Vance Stevens lives in Penang, Malaysia. Founder/coordinator of Webheads in Action and Learning2gether.net, he has produced over 500 podcast episodes since 2010. He has been On the Internet section editor of TESL-EJ since 2002. and has over 150 publications, many available at http://vancestevens.com/papers/, dealing with students using computers to learn languages and teachers learning to teach using technology by engaging in communities of practice and in participatory cultures. He has co-coordinated TESOL/CALL-IS Electronic Village Online (EVO) since 2003, and has co-moderated EVO Minecraft MOOC for the past 7 years. He was recently awarded the 2019 CALL Research Conference Lifetime Achievement Award.
You can follow the presentation slides here: http://bit.ly/blue2021vance Results from the Poll Everwhere survey and from the Padlet wall are included in the slides.
It was good to see Mike Kenteris and Benjamin Stewart there.
Sat 17 April 1400 UTC Vance Stevens Keynote on Virtual Words at Virtual Conferences
I’ve been asked to speak at the VirtuaTeLL conference TeLL SIG at NYS TESOL #vtcon2021. The conference theme is: Equity, Access, and the Digital Divide: Challenges and Opportunities for Language Learning and Teaching. The event is scheduled for April 17th from 9 am to 7 pm EST virtually.
I was told I was invited to present because “Your EVOs on Minecraft have always been inspiring to many attendees”
Title of my talk
Virtual Words at Virtual Conferences
With the onset of COVID-19 and the continuing need to move both teaching and professional encounters online, novel approaches providing effective ways of doing both are gaining increased attention. One such approach is an exploration of alternative online environments, such as virtual worlds. There was of course considerable work being done in virtual environments long before COVID-19 became a factor, but now it is becoming the norm for conferences once held exclusively face to face to be moved entirely online, as is the case for classroom environments. As should be obvious, development in classroom approaches to remote teaching can be modeled for teachers in virtual conferences, and vice versa as regards virtual classrooms providing models for how virtual conferences might most successfully be run.
Taken from these perspectives, this talk takes a look at online versions of major conferences, in particular the TESOL 2021 Virtual Conference just ended, and its parallel track implemented and managed by the CALL-IS Interest Section in TESOL.
The focus of my discussion will be the Virtual Worlds presentations offered in the CALL-IS Electronic Village venues, with presentations and tours in Second Life / Open Sim and Minecraft. This talk will suggest that, apart from how such presentations are aimed at showing language teachers how they might incorporate virtual words into their online or blended teaching, organizers of major conferences would do well to borrow from what presenters are modeling at their events.
Slides I encourage participants to follow my presentation slides online, and click on the hyperlinks during my presentation http://bit.ly/vtcon2021vance
Getting Started in Minecraft: Surviving and Thriving
This live demo shows where to get Minecraft, how to set it up, and then how to cope with the most daunting moment newcomers to Minecraft will likely face when joining a survival server for the first time: arrival in a strange world without resources, making shelter, crafting tools, surviving the night, and thriving thereafter.
Even on servers with protected spawn points, players may face this challenge when moving into the world beyond. You’ll learn about arrival, survival, and developing strategies for thriving in Minecraft by finding food and wool for a bed to return you to a predictable point after mishap, and keeping materials there to avoid having to restart from scratch. With a successful strategy, the game becomes enjoyably challenging. All you need now is a community where you can scaffold one another into becoming ever more proficient in understanding the depth of this powerful learning platform and how you might apply it to your professional context.
After explaining the difference between Java and Bedrock versions of Minecraft, and how to obtain and configure the Java version, I demonstrated in my demo how to arrive in world for the first time, chop trees, make a crafting table, craft a pickaxe, mine cobblestone, make a furnace, create charcoal from a tree log, make torches, complete my shelter, put a door on it, and light the shelter with torches — all in the ten minutes I had to work before nightfall. That left Bobbi Bear and I safe for the night in our secure shelter where we would be just fine until we starved (players have to eat) or gone outside, had an accident, and had to respawn. Respawn means you return to the game, but lose whatever you were carrying before your demise, and you respawn to a random spot somewhere near our original spawn point. But to get control over where we respawned, we could make a bed and put it in the shelter so that we would respawn each time inside the safe shelter.
