Sunday, June 9, 2013

Virtual Worlds
Best Practices in Education 2013 Conference
July 24-27, 2013
Second Life, OpenSim, CloudParty, Unity


Since 2007, second life has been home to the best practices in education conference. As a grassroots open source conference, this conference was unique in that it was one of the first of its kind to allow educators from around the world to share ideas on how best to use 3D immersive environments in the classroom.

In 2009, the conference was re-branded to be the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference. Our goal was to open the conference up to best practices using any virtual world including Second Life, World of Warcraft, Club Penguin, Venuegen, OpenSim, EveOnline, and a host of others. While Second Life is our 'base of operations' the conference usually draws people from around the metaverse and as such has provided a vast wealth of information that educators and institutions can draw upon to make informed decisions about how best to use these technologies.

This year the conference will run from July 24-27 (the weekend after Relay for Life).


The conference draws anywhere between 150 to 200 presenters, over 2000 attendees, and a small army of 200-250 volunteers that originate from over 90 countries.

This conference is one of the largest conferences for educators anywhere in the world. To give you some idea of some comparative numbers

Sloan-C - 1140 attendees ($620/pp)
Technology, Colleges and Community (TCC) Online Conference ($129/pp)
Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) eLearn - 1000 attendees ($470/pp)
EDUCAUSE Annual Conference - 3000-4000 attendees ($750/pp)
American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) - 8,000 attendees ($1,100/pp)
American Educational Research Association (AERA) - 15,000 attendees ($575/pp)
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) - 15,000 attendees ($309/pp)

While VWBPE is not the biggest conference out there, make no mistake, this is not a small conference by any means and the fact that it is free makes this conference especially unique.


Right now, people have until June 30th to get their proposals into the committee for review. Proposal guidelines can be found here:

This years theme is "Beyond the Stage"

Submission Categories include

Theoretical and Research Papers
Best Practices Showcase
Games and Simulations
Tools and Products
Panel or Roundtable
Exploration of Virtual Worlds (post-conference MOOC only)

To submit a proposal
go to to register
then go to to submit a proposal

Each year we try to introduce a new element to the program and this year is no different. We are attempting for the first time to run the conference across 4 different virtual platforms including Second Life, OpenSim (Jokaydia), CloudParty, and Unity (Jibe). These platforms are representative of where education has been evolving to over the past few years.


For other VW platforms or specific instances such as SpotOn3D and InWorldz we are separating out tours in these areas from the main conference so that we can give these platforms the time they need to really show what makes them unique.

We have found that tours to places like World of Warcraft, Club Penguin, Minecraft and other VWs really needs some additional prep time and then a couple of hours to really give people a good sense of what is / isn't possible. So hence Exploration of Virtual Worlds will run during the 4 weeks after the main VWBPE event July 24-27th.


One of the other new and unique features of the VWBPE Conference is that we have started to develop our own submission portal for virtual conferences. Virtual conferences raise logistical problems that other conference software cannot address.

The two largest being

association of presenter information and their avatar information and
scheduling of virtual locations

Both of these problems require unique software / business rules that we have had to address ourselves. The portal is still evolving even as we speak. So look for on-going changes throughout the year.

An important note: We are asking that anyone who has already submitted a proposal, please log in to confirm the information accuracy. We have been making changes and enhancements based on feedback from people using the system as this is the first year this software is being used.


Like any conference the VWBPE 2013 Conference needs a small army of volunteers to help run the show. This year especially as we are looking for mentor / greeters for 4 different virtual worlds, not just one The bulk of the conference will still be in Second Life however as presentations will also be occurring in CloudParty, JoKaydia, and Unity, people with experience in these platforms would be appreciated.

To sign-up as a volunteer, please see


Registration to the conference is not required as we have an open source policy to allow everyone access to the conference. Registration is appreciated thou as it helps us with marketing and communications. It also allows us to pre-plan conference activities as it gives a projection of how many people will attend.

To register you can go to


The VWBPE Conference isn't just about 4 days of virtual meetings but also making those presentations available after the conference is over. We do that in a number of ways:

Conference Proceedings - Journal of Virtual Studies (

YouTube Playlists of all Machinima submitted to the conference (

Treet TV Video Recordings of selected presentations and keynotes (

Metaverse TV Video Recordings of selected presentations and keynotes (

Slideshare Playlist of Conference Presentations (

It is the mission of the Conference to ensure that as much material from each conference is made available as open source and without encumbrances as possible.


VWBPE is completely funded through donations and sponsorships. The conference needs a minimum of $5000/year in order to cover all the basics of the conference. This year we are trying two new methods to help with this both of which have been very successful for us so far. The first is introduction of a new ticket type that allows for voluntary donation to the conference which is available during registration process ( The second is our indiegogo campaign (

We have been fortunate that both have substantially helped us reach our goal and kept the conference on solid financial footing.


For more information on the conference you can check out our

website at

facebook at:, and

twitter at: / @VWBPE

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