Learning2gether Episode 514
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.
One compelling model for virtual classrooms has long been virtual worlds (Stevens, 2008), with large communities of educators having formed in Second Life, Open Sim, and MInecraft involving students in those environments as well. Conferences have often been held in these virtual world spaces; in particular the SLanguages conferences starting in 2007 (Pegrum, 2007, Vickers c.2007), the Virtual Round Table conferences with archives going back to 2009, https://virtual-round-table.com/main-venue-show-and-tell-2, and Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education with archives extending back to 2010 https://www.vwbpe.org/archives.
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.
I encourage participants to follow my presentation slides online, and click on the hyperlinks during my presentation
The writeup accompanying this presentation on the day I presented it is here http://bit.ly./vance2021vtcon
Meanwhile the writeup has been published as
Stevens, V. (2021). Virtual worlds at virtual conferences. Teaching English as a Second Language Electronic Journal (TESL-EJ), 25(1). https://tesl-ej.org/pdf/ej97/int.pdf. Unpaginated HTML version:
Sat 17 Apr 1300-2300 UTC – VirtuaTeLL conference TeLL SIG at NYS TESOL
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The date of this update is May 14, 2021 07:00 UTC