March 14, 2019: Open Forum

Transcript of the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable: March 14, 2019

Topic: Open Forum

2019-03-14 VWER - Open Forum_002

Photos by Beth Ghostraven

The topic for this week’s meeting will be: Open Forum! Come join us to talk about whatever’s on your mind about education in virtual worlds.


Sheila Yoshikawa: Hi everyone, and welcome to the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable. We meet on Thursdays at 12 noon SLT for an hour. VWER is a forum to educate and inform the community about issues that are important and relevant to education in virtual worlds.

Sheila Yoshikawa: This is a public meeting, so we will be keeping and publishing a transcript. The transcripts can be found at The VWER continues to develop a community of educators from around the world.

Sheila Yoshikawa: Please join the VWER group here in SL. If you are on Facebook please join our group there I am moderating today.

Sheila Yoshikawa: The topic for this week’s meeting will be: Open Forum

Sheila Yoshikawa: Let’s start as we normally do and introduce ourselves. As usual we will be in text chat for the whole session.

Sheila Yoshikawa: I teach and research in the Information School at the University of Sheffield, UK, and am VWER lead organiser.

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): Selby Evans, Blogger,

What would I want in a MUVE if I were using it to teach a class?

Death for dessert: Another workshop model: Detective, compact

Kitely for educators: A virtual campus, educational places, educational products

I am working with a person who is setting up a place for elderly
I am working with a person who is setting up instructional games to give practice in high school math.

The games work well in paper version. They are designed to be used by teachers as a student assignment.

Beth Ghostraven: I’m Beth Ghostraven, middle school teacher-librarian in RL and owner of the Book and Tankard Pub in Victoria City, Caledon in SL; owner of Ghostraven Professional Attire, classic clothing for educators in SL (; Communications Chair for the VWBPE Conference (; Communications Chair and Focus Sessions Producer for the ISTE Virtual Environments Network; and unofficial liaison between education groups in SL. For information on events for the educational groups that I work with, see the ISTE VEN Massive Open Online Calendar at; Twitter: @booklady9 I’ll be taking photos to publish with the transcript and recording this session on video; if you have any objection, please IM me.

Marly (marly.milena): Niela Miller, MS Ed/Communications, Gestaltist, creativist, Octagon:Creative Exploration group in SL, watch for announcements of my VWBPE sessions and other programs

Sheila Yoshikawa: Also I am part of the panel at a VWBPE session, representing VWER  April 5th

Elli Pinion: Becky Adams, University of New Mexico, recently retired Director for Online Course Development and instructor, Executive Board for VWBPE

Beth Ghostraven: Hi Edward, nice to see you–it’s been a while

Edward Tarber: hi everyone …. DST in the US almost fooled me 🙂

Sheila Yoshikawa: indeed!

Elli Pinion: We are so glad to have you, Sheila!

Edward Tarber: I was busy adding new features to cybaLOUNGE 😉

Sheila Yoshikawa: 😉

Sheila Yoshikawa: So, what are the new features @Ed, do tell

Beth Ghostraven: I’d like to hear about them, too!

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): He added Physics

Edward Tarber: there now is a real physics engine integrated … for teachers to create and demonstrate mechanical experiments. Collision detection was improved, and most important, voice is now working even on iPads with Safari mobile, meaning you can access and interact with a virtual world from your tablet or smartphone with all features

Beth Ghostraven: will it work with Chromebooks, Ed?

Elli Pinion: That’s excellent!

Edward Tarber: there even are mobile controls where you can control your avi with a “virtual” joystick

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): Hello all

Stranger Nightfire: hello Sheila

Sheila Yoshikawa: this is an “open forum” week and Ed was telling us about new features in Cybalounge

Edward Tarber: it does work on all newer chromebooks … that’s one of our main platforms for testing

Beth Ghostraven: that’s great; lots of schools use those for students

Sheila Yoshikawa: and it would work on an ipad?

