  sea.    A  bit  further  on,  and  again  on  the  left,   there  is  a  display  for  the  NeoVictoria  Steampunk  Dark  Roleplay  and   Machinima  build.    This  sounds  intriguing  but  it  doesn’t  seem  to  be  here  and   the  display  doesn’t  say  where  it  is  so  I  keep  moving.    Right  across  the  road  is  a   beautiful  but  laggy  build  called  Forest  Guardian.    We  are  now  entering  Vine.      


In Vine  there  is  another  park-­‐like  build  off  to  the  left  called  the  Poets  House.    I   didn’t  see  a  house,  but  there  is  a  wooded  hollow  with  a  fountain  and  a  gentle   rain  falling.    It’s  not  too  laggy  either  although  I  didn’t  press  my  luck.    Now   entering  Horisme.    A  bit  further  there  are  some  ornate  Japanese  houses…  then   off  to  the  right  a  monstrous  gray  wall  looms.       Entry  #4    The  Great  Wall  of  Second  Life  

The  Great  Wall  covers  12  sims,  is  several  stories  tall  and  is  hollow.    We  skirt  a   dark  stone  Gothic  building  and  mount  a  ramp  to  take  us  into  the  interior.    The   inside  is  stony  and  lit  with  lamps  along  regular  intervals.    Occasionally  an   opening  appears  with  an  opportunity  to  descend  stairs  to  take  us  to  the   outside,  and  of  course  we  could  be  walking  along  the  roadway  at  the  top,  but   this  is  cool.    


This is  not  my  first  visit,  but  for  some  reason  the  Wall  is  laggy  today…  more  so   than  I  remember.    We  shed  hair,  animation  overriders,  prims  and  all  scripts,   drop  our  draw  distances  and  proceed  forward  cautiously.       At  the  end  of  the  Great  Wall  we  are  rewarded  with  trees,  flowers  and  a  whole   lot  of  green.    We  have  reached  SL  Route  6…  the  High  Mountain  Road.     To  the  left  we  are  presented  with  a  steep  climb,  to  the  right  the  topography   drops  abruptly.    We  are  walking  at  an  altitude  of  127  meters  at  road  level.      As   if  to  acknowledge  the  increasingly  alpine  character  of  the  region,  the  road   becomes  rocky  and  unpaved,  with  occasional  overlooks  jutting  out  over  the   valley  below.    It’s  less  laggy  here.    Entering  Plebega.     Entry  #5    Mountains   This  is  getting  to  be  a  bit  like  the  SL  version  of  driving  through  the  Smokies.     The  road  is  curbed  with  logs  on  either  side,  fringed  with  conifers  and  we  just   passed  underneath  a  waterfall.    Alpine  venues  open  up  on  the  left,  inviting  us   to  climb  steep  ramps  to  various  attractions  on  top  of  the  ridgeline.    You  could   spend  months  exploring  this  area  but  we  have  deadlines.         ‘Moving  on.    In  Arches,  we  pass  through  a  stone  tunnel  and  another  waterfall.     It  is  much  less  laggy.    A  gray  and  white  cylindrical  building  styled  like  a   geodesic  dome  appears  to  our  right  and  below  us.    It  looks  like  it  might  be  an   art  gallery  but  upon  closer  inspection  turns  out  to  be  a  skin  shop.    We  press   on.    An  automated  steam  trolley  appears  coming  the  other  way.    It  crosses  a    


sim border,  careens  wildly  and  plunges  over  the  embankment,  turns  and   becomes  stuck  under  the  elevated  roadway  on  which  we  stand.    It  is   unoccupied  and  hopefully  will  self-­‐destruct  so  we  proceed.         The  terrain  to  the  right  has  become  extraordinarily  jagged.    We  cautiously   begin  to  climb  up  the  steep  slope  to  the  right.    The  green  wall  rises  into  the  sky   with  various  buildings  jutting  out  of  its  sides.    At  last  we  ascend  the  topmost   parapet  of  Castel  Bella  atop  Mount  Campion,  the  highest  mountain  on  the   Second  life  mainlands.         We  stand  389  meters  above  sea  level…  no  big  deal  if  you  are  in  a  skybox.    But   this  is  not  a  skybox.    The  ground  is  at  365  meters!       At  this  point  we  feel  the  need  to  descend.    We  turn  abruptly  south  and   descend  swiftly  (free  fall  for  the  most  part).    We  arrive  in  Immidae  at  an   altitude  of  33  meters.     Entry  #  6    Down   In  the  village  of  Peach  we  see  a  few  houses  and  a  roadside  diner  with  a  help   wanted  sign.    It’s  interesting  to  see  that  even  on  the  mainland  each  Second  Life   sim  seems  to  have  its  own  unique  character  and  culture.    Peach  could  be  any   small  town  on  a  two-­‐lane  road  in  America,  with  small  diners,  trees  and  broad   grassy  fields.    Peach  has  that  indefinable  feel  of  a  highway  pit  stop  on  the  way   to  somewhere  else.    



