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Today, we are shining a spotlight on VWEC, an innovative Eduverse in Second Life designed to provide educators with support and advocacy for educational initiatives in virtual worlds. Learn more from coordinators Valibrarian Gregg, Elli Pinion, and Dodge Threebeards.


What is VWEC, how did it get started, and which communities are involved? 
VWEC stands for the Virtual Worlds Education Consortium, and it began in January of 2021 when many educators realized we had been working for years in isolation and we saw a need to meet to share best practices, ways to advocate for education in virtual worlds, and tips for overcoming obstacles.   

We moved to the newly created VWEC Eduverse in May 2022. We have 48 groups that have regions located in the Eduverse and almost 400 members in the VWEC Group.

First Meeting of VWEC Jan 2021

What are some of the goals of VWEC? 
Initially, our intention was to meet quarterly to discuss and brainstorm about the future of education in Second Life and support educators. We gathered the educational groups that we knew about together and wanted to highlight them, as there was no need to reinvent the amazing “wheel” of work that was already being done here. And it took off! And we have a Welcome Center and Eduverse Reserve.

Now we have formal Vision and Mission Statements:

Vision: The goal of the Virtual Worlds Education Consortium (VWEC) is to bring educators together to share what practices have been successful and to tackle obstacles across virtual platforms and communities.

Mission: The Virtual Worlds Education Consortium connects educators, learners, digital citizens, and virtual communities of learning to share and develop best practices for teaching and learning in virtual spaces.

VWEC Eduverse

Tell us more about the frequent events that happen and how Second Life Residents can get involved.
In addition to our Quarterly Meetings, we have five weekly Fireside Chats where educators in both formal education and non-profits who also teach, can share their experiences and tips, as well as talk about research and approaches. The VWEC Fireside Chats are held in English, Spanish, and Polish at various times of the day to bring in time zones across the globe.

VWEC also presents a bi-monthly Expert Series that showcases successful teaching and learning in Second Life. There are monthly tours of educational communities, as well.  All events are on the website at vweconsortium.org, as well as InWorld.
We encourage members to help at our Info Center and through our Instructor Development Projects.

VWEC Expert Series.png
VWEC Expert Series - Photo by PI.Illios

How can educators not yet in Second Life join VWEC?
New educators can find more information on our website at vweconsortium.org. If email is a preference, we have a Google group at metaverselibraries@googlegroups.com. We are happy for them to email us directly for information.   

As a Community Gateway, instructors or their students can join Second Life on our website at https://www.vweconsortium.org/sign-in/secondlife.php. They will land at the VWEC Welcome Plaza to find teleporters to orientation gateways.   

All three of you also have individual educational projects related to the VWEC, tell us about some of those.

Valibrarian Gregg (Dr. Valerie Hill in RL), a professor of Library and Information Science has a background as an educator and librarian. Currently, Val is the Co-Coordinator for the VWEC and is responsible for the VWEC Info Center. She serves as the director of the Community Virtual Library which is a real library run by information professionals in a virtual world. In addition to supporting VWEC, the library holds programs, shares exhibits, provides classes on information literacy (metaliteracy in digital culture), and provides traditional library services alongside innovative metaverse resources such as databases, holodeck read-alouds, and tours of immersive educational simulations. Val’s research on changing literacy led to the adoption of the term metamodernism (our current philosophical moment) in her book Metamodernism and Changing Literacy and numerous research articles, webinars, and presentations on digital citizenship, metaliteracy, and virtual learning environments.

Elli Pinion (Dr. Becky Adams in RL) was the Director of Online Course Development and teaches Educational Technology and Virtual Worlds at the University of New Mexico. She is the Co-Coordinator for the VWEC. Presently, she is working to complete the Welcome Center since the initial build Opening Ceremonies, develop our Models for Teaching exhibit hosting seven instructors who teach in Virtual Worlds, expand the Educational Resources area, is establishing the Eduverse Representative Assembly, and support our teams who are part of the VWEC including our first Student Challenge-athon coming this fall. Elli’s research is in Online Professional Development for Educators.

Dodge Threebeards (Dr. Greg Perrier in RL) has managed the Second Life program for the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) since December 2012. He taught biology at NOVA for many years and incorporated interactive activities in Second Life into his classes. As manager of the program for NOVA, he developed workshops to increase faculty and staff interest in using Second Life with students. Pre-pandemic, NOVA averaged about 400 students a year using Second Life. Use declined drastically during the pandemic as NOVA required all faculty to use Zoom and commercial online labs, but it has climbed to over 90 students using Second Life in the spring semester of 2023. During his initial year in Second Life, he benefited greatly from the support and advice from more experienced educators. Thus, he was excited to see VWEC emerge as a program to provide such support and advice as well as encourage collaboration among educators.

VWEC Quarterly Meetings.png
VWEC Quarterly Meetings - Photo by PI.Illios

Where can people learn more about VWEC? Please share links to your sites and social media accounts.
The best place to learn about VWEC is at our website vweconsortium.org and InWorld
VWEC EduversePlaza 
VWEC Eduverse Plaza Welcome Center
VWEC Eduverse Plaza Deck and Fireside Chat
VWEC Eduverse Plaza Info Center   

Flickr Group
VWEC YouTube channel has curated playlists across educational communities

For more information contact:
Becky Adams: reada321@unm.edu  
Valerie Hill: valibrarian@gmail.com  
Greg Perrier: gperrier@nvcc.edu

VWEC Info Center.jpg

Thank you, Val, Elli, and Dodge for your inspirational work at VWEC. We’re looking forward to attending VWEC’s first anniversary on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 11:00 am PT!


Each of our Spotlight posts features a different Resident to showcase the spectrum of experiences and personalities found in our virtual world. If you have created something inworld that you’re proud of, or have had a deeply meaningful experience that could brighten someone else’s day, please sign up! More info here: https://second.life/spotlight-signup 

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