To make a bed we would need some wool, and until we could find iron and make a set of sheep shears, the quickest way to get wool is to sacrifice a few lambs in the meadows. When you kill them with your sword, they drop wool and meat, and three of them produce enough wool to make a bed, and also leave you a bit of raw lamb meat, which you can cook in the furnace, and eat. So I Bobbi Bear and I went out into the meadows, found a few sheep, and dispatched three of them This raised a hue and cry from the participants, some of whom did not like the idea of taking out a few digital avatars representing sheep just in order to get their wool.
But we were able to craft a bed and put it in the shelter, and when I clicked on it, it became my “bed spawn”. Now we had a strategy; we could accumulate things in a chest we had left the shelter, go outside and mine minerals and accumulate more resources to expand our domain, leave some of these things behind in the shelter, carry just what you need outside, and if something bad happens to you, you end up back inside your shelter, bereft of what you were carrying, but with a chest in the shelter containing whatever you had left there against this eventuality.
Heike asked to be shown what would happen if I got killed, and I agreed to show her. It was night time and I started walking in the darkness. I expected to be caught by a zombie or a skeleton but instead I walked over a trench and ended up in the bottom of it. Unusually, there were no monsters to be found there and I could see no immediate way out (apart from hacking steps up and out, which would have taken time), and no way to commit suicide there, so Bobbi offered to teleport to me and kill me quickly with her sword.
This had the desired effect. I “died” (only temporarily) and respawned back in the shelter where I had created the bed crafted from the three pretend digital sheep we had killed earlier. Heike’s question was answered, but interestingly, there was no hue and cry from the participants this time. The slaughter of three digital sheep was apparently more wrenching than witnessing the slaughter of a digital human. That’s what TV has done to us.
Another interesting thing was that Bobbi was able to retrieve my ‘skull’ after she killed me. Here she has it in her hand and can view it in her inventory (when she mouses over it in her inventory, it tells her that it is the skull of Teacher Vance).
In the last picture she’s thrown it onto the floor where you can see that it indeed looks like me (or like my avatar). I had never seen a player’s skull in Minecraft before. In Minecraft, you learn something new each time you play (but try not to lose your head over it).
19:34:40 From Heike Philp : wow Vance you are so fast!!!
19:34:50 From Heike Philp : in only 10min you created all this?
19:34:53 From Heike Philp : incredible
19:35:29 From Georgia Maneta : Lots of homework again Heike and attendees!
19:35:52 From Heike Philp : what Vance is doing in 15min took me 3 weeks!
19:37:09 From Chris C : I can imagine it would take me 3 months! Could we ask how long it has taken Vance to become this proficient?
19:41:29 From Heike Philp : haha
19:41:56 From Heike Philp : this does not give you the right to slaughter them!
19:42:09 From Heike Philp : I am a vegan in Minecraft
19:43:26 From Heike Philp : a bed!
19:46:41 From Heike Philp : haha
19:47:04 From Andrea Kovács : I remember following my son as he was playing as a teenager with his friends. (almost 8 years ago)! I was very happy ’cause while playing, they were speaking on Skype about all kinds of serious topics and were collaborating so nicely in building their “dream house”!
19:47:37 From Georgia Maneta : Videogames DO have advantages Andrea I guess…
19:47:48 From Heike Philp : ahhh
19:51:05 From Andrea Kovács : Yes, and they were speaking in English, that was one of the advantages too! I was very happy about it, ’cause he didn’t really liked to speak with me, the teacher!
19:51:12 From Michael Birch : Vance is invancible.
19:51:30 From Andrea Kovács : like
19:54:12 From Georgia Maneta : Yes Andrea! My son managed to speak also in English!
19:55:56 From Andrea Kovács : WoW! I like the sustainability idea!
19:57:28 From Heike Philp : brilliant!