Entry #7    A  Jewish  Neighborhood   That’s  the  name  of  the  build!    Off  to  the  left  of  the  road  we  see  a  large  rather   cluttered  build  dedicated  to  Judaism  and  all  things  Jewish.    It  is  even  marked   on  the  Second  Life  with  a  huge  Star  of  David.    There  are  driedels,  rugs  and   menorahs  galore.    It  is  very  cluttered  but  there  seems  to  be  a  lot  going  on.    We   see  signs  about  classes  and  there  is  a  synagogue  as  well.    In  one  room  there  is   even  what  appears  to  be  a  set  for  a  Jewish  talk  show  called  Torah  Talk.         Entry  #8  -­‐-­‐The  Bridge   We  rejoin  the  road  and  angle  West,  approaching  the  inner  sea.    A  broad   wooden  bridge  snakes  out  across  the  water,  with  stands  and  buildings  built  on   and  around  it.           It  eventually  intersects  with  other  walkways  as  it  crosses  a  narrow  part  of  the   inland  sea,  bringing  us  back  to  our  starting  point  more  or  less,  or  back  to   Neumoegen  at  least,  having  circumnavigated  the  inland  sea.    




We’ve done  it!    We  have  just  managed  to  just  scratch  the  surface  of  another  of   Second  Life’s  mainland  continents.    If  you  enjoyed  this  article  I  would  urge  you   to  undertake  your  own  voyages  of  discovery.    You  never  know  what  you  are   going  to  find  around  the  next  corner!     Until  next  time…     Cheers!   Cyrus            

Two Worlds  Collide  

Enjoying Mint  Juleps  and  Lynchburg  Lemonade  while   watching  the  2012  Kentucky  Derby  at  Aero  Pines  Park   and  Recreation  Area  in  sl  with  my  friends.  Thanks   Cindy  Bolero  for  your  southern  hospitality!  


Art in The Park at Alice Academy    

Arthur Conan  Doyle    

Alice Academy is a whimsical place to learn the basics in Second life. According to Arthur Conan Doyle, “We focus on training students and educators and strive to offer more than read a sign, walk to the next sign, read a sign, walk to the next sign, etc.” Contact Arthur Conan Doyle for more information. For a limited time Alice Academy is exhibiting 49 of the most popular paintings from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The NGA Images are digital images of works for art that the Gallery believes to be in the public domain. You can pick up FREE copies of these amazing paintings at the Art in the Park Exhibit at Alice Academy (154,102,31). It is fun to see pictures such as “The Emperor Napoleon In His Study” from “The Collection: National Gallery of Art” next to Paul Gauguin’s “Self Portrait” prompted in part by Vincent van Gogh’s 1888 portrait series (including La Mousmé) which Gauguin knew from his correspondence with Van Gogh and his brother Theo. This Self–Portrait, painted on a cupboard door from the dining room of an inn in the Breton hamlet Le Pouldu, is one of Gauguin's most important and radical paintings. Check it out – there is a lot to learn and see at Alice Academy!  


Fires of  Genocide    


One of  the  most  moving  exhibits  I  have  seen  in  second  life  is,  Fires  of   Genocide.  The  SIGVE  Tour  Group  visited  the  exhibit  in  May  2012.  What   everyone  saw,  touched  us  all!       The  tour  began  with  a  card  that  read,  “This  is  an  invitation  to  a  one-­‐of-­‐a-­‐kind   immersive  experience  in  Second  Life.    The  Fires  of  Genocide  is  a  storyworld   created  by  Seminole  County  Public  Schools  in  Florida.”         This  is  an  excellent   example  of  digital   storytelling  in  a   virtual  world!           The  card  continued,   Experience  history   repeating  as  you   travel  from  a   historical  example  of   genocide  –  a  Native    


American village  –  to  modern  day  Darfur.    Interact  with  objects  and  people  as   you  become  part  of  the  story  –  but  will  you  become  part  of  the  solution?       That  decision  will  be  yours.    Start  your  adventure  by  using  the  landmark.  Even   though  the  exhibit  is  no  longer  open,  we  wanted  to  share  with  you  some  of  the   pictures  that  helped  to  make  the  story  come  alive.      

