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    Posted March 22, 2011 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Stories from Second Life

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    The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference


    This past week, from March 17th to March 19th, the Fourth Annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference was held in Second Life. This is a huge event which included 190 presenters, 40 poster exhibits and over 30 machinima, plus social events and trips to other virtual worlds, including World of Warcraft and SpotOn3D, amongst others.

    The theme this year was “You are Here”. According to the VWBPE website, http://vwbpe.org, “The divide between what is real and what is virtual is a state of mind. We learn everywhere and you are already here.” Educators from different institutions all over the (real) world met to discuss how they are using virtual platforms to teach, meet, create projects, create communities and socialize, in order to exchange ideas and enhance education using the technology available today.

    Presentations demonstrated that virtual worlds are being used by individuals from very diverse disciplines – the humanities, science (physical and life sciences), engineering and the arts. I attended talks about how SL is used to teach lab techniques, as a place for caregivers to meet and discuss the issues they face, to learn about how we learn and how students can develop their skills and also about accessibility issues. As can be seen from this very short list, the educational opportunities provided by virtual worlds are wide ranging. I was able to only scratch the surface, but many presentations were recorded and can be viewed online via the VWBPE website.

    It is still possible to visit the conference site, including the poster presentation areas and the teen grid fair which will be in place until March 28.

    1.     Poster Area

    2.    Teen Grid Fair

    3.     A presentation during the conference

    4.     Botgirl Questi and Fourworlds Ra giving the opening keynote address

    5.    Central Auditorium – the builds were influenced by steampunk and were quite spectacular

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