19:57:31 From Zeynab Moosavi : Thank you so much dear Vance, you are amazing…
19:57:53 From Amal Abdulhaleem Al-Hakimi : Thank you
19:58:06 From Andrea Kovács : Thank you, it was amazing!
19:59:10 From Chris C : Thanks very much for this…. really impressive to watch.
19:59:41 From Heike Philp : Ever so well done – exactly what I was hoping for – a real new user guide
19:59:54 From BARBARA STEVENS : Glad you all enjoyed it!
19:59:58 From Minnie : Great, thank you Vance and Barbara!
She invited all to come and join her for a tools festival, app swap party and games con! Tools, apps and games for language education. We love them!
Tools for teaching and learning a language, for student engagement communication apps for parents, lesson planning software, games, apps for assessment, learning management systems, websites, webservices, professional development qualifications and much more.
Heike did a great job promoting and delivering this conference. She streamed to Facebook via Zoom and simultaneously to YouTube by capturing the stream from Facebook and streaming that out via OBS. As always she crowdsourced her program, added Zoom links, and followed that up with links to presenters’ slides and other materials as well as with YouTube recording links posted right below where there presentations appeared in the program. She placed all of the videos in an amazing resource: the 12th Virtual Round Table 2021 YouTube playlist https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLugizRwFVygRYQHFa65q1ozFO5lRp0K-z
She also released some impressive statistics corroborating the impact of her efforts: 1598 participants – 412 in Zoom, plus 824 watching on Facebook, and 591 on YouTube.
Sat 10 April 0700 Peter Omal hosts adobe Indesign free webinar
The time given is Jamaica time, meeting in Zoom
Sat 10 April Nazarbayev University’s Writing Talks series of free webinars
Jane Hoelker was promoting the Nazarbayev University’s Writing Talks free webinars offered starting April 3 at 10:45 AM and ending at 11:30 AM . The time zone is not specified, but here is the info.
NU Writing Talks, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan
Join the free professional development online lectures called Writing Talks hosted by Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. Every Saturday in April a different topic will be discussed by a new Panel from 11:00 to 12:30. (April 3rd begins at 10:45 with Welcome.)
The Writing Center Program (WCP) at Nazarbayev University is pleased to announce the first edition of NU Writing Talks, a symposium dedicated to all aspects of academic writing and open to all perspectives on the teaching and learning of writing in English for academic and STEM research purposes. The aim of these webinars is to share experience and resources to support a wide range of learning outcomes and activities, across disciplines and institutions.
Symposium events will take place this coming April 3, 10, 17 and 24.
Recording in English, Russian and Kazakh will be made available after the live session.
Sat 10 April 1300-1500 UTC – VSTE Second Life Saturdays – repeats each Saturday
and voila! Look for an avatar on VSTE Island and say, “Hey, I’m new!” We will take care of the rest.
Tue 13 Apr 11 am EDT Joe McVeigh and Sandra Story – Faces and Places across the United States
Here is a great opportunity for you (or your students) to practice your English and learn a little bit about the United States. On Tuesday, 13 April at 11:00 a.m. EDT (UTC-4) I will be in conversation with Sandra Story from the U.S. Department of State as part of a series called Faces and Places across the United States. I’ll be talking about my home state of Vermont and what life is like here. To be sure that the conversation is accessible to intermediate level students, we’ll try to keep the language from getting too complicated. The conversation will be held live on Facebook at this address: https://www.facebook.com/AmericanEnglishatState. I hope you can join us! If you’d like to share this opportunity with friends, colleagues, and students. In cast you aren’t free at the time of the live conversation, a recording will be made available on YouTube afterwards.
This recording was made in Zoom by APACALL, the Asia-Pacific Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning, at a free Webinar held on Friday, 9 April 2021 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm AEST (time in Brisbane, Australia). The webinar was organized by Jeong-Bae Son, president of APACALL, https://www.apacall.org/, who hosted the one-day conference, and webcast it via Zoom.
