Gallery

VWBPE 2012 – The Sequel….MOOC

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Conferences are a great immersive experience effective in igniting action and implementation of new ideas.  The VWBPE 2012 Conference has provided an abundance of ideas, from using virtual games (yes games) for learning to using virtual environments for business and … Continue reading

Gallery

Enhance your Virtual World IQ; Join A MOOC

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Sign-ups for “A Virtual Worlds, Games and Education Tour” MOOC begins today March 7 at the P2P U site.  The 4-week open and free course aligns with  ISTE NETS standards for teachers and gives VWBPE Conference participants more time to deepen knowledge regarding … Continue reading

Gallery

VWBPE Conference 2012

This gallery contains 3 photos.

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) Conference will take place in Second Life, with tours to other virtual environments,  on March 15-18.  Conference organizers are requesting those interested to register for the event at http://vwbpe12.eventbrite.com/.  The free conference … Continue reading

Gallery

Take a Photo, Capture an Idea in the Virtual World

This gallery contains 4 photos.

We all take photographs but few of us know how to take the photograph that causes people to stare.   A weekly gathering provides virtual world artists, interested individuals, and  the curious  an opportunity to hone the skills of image/idea … Continue reading

Gallery

Pixellated Ballet Entertains Audiences in a Virtual Environment

This gallery contains 5 photos.

There is an exciting, affordable  potential for attending classical ballet performances even in light of educational cuts in the arts and curtailed field trips.  The creation of this virtual ballet art form does not come without an intense amount of work … Continue reading

Gallery

Virtual Pioneers To Host History Conference 2012- Virtually

This gallery contains 3 photos.

The Virtual Pioneers are hosting the Second Annual History Conference 2012 on Friday, January 20 – Saturday January 21.  All educators, particularly those who teach the Social Studies are invited to attend this fun, free event online. You will need to … Continue reading

Gallery

Assess the Past Year and Plan for the New One

This gallery contains 5 photos.

I’ll leave  predictions and trend reporting to others, but I can assess my activity and plan for what I hope to learn and do this coming year.  Perhaps it will be helpful for teachers with ambitions in innovation for teaching … Continue reading

Gallery

Choreographed Particles

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Some performances in Virtual Worlds are simulations of real world events, others are entirely unique and can really only be totally appreciated if attended “inworld”.  One of these is the work of Tyrehl Byk in Second Life.  Tyrehl presents more than … Continue reading

Gallery

Virtually Speaking: SIGVE Speaker Series

The 3rd Tuesday of every month ISTE hosts a speaker at the ISTE Island Auditorium- Second Life. Speakers are educators and researchers from both the K-12 and higher education sector. The one-hour session uses a format of a typical talk-show, … Continue reading

Collegiality and Collaboration in the Virtual Environment

Teaching is something of an isolating profession.  Teachers close their doors and instruct, at all grade levels and every subject.  Teachers work alone, receiving an “observation” compliance visit by the supervising administrator as part of the annual evaluation. The structure of school in the United States makes shared planning time difficult if not impossible, students need supervision at all times so teachers cannot have the same planning time and of course the one hour, or less, of “planning” time is the only time a teacher can use the rest room, take a breather, contact parents, check the mailbox and prepare materials for the rest of the day or the next day.  Lunch is typically a half hour, which often includes escorting students to the cafeteria and back to class.  Collegiality and collaboration are not easily achieved when you don’t see or have time with your colleagues.  A school calendar  typically provides a planning day once a quarter or grading period, that’s when grades are due.  So when can teachers share, discuss, plan and collaborate?  After hours.

I have personally found virtual environments to be a space and time for synchronous collegiality and collaboration.  On Tuesday nights I visit ISTE Island on Second Life, sometimes for a planned event and sometimes just to talk to teachers about challenges I’m having and get suggestions.  I have met teachers from various states and countries with whom I share struggles and ideas.  Periodically I logon to Reaction Grid or Opensim and sometimes find a teacher I have met online to exchange strategies and developments.  I visit classes in session and interact with students, the collegiality and trust required of a Professional Learning Community (PLC)  exist despite never having actually met my virtual colleagues.   PLNs and social/professional networking sites offer a sort of sharing and collegiality, it is not the same as on-the-spot, in world “in-person” communication.  I think of it as a cross between face-to-face and online.  Much is available about the connections made in virtual settings. The authenticity of virtual friendships becomes evident to anyone who spends any time in this type of environment .

My virtual friends include people who are not teachers, people I may never have met as someone who moves primarily in an  educator world.  Interactions with these people enrich me both personally and professionally.  I have a better idea of trends and realities to discuss with students and peers;  jobs in the STEM area, business planning, software and data visualization tools, the music business. A real plus was car buying advice  received from a virtual friend, the mechanical engineer and part-time SL space explorer.  I have met people from other countries and have conversed with the assistance of an instant translator, picked up a little Italian and improved my Spanish.

Virtual worlds are not the answer to life, but they do offer a relatively easy and inexpensive opportunity to interact with colleagues and professionals that can help you grow.

Related Article:

5 Reasons Collaboration Matters