Edward Tarber: yes … if you have iOS 12 then it is working on your iPad; iPhone, too, and most android devices with chrome browser

Sheila Yoshikawa: oh i just saw you said it did, sorry

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): are you discussing a new client for SL?

Sheila Yoshikawa: no, sadly, Ed’s virtual world Cybalounge

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): Ed has a web-world

Beth Ghostraven: no, Ed is telling us about his browser-based virtual world

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): Ah, I see

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): thanks

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): runs in a browser

Sheila Yoshikawa: could you throw in the url @ed ? We have visited there in the past

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): and it’s being used for education purposes I suppose?

Edward Tarber: sure … you can always find the latest build at

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): thank you Ed

Edward Tarber: it can be used like SL or OpenSim for literally everything … but we also focus on education

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): I am in that place every weekday at 10:00–10:30 Pacific time;  come ask questions

Edward Tarber: last October we started with 340 students doing their group assignments in virtual rooms

Sheila Yoshikawa: what kind of classes were those @Ed?

Edward Tarber: the classes all were about organizational behaviour

Marly (marly.milena): Yesterday, I showed six people, average age 60+, Second Life. One, a computer helper, had it on his screen as well.  They were fascinated but didn’t feel they had the time to devote to it but a few wanted to tell their kids about it (In their 20’s 30’s). I keep trying to get more elders here but a lot of resistance

Sheila Yoshikawa: that’s good @Marly! Yes, “not enough time” sounds like a polite way of saying “I don’t want to spend time on it”?

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Selby, you mentioned creating a place for older people – was that in CybaLounge?

Edward Tarber: that’s one more reason for web based virtual worlds … less complexity, easy access and no installation of software whatsoever

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): I have a friend in Australia who is creating a  place in OpenSim for “seniors”

Marly (marly.milena): @Edward, but the <cons> include no built-in student population for those of us not connected to institutions of learning.  Second Life is still the best for that

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): I’m in 🙂

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): Sheila — that is the activity you were asking about

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Selby, what sort of features will it have?

Marly (marly.milena): It also provides a lot more entertainment and opportunities for collaboration (SL)

Edward Tarber: I just received an email about Lynn entering 🙂

Sheila Yoshikawa: 😉

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): She is just setting it up—she is open to anything she can do.

Marly (marly.milena): I am not motivated to go to open sims. I would much rather be with kindred spirits of ANY age than elders with whom I might or might not have anything else in common (Sorry to be playing Devil’s Advocate here)

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): a collaboration with SL should help this going I’d say; advertise it among those in SL who may be interested in participating.

Sheila Yoshikawa: that’s an interesting point @Marly, and here ist isn’t so obvious that one is an elder

Sheila Yoshikawa: I mean, it is indeed one of the things I like about it

Edward Tarber: @Marly: I agree …. but many institutions don’t allow software installations on their PCs … so browser based alternatives are necessary for these

Beth Ghostraven: it’s funny, in SL I tend to look down on people whose behavior seems overly young–maybe that’s just me?

Sheila Yoshikawa: If we were interested in getting involved @Selby, with the Australian initiative, who would we contact?

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): I am telling her about activities in SL

Sheila Yoshikawa: what would you mean by “overly young” @Beth?

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): Just a min sheila

Marly (marly.milena): Yes, I know there are positives about it.  I just want to keep reminding our group that some of us are educators who are not academics but who do a lot of virtual teaching

Sheila Yoshikawa: I mean how would it manifest?

Beth Ghostraven: immature behavior and speech (of course, there are plenty of elders who behave immaturely, lol)

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Marly and again I see that as a benefit, I get to know people I otherwise wouldn’t

Sheila Yoshikawa: and, to balance, I know some very polite young people lol

Beth Ghostraven: Sheila, yes :o)

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): The lady with focus on seniors is Erica Lady

Elli Pinion: The older I get the younger they are.  lol

Sheila Yoshikawa: thanks @Selby!

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): That has certain advantages Elli 😀

Elli Pinion: It does!

