29 Jul 2010

Virtual world conference will address core issues in contemporary society

The use of virtual worlds for learning, collaborative work and business ventures will be explored in a unique conference on 15 September 2010. The Virtual World Conference 2010 will follow the sun and is hosted over a 24-hour period entirely in Second Life – a three-dimensional space where millions of users can create their own worlds and interact with others from around the globe.

The conference will bring together 21 international speakers from around the world to share ideas, showcase innovations and applications, and hold debates with a world-wide audience.

Anna Peachey (The Open University/Eygus Ltd) and Professor Sara de Freitas (Serious Games Institute /Lab Group) will chair in the European zone, with Andreas Schmeil (PARC/University of Lugano) in the American Pacific Coast time zone and Claus Nehmzow (Alcus International Ltd/Hong Kong) in the East Asian time zone.

Hosting the conference on a virtual platform will enable speakers in each time zone to contribute to a full 24 hours of activity and delegates and speakers will access the conference remotely via Internet-connected devices.

Professor Sara de Freitas said: “Hosting international conferences means that delegates use up a lot of air miles but we are taking on board the climate change challenge by hosting it in a virtual world. As one part of the conference closes in one time zone, another part kicks off in another. It is going to be a truly remarkable event and will open up so many possibilities for future global collaborations.”

Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning, Teaching and Quality at The Open University, said: “This event presents a great opportunity to tackle the big questions about how we use virtual worlds to support learning in varied contexts.”

The conference, which is the first in a series of community-driven events, will consider how virtual worlds can change the way we learn, work and socialise and focus on several core themes:
• Social interaction, societies and communities in virtual worlds
• Business applications and strategies for using virtual worlds
• Formal and informal teaching and learning in virtual worlds

Virtual world experts and researchers from East Asia to West America will be taking part to discuss these central themes with a view to creating a new virtual networking community to consider future issues and challenges.

Editor's Notes
The conference costs £45 to attend and delegates should register in advance. Please see link (right).

The Virtual World Conference 2010 will host trainers, experts, teachers, policy-makers, managers, consultants, tutors and researchers from industry, academia, schools and policy development, with representation from a wide range of different sectors including:
• Education: schools, colleges and universities
• Research: universities, institutes, industrial labs
• Training: training organisations, private foundations
• Industry: international companies, SMEs
• Health: hospitals and training institutions, care trusts
• Environment: planning agencies, environmental agencies, emergency response organisations
• Government: central government departments, agencies and local government authorities

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