The screenshot below was taken at the start of the conference:
Phil Hubbard led us off, followed by Claire Bradin Siskin
And then it was my turn
Vance Stevens was invited to talk on Engaging Teachers and Learners in EVO Minecraft MOOC
I was asked to be an invited speaker for the webinar. I gave a 30-minute live talk and sat for a few minutes of Q & A afterwards.
Here is my brief Abstract:
The speaker founded the Electronic Village Online (EVO) Minecraft Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) community of practice in 2015 as a way to help teachers learn Minecraft through collaborative projects with peers. Lately, young learners have become markedly more involved with EVOMC. This talk discusses various ways we engage and learn from our younger community members.
If you reach one you’ll find a link to the other, in case you forget if the bit.ly link is apacall2021vance or vance2021apacall
Either will work 🙂
Promotion and Feedback
The following announcement was posted on the Facebook pages indicated below
Just a few hours to go now before the start of the #APACALL free web conference on April 9, starting at the stroke of midnight UTC.
The program at https://www.apacall.org/events/webinars/2021/APACALL_Webinar_2021_Program.pdf features 3 invited speakers at the start of the day, Phil Hubbard, Claire Bradin Siskin, and Vance Stevens. Vance will talk about engaging teachers and learners through the EVO Minecraft MOOC community. The entire event wraps up at 08:00 UTC with a presentation followed by a panel hosted by webinar organizer, Jong-Bae Son.
Mon 29 March 2300 UTC -VSTE Swap Meet in Second Life
VSTE Swap Meet in Second Life
We will show you how to create a giver box and put in it five things you have to share. If you don’t have anything we can help with that, too. We will each get five fun things from each other and have fun exploring them.
Basic directions to join VSTE Space in Second Life
If you don’t have a Second Life account get one, it’s free. We recommend setting one up at the Rockcliffe University Consortium’s Gateway here:https://urockcliffe.com/reg/second-life/ When you do this your avatar’s “home” is set to be the Rockcliffe University’s sim, bypassing the normal Second Life welcome area.
Download and install Second Life viewer software. You will be directed to download the Second Life viewer but we prefer the Firestorm viewer at https://www.firestormviewer.org/. Either one will work but Firestorm has some advantages.
When you are ready to join us, while your Second Life viewer (software) is open, click this linkhttp://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Soulgiver/155/144/58 to teleport yourself to VSTE Space. Look for an avatar and say, “Hey, I’m new!” We will take care of the rest. Someone is there most Saturday mornings from 9 to 11 AM Eastern Time (Same as New York).
Sat 3 April 1300-1500 UTC – VSTE Second Life Saturdays – repeats each Saturday
and voila! Look for an avatar on VSTE Island and say, “Hey, I’m new!” We will take care of the rest.
Sat 03 Apr 1700 UTC – TESOL Career Path Development Professional Learning Network Tea Party
TESOL Career Path Development Professional Learning Network Tea Party. Join us on Saturday, April 3rd, 1 PM ET for an informal chat to share experiences and ideas for our CPD Post-TESOL Convention 2021 Tea. All are welcome. Attend with your favorite cup of tea! No pre-registration required.
Tue 06 April 0100 UTC Minecraft Mondays Visits AZCraft (Part 1)
This takes place on Monday, April 5th 8 PM Eastern time, 5 PM SLT, Midnight UTC
We will visit a different Minecraft server that K4 and Jaz have been enjoying.
If everyone likes it maybe we can pursue bringing some of the mobs to VSTE Place: an economy, dungeons, voting for rewards?
What actually happened?
I arrived a little late for this one, and by then the crowd had all moved off to WoW (World of Warcraft)
However., they were planning to meet the following week in AZcraft, so Dakota Redstone offered to take me to the server they would be using and get me set up there. Here are some screenshots from that:
Dakota and Dragoslayer show me their humble abodes:
Dragoslayer mounts a skeleton horse in the corner of one of the builds
Dokotah and Dragoslayer kindly help me lay claim to a parcel of land and establish myself there:
I’ll be back before the next Minecraft Monday, first Monday in May.
Basic directions to join VSTE Place, VSTE’s Minecraft world