Marly (marly.milena): I guess I’d better put my white hair on!  LOL

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): See– I have white hair

Sheila Yoshikawa: if one is academic, and looking for funding, sometimes you might propose a project about older people and their “special needs” because that’s how you can get a funder’s attention

Elli Pinion: Thinkerer looks dashing in it.

Elli Pinion: Good point.

Sheila Yoshikawa: I don’t see any need for pixel me to look the same a flesh and blood me

Marly (marly.milena): In RL, I get many more compliments with gray-white hair than I ever did when I colored it! LOL

Sheila Yoshikawa: this is still an expression of “me”

Marly (marly.milena): I love the options for changing hair styles, colors, body shape, etc that exists here!

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): yes Sheila, many elderly tend to be rather lonely and the number of elderly online is increasing as we see. This would be another means to get them more out in the virtual open.

Edward Tarber: yes … it’s much easier to find people with common interests in virtual worlds

Sheila Yoshikawa: lol Marly. My mother’s family go grey quite late, she wasn’t really grey until her late 80s, I’m going grey a bit younger, but it is quite a nice shade for now – but if I colour it I think I will colour it blue like my avatar!

Elli Pinion: A chance for them to express themselves, as well.

Marly (marly.milena): Haha, I have a few friends with blue hair. What fun!

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): “In a web page there may be a million people looking at it, but you are alone.  In a virtual world, you are never alone unless you want to be.”

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): it can even help as a certain way of social control, if someone hasn’t come online for a bit, one might be triggered to seek RL contact.

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Selby, very true

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): sure, but in something like Cybalounge, people would get to know each other, especially if they are of a certain age.

Elli Pinion: Nice thought, Selby.  I found SL to be very lonely when I first came here.  Guess I didn’t know the tricks.

Sheila Yoshikawa: lol I’m kind of aware that numerous of us here are of a certain age e.g. I’m above the age to claim my pension in the UK, though I haven’t retired

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Elli, hopefully you find it a bit less lonely now?

Marly (marly.milena): @Elli, it certainly helps to belong to a few groups that meet regularly like this one

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): almost there, but not getting my white hair out yet.

Elli Pinion: Oh yes!  But I like to remember that new people often don’t know how to get to know others.

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Elli or to have a friend help you into the world and get you on your feet, so to speak

Elli Pinion: exactly

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): I retired about 25 years ago.

Sheila Yoshikawa: it’s like moving  into a new town or city physically

Marly (marly.milena): And you’re busier than ever, right, Selby?

Elli Pinion: Wow, bet you’ve been having fun these last 25.

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): I have been –yes

Elli Pinion: @Sheila:  It really is

Sheila Yoshikawa: when I moved jobs to Sheffield, where I am now, I had my workplace but it was still a process of finding my way (my husband’s based in another city)

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): I used to mentor newbies at orientation station, we welcomed new people and took them around a few places and teaching them the basics.

Sheila Yoshikawa: though I’m someone who LIKES being on her own quite a bit; I think there is a difference between choosing to be on your own and being lonely

Elli Pinion: for sure.  Though you have work, have to go to the grocery, often have kids….those things are natural ways to meet people in RL

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Lynn yes mentoring is very useful

Marly (marly.milena): @Sheila, my wasband and I visited Sheffield years ago and went to meet someone in the psychology dept of your university!

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Ed have you thought of mentoring programmes for cybalounge?

Elli Pinion: Very helpful, Lynn.  And fun for you, I’ll bet

Edward Tarber: yes, we have … but we need some more partners around the world (especially the US) … we can’t cover all time zones from Europe 🙂

Marly (marly.milena): I do mentoring in my regular life with creative types and absolutely love it.  Would like to do more here!

Elli Pinion: Mentoring comes up often

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Marly the city has changed quite a bit in the last 20 years – for the better in terms of looking happier, some really awful buildings knocked down and nicer ones built, more place to have coffee…

Marly (marly.milena): @Sheila—sounds good!

