I helped organize what I think was a very successful Second Life conference on education in virtual worlds yesterday. This was the first virtual conference sponsored by RezEd.org, the social network for virtual world educators. The RezEd conference featured a panel discussion with educators working in Second Life, Google Lively and Dizzywood; a "birds of a feather" breakout session; and a fun social mixer to close out the evening. With 60+ avatars from a range of institutions and backgrounds, this was a perfect example of how virtual worlds can enable networking, collaboration, and learning in an immersive and ludic environment.
The RezEd conference was only part of four hours of programming built around a "sneak preview" of the MacArthur Foundation’s new island in Second Life, called simply "Foundations." Rather than spend the time talking about the Foundation, the sneak preview focused on the work of the large constellation of public good projects supported by MacArthur — from the Ability Commons work with people with disabilities, the Encyclopedia of Life digital archive of all living species, to the "I Dig Tanzania" summer camp that Global Kids and the Field Museum organized this past July.
Thanks to all of you who attended and contributed to making this day such a great success. For those of you who missed the sneak preview, the Foundations sim is now open for business at this teleport link. There’s a lot of great content in there about how MacArthur operates and some featured projects that they support.