To get  a  sense  of  the  experience,  you  can  view  the  Youtube  URL  for  Living   Darfur  music  video  by       Mattafix­‐H-­‐sU  .       This  youtube  video  paints  a  picture  of  what  avatars  experienced  and  saw   during  the  tour.            


Sitting at  the  Heros  of  Hope  Wall  

One  of  the  many  quotes  during  the  experience  that  stood  out  is,  “I  cannot  do   all  the  good  the  world  needs.  But  the  world  needs  all  the  good  I  can  do.”    Jana   Stanfield.    



You can  learn  more  about  Darfur  from  the  voices  of  Darfur.       URL  for  Darfurian  Voices e=Please%20Do%20More     This  website  was  streamed  into  sl  for  people  to  view.    It  was  a  very  moving   experience.  It  is  hard  to  listen  to  these  people  without  realizing  how   important  it  is  for  everyone  to  get  involved.     Even  though  the  exhibit  is  no  longer  available,  please  visit  the  URL’s   mentioned  in  this  article,  and  more  importantly,    

Do  Something,  Say  Something,     You  Can  Make  A  Difference!  



Gridjumper Blogs   ISTE2012   @

  Even  if  you  can’t  make  it  to  San  Diego,  you  can  still  participate  in  the  ISTE   2012  Conference.  You  can  see  how  to  be  connected  by  reading  Gridjumper’s   Blog  from  June  22,  2012  at     Gridjumper  lists  the  schedule.  You  will  want  to  watch  the  live  presentations   on  Monday,  June  25,  2012  from  8:30  –  4:00  slt.  On  Tuesday,  June  26,  2012,  you   will  not  want  to  miss  the  EDuMachinima  Fest  from  5:30  –  7:30  pm  slt.   Grijumper  has  her  potential  car  for  the  drive  in  movie  theater.  The  Machinima   entries  are  from  students  as  well  as  from  teahers  and  voting  is  open  from   Saturday  June  23rd    –  Tuesday  June  26th    at­‐-­‐ EduMachinima+Festival+2012        This  is  one  event  you  will  not  want  to  miss!     Join  the  fun  at: secondlife/EduIsland   9/62/91/22  


By Kae Novak, aka Kavon Zenovka (sl)

In May, a group of educators that just finished up with the Virtual Worlds, Games and Education MOOC decided to take educational DYI a bit further and design an ARG (Alternate Reality Game). So for three weeks, they studied, discussed and constructed components of an ARG. They even presented their thoughts at the University of Michigan’s 4T (Teachers Teaching Teachers about Technology) Virtual Conference The result is ARG Prime! Not your traditional entertainment ARG - but an ARG to teach teachers about ARGs. So from July 9 - July 23, you can be involved in an interactive narrative that crosses multiple media platforms and mixes realities. Are you curious? - good you’ll need to be! Curious enough to go to learn a little more about ARGs? Look for the Rabbithole (like Alice in Wonderland) at SIGVE in San Diego or at SIGVE HQ in Second Life during the ISTE conference. But if you are ready and willing to just swallow the red pill right now - go here to sign up for what will hopefully be two weeks of challenge, hard fun, flow and fiero!


Prometheus Bound Machinima

By Stephen A. Schrum (Phorkyad Acropolis in Second Life®) This machinima project (found at began as a Blended Reality Event in December 2011. I had selected four student actors to accompany me in presenting the ancient Greek tragedy, Prometheus Bound.1

These actors sat on stage, with me off to the side, all logged into Second Life (SL). I had another student logged into SL who acted as our “ideal spectator”; her laptop was connected to an LCD projector, and her perspective served as the theatre audience’s view of the world. Her laptop was also connected to speakers, and so the in-world audio was audible for those in the theatre. There were also virtual audience members present in the SL performance space. While there were some problems with the performance (notably the audio, which—between the speakers and the live actors, created a kind of echo for the


audience), the performances did serve as a good set of rehearsals for the machinima to follow. I had decided to create a video record of the performance, not only to archive the work we had done, but also for use in a theatre conference presentation on the creation of the production later in 2012. As our dramaturge2 had not been able to attend the online performances, it would be her way of seeing what had been done, to comment on it as part of our conference panel.

In order to create the machinima, I decided to follow a typical cinematic shooting schedule. In preparation for this, I went through the play script and first divided it into scenes. This was easily determined by who is on stage: Prometheus alone is Scene 1, and when the Daughter of Oceanus joins him, we move into Scene 2, and so on. I then broke each scene into various shots, designating each with a scene number and letter, and assigned codes for the shots: for example, CU for close-up, 3SHOT for a shot with three characters in it. The result appeared something like this. Â

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DAUGHTER OF OCEANUS Alas, O Fate, I shudder to behold the plight that has befallen Io.



PROMETHEUS You lament and are full of fear all too soon. Wait until you have learned the rest as well.



3SHOT DAUGHTER OF OCEANUS Proceed; tell all. It is comforting for the sick to know clearly beforehand what pain still awaits them. MED

PROMETHEUS You gained your former request easily from me; for you first desired the story of her ordeal from her own lips. Hear now the sequel, the sufferings this maid is fated to endure at Hera's hand.

I then made appointments with each of my actors to meet me in SL. I did not need the entire cast at the same time, since the scenes mostly consisted of dialogues of one character with Prometheus—and I was always present, as I played Prometheus. (The one exception to this is the scene with Prometheus, Io and the Daughter of Oceanus.) Using Snapz Pro X to capture the audio and video of each shot, I quickly reviewed each piece of video to make sure there were no problems with it, and then resaved it with the scene number/letter designation. This organization allowed me, once I had completed all of the shots, to easily import them into iMovie and to add them to the timeline in numerical order. However, one problem I had earlier noticed during screen capture became more evident, and was, in fact, something I had noted even during our live performances. Due to the variability of the students’ laptops—in age, processors, and microphones—the audio was wildly inconsistent. One actor would be almost inaudible, while another sounded distorted from being too loud. To fix this problem, I once again borrowed a typical Hollywood convention: that of automated dialogue replacement (ADR). Again, I summoned each of the actors, this time to my RL office, rather than in SL. I set up a microphone, and ran the audio into Garageband. Each of the actors recorded their lines in order, pausing between lines so I could later cut and paste. Once I had all of the lines recorded, I assembled the audio track for the film, each voice on a separate track. This separation allowed me to add different effects to the voices, and so Prometheus and


Oceanus, both Titans, sounded larger than life, after I added Reverb and the Vocal Transformer to lower the pitch of the voices. To Hermes and the Daughter of Oceanus, as the offspring of Titans, I added the same effects, but with less Reverb. I left Io’s voice unaltered, since the character is a human, and the actor did excellent vocal work without any technical assistance.

A more tedious process ensued, as I dropped the resulting audio file (after exporting to iTunes) into iMovie, and then trimmed the video to fit the audio. At times, I had a bit too much video, and easily deleted a few frames at the beginning or ending of a shot so the video matched the audio. More difficulty arose when long speeches began and the video ended too soon. Here I inserted copied closeups of other characters as cut-away reaction shots. For more interest, I also recorded some musical moments in Garageband, using the built-in keyboard and synth textures. While I would have liked an electronic music bed throughout the entire piece, it seemed impractical and too time-consuming, and so I settled for some short stings to emphasize entrances. In the final video, I did omit something I had done with the live performance. At the end, to frame the piece (having something the same, or similar, happen at the beginning and ending), I played the scream of the eagle, suggesting it was


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returning to again devour Prometheus’ liver. For the performances, the texture of the seating area would suddenly change from rock to a photo of a huge gaping mouth, making it appear that the audience was about to be swallowed whole. While this fit in with the idea behind the live performance, it would have seemed out of place at the end of the machinima. I also discovered, on viewing the finished project, that I have an Ed Wood moment. When Hermes first arrives, his avatar nametag (“Tucch”) is visible. Hermes’ scene was the first I shot, and I neglected to hide the titles until after that shot. I also missed it when reviewing the shot immediately after doing it. Ideally, I would have had more control over the environmental settings for the shooting (I own the land, but am not able to change those settings) for a more consistent look among the shots in the different scenes. The most successful elements were the settings and costumes. I turned the stage design over to an expert builder, Tash Porthos (owner of “[dirty.little.secret]”), and selected skins, shapes, hairstyles and costumes for the characters from various in-world vendors with the actors’ input. Overall, the look of the production works, the audio—after extensive re-recording—sounds very good, and the video as a whole is a solid representation of the work we did presenting theatre in Second Life.


This is the second Greek tragedy I have staged in Second Life; the first was Euripides’ The Bacchae in 2008. 2 A dramaturge researches a play’s history and the culture of the society of the time in which it was written, and generally supplies notes for the playbill of program.  




Virtual Education Journal  

This is the 1st anniversay issue of the Virtual Education Journal - VEJ.

Virtual Education Journal  

This is the 1st anniversay issue of the Virtual Education Journal - VEJ.