Sheila Yoshikawa: yes, Sheffield was in real decline after the steel industry collapsed, now it’s more of a university city, there are 2 universities

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): I don’t see any reason why one wouldn’t find SL mentors willing to help out with this.

Sheila Yoshikawa: yes, if you can mentor in one virtual world you can mentor in another I would think

Edward Tarber: of course … the differences are more technical than anything else

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): and mentoring elderly for a good cause should sound appealing enough

Sheila Yoshikawa: any other topics or questions people want to bring up?

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): I am available to mentor when I am in CybaLOUNGE

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): I’m curious if anyone has educational experience with VR, as in the use of VR headsets

Marly (marly.milena): I want to tell people about four programs I will be doing in SL this spring toward end of hour

Sheila Yoshikawa: I haven’t taught with VR, I have just tried VR at exhibitions and so forth

Marly (marly.milena): I have never tried VR but am curious

Sheila Yoshikawa: have you had experience @Lynn?

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): I have not tried the headsets — have no plans to do that

Sheila Yoshikawa: I get a bit irritated that it is seen as so novel, as if no one had done things in virtual worlds

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): I’ve done a VR demo once, and I found it rather disappointing, but as technology advances and there now also is Mixed Reality it might become interesting.

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): I am going for lower costs and ease of access.

Sheila Yoshikawa: I think irritation is at the top of my mind as this was just published

Stranger Nightfire: i find the potentials for augmented reality both fascinating and terrifying

Sheila Yoshikawa: JISC is the UK agency that promotes and supports use of tech in higher education in the UK

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): hmm chatbots doesn’t sound very appealing…

Elli Pinion: I’ve had a little experience, but not that successful with VR.  I prefer when students can “create” rather than just experience. I hear VR creation is easier now

Sheila Yoshikawa: and they give as one thing that could transform teaching “Use of VR in assessment” but then link to

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): Stereo viewing has been around in various forms since the late 1800’s.  It has always been a novelty — and nothing more.

Stereopticon (Stereoscope Viewer)

Marly (marly.milena): I am waiting for a swing back to craving face-to-face contact by a culture that has been swallowed by technology!

Sheila Yoshikawa: but anyway the article is really rather superficial

Elli Pinion: @Stranger – agree!

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Marly, i think that has happened now in some cases

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): This is what made me wonder:

Sheila Yoshikawa: people valuing it more – but in some cases finding it hard to break habits of staring at your phone

Elli Pinion: @Lynn:  Definitely good uses for it.

Marly (marly.milena): Have you-all been seeing the scandal that has occurred in the U.S. about parents paying bribes to get their kids into elite schools?  Horrifying, the desperation!

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): nothing can beat face-to-face contact, and parents should be more aware of that…

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Lynn though it is also where they could be saying that virtual worlds simulations have also been used for some years

Marly (marly.milena): And suicide rates have increased among young adults who are pressured beyond belief

Stranger Nightfire: amazingly the ever ahead of his time Arthur C. Clarke wrote a story way back in the 50s where the human race had disappeared from the face of the earth , they were all catatonic bodies in huge domes where they were all plugged into some kind of virtual reality

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): I live in an old folk’s home — I have plenty of face-to-face contact–with people who want to tell me about their grandchildren.  I do not seek that.

Elli Pinion: “Practicing” on something you can’t hurt is good; but doing it in isolation…worrisome.  I’m told VR and groups are getting more popular

Marly (marly.milena): @Stranger,  yes, SF has always been good at imagining worst case scenarios!  LOL

Sheila Yoshikawa: also @Stranger a story by E.M. Foster “The Machine Stops” written in the 1920s which is very good

Beth Ghostraven: Elli, what do you mean by “VR and groups”?

Elli Pinion: More than one person interacting with the same VR experience

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Selby can sympathise with that!!!

Beth Ghostraven: @Elli so similar to being in a virtual world?

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): Selby, maybe it becomes less critical at a certain age, and I don’t mean elderly, but for children in the ages where they need to develop social skills it’s quite different.

Beth Ghostraven: just not a persistent one?

Elli Pinion: @Beth a very small VW, but yes

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Elli @Beth yes I think so, there is a specific name for that type of VR ….

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): do you mean Sansar?

Elli Pinion: lol, perhaps

Elli Pinion: but not just in Sansar.

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): That’s right. Lynn.

Elli Pinion: VR experiences that can include more than one person at a time.

Sheila Yoshikawa:

Sheila Yoshikawa: Hmm it’s on Steam too, sorry, getting distracted here, I play a few games on Steam

Elli Pinion: Interesting…these seem very fluid.

Sheila Yoshikawa: the avatars look SL circa 2008…..

Sheila Yoshikawa: but I’m a slave to fashion

Elli Pinion: hahahaha!

Sheila Yoshikawa: In fact I have dipped into Sansar recently now I have a better computer and again that is accessible via Steam

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): agrees that fashion can be terribly addictive

Elli Pinion: I’ve gone to Sansar, some

Sheila Yoshikawa: gone & stayed?

Elli Pinion: not really

Sheila Yoshikawa: or gone and left?

Elli Pinion: I haven’t been there in a long time.

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): I have tried HiFidelity

Sheila Yoshikawa: There looks like there IS more to see and do, I may report back when I’ve explored further, but it does seem even more demanding of computer power than SL

Sheila Yoshikawa: I mean Sansar

Sheila Yoshikawa: anyway

Elli Pinion: I was required to add VR to one of my classes.

Stranger Nightfire: in theory, the potentials for HiFidelity seem great, but the last time i was there it was certainly not a viable option

Marly (marly.milena): I am passing around descriptions of two main programs I am doing since there is really not enough time to say a lot about them.  Please let me know, ASAP, if you are interested in either one and send to friends who pop into your mind. Thanks!

Elli Pinion: Getting a recent article share with me re:  Sansar

Beth Ghostraven: Marly, thank you

Sheila Yoshikawa: “required”? @Elli

Sheila Yoshikawa: also, thanks Marly, and if anyone else has announcements do throw them in

Marly (marly.milena): We can share the VWBPE sessions we are doing next time.

Elli Pinion: Yes, an ed tech class and they wanted the students informed of it.

Elli Pinion:

Stranger Nightfire: I am afraid that Philip may not have deep enough pockets to pull it off

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Stranger sadly no, I agree

Beth Ghostraven: on March 28 we’ll have the VWBPE Executive Committee here to tell us more about the conference

Elli Pinion: I am open to VR, but think it is expensive and much is being created for students rather than them being able to create things.

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Marly also there is a “VWBPE previews” session the week before VWBPE, on the 28th

Elli Pinion: Go Beth!

Beth Ghostraven: thanks Elli :o)

Sheila Yoshikawa: I mean the VWER session on 28th is a VWER preview

Sheila Yoshikawa: NO

ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville): I am not optimistic about HiFidelity or Sansar for wide use

Beth Ghostraven: Elli is *on* the Exec Committee this year! go Elli!

Sheila Yoshikawa: what I mean the VWER session on 28th is a VWBPE preview

Beth Ghostraven: Sheila, yes

Sheila Yoshikawa: @Selby I agree

Sheila Yoshikawa: the trouble with Sansar is that it isn’t going lure everyone out of SL, but I’m not sure it is distinctive enough to lure non-SLers much either

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): Elli, I was told that the price of decent VR goggles will drop 50% within a year, and they become wearable as well, so one doesn’t need a powerful PC anymore to use them.

Sheila Yoshikawa: any more announcements?

Elli Pinion: @Lynn I would bet that will happen.

Sheila Yoshikawa: and happy St Patrick’s Day for tomorrow

Sheila Yoshikawa: (looking at Beth)

Lynn (glblynlwynlwyg.jestyr): thanks, you too 🙂

Beth Ghostraven: I’ve been wearing green all week in both worlds, lol

Sheila Yoshikawa: 😉

Sheila Yoshikawa: So that’s it for this week, and thanks for coming along


VWER Meeting Transcripts by Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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