For those that were there last year, we had a very interesting combined Second Life Educators Conference (SLEDcc) and Second Life Community Convention (SLCC) in Florida in September. Apparently the educators involved in the SLEDcc have taken the decision to organize their own seperate event in response to online feedback at a time and place to be determined. As SLEDcc organizer Jonathon Richter wrote:
and what appear by many to be incompatible reasons for attending the
conference. While many educators in Second Life also really enjoy the
social aspects inworld and the richness of the full community brought
together, the need for scholars to have a conference that can be
supported by their institution (by supporting academic outcomes) has
seriously conflicted with others' perception of SLCC as active fun and
Since the education sector is one of the most vital and growing parts of this virtual world, it does make sense for educators to have their own separate gathering. But for SLCC proper, this seems like a pretty big loss for them.
I have long felt that virtual worlds were going to get so big and diverse that we were going to need more niche conventions and conferences for the different sectors, where more in-depth discussions and trainings could occur. After all, there is already a business-oriented virtual world convention that happens every year.
Read the full message from Jonathan after the jump…
After many sweet and agonizing months working with you on SLCC 08 and turning to plan for 09, we've decided to host our own separate Second Life Education Conference. We want to encourage all educators to go to SLCC for social reasons, but after reviewing such feedback as found here , we underscore the felt impression that an academic peer-reviewed Second Life conference on so-called "serious" application of SL be best cultivated elsewhere.
The Education community and other SLCC conference goers have different and what appear by many to be incompatible reasons for attending the conference. While many educators in Second Life also really enjoy the social aspects inworld and the richness of the full community brought together, the need for scholars to have a conference that can be supported by their institution (by supporting academic outcomes) has seriously conflicted with others' perception of SLCC as active fun and debauchery. While these strands are not necessarily mutually exclusive, 😉 I believe the challenges by the Future United Board to find clear leadership to frame how these constituents can co-exist and support one another has allowed acrimony and irritation to spread to a point that is potentially irreparable for all sides involved.
We don't want to spoil SLCC! We don't want to be the reason that the others can't have fun. After discussion with Claudia and Pathfinder and many of you, we believe that to best serve the interests of the SLED Community, that a Second Life Education Conference should best stand on it's own.
Thus, we've decided to move ahead with planning for SLEDcc at another location at a time most appropriate to educators. We have enjoyed being a part of SLCC and working on the Future United and have deep affection for all parts of SL – the LIVED EXPERIENCE is as great in every way as is learning, teaching, and training. We understand that by moving SLEDcc away from SLCC that we are losing out on the greater SL Community and while sad about that, believe that you might understand the myriad reasons why this makes the most sense. We hope we have your support in this and will do everything we can to direct people to attend SLCC for celebrating the great community that is found in Second Life.
Soon, we'll have some announcements on our "plan to plan" and would like to get your input and many volunteers to develop this new stand-alone event. We understand that, because of the times within which we now must live and learn, that the SLEDcc needs to carefully balance betwixt multiple goals and do our best to achieve them.
Second Life Education has a LOT to offer the world. We hope you'll continue your innovative and hardworking efforts to realize our many transformational dreams…. and to do your part to step up and contribute to the many important pieces that are needed for this emerging Community of Practice to thrive and evolve.
Wainbrave Bernal (aka Jonathon Richter)
3 thoughts on “Second Life Education Conference splits off from Community Convention”
I have to say that I was really saddened to read this. As a first-year attendee at SLCC last year (but a resident of Second Life since 2004) I felt that it was so important to HAVE *all* the residents of Second Life together at ONE conference. We have so much to learn about each other that the idea of having separate conferences really bothers me. I’m working in higher education and we’re using Second Life to build community among our students – but I don’t really consider myself an ‘educator’. I’m not teaching in Second Life, but I’m using Second Life in my position. What I found so amazing about the conference last year was that I could jump from room to room, session to session and see what people were doing in business, hear what educators were doing in classrooms, and listen to what people passionate about live music were working on. In my opinion *this* is what community is about, not breaking off and splintering into sections that will force people to choose one conference over another. I do understand that some people feel they need to have a conference focused on best practices and research to be supported by their institutions, but I do wonder why having the ‘education’ conference at the same time and location as SLCC wasn’t an option. I thought it worked well last year and I really enjoyed meeting and interacting with people from all over the world with many different interests. No one is forced to attend the “other” events and last year they weren’t even included as part of the official conference program, but as optional community events.
I worry that we’re limiting ourselves by doing this when I really feel we all have so much to learn from each OTHER – and isn’t that what community is all about anyway?
I hope to see a few of the educators at events around the country, especially at State of Play in NYC this June. The SL community is interesting and wonderful and fun to be around but it’s very hard to make SLCC events due to timing….do the educators have a date in mind?
We are planning a virtual world unconference for June that will include many SL educational opportunities….looking forward to talking to more of our diverse communities throughout these grids!
I find it hard to believe that talk on the SLU forum is being used as the justification for splitting the conventions up. It’s one thing to run it in parallel in the same city, it’s another to do a formal split. I wager more will come out in the next few days.