On March 4th 2008 a very small group of people, led by AJ Kelton (SL: AJ Brooks) met to talk about “What do we say to, and how do we deal with, skeptics”. This is the first transcript of the very new Second Life Education Roundtable, and you can read it here
Its possible there was a meeting or two before that one but that is the first recorded meeting and has become the groups “birthday” date. The group grew rather quickly and before we knew it, we were getting 20 or more people every week.
In November of 2009 the group announced that it was re-branding itself as the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable, effective January 2010, and things have grown explosively ever since. It is not uncommon for us to get 40 people or more to a meeting and we have a few each year where we hit the sim cap of 90.
The group meets each week to talk about issues that concern educators with regard to using virtual worlds as a teaching and learning tool. As of our 3rd anniversary, on March 3rd, 2011, we’d not missed a weekly meeting.
The most important thing to know about the VWER is that it is nothing without the community. Although we do hold some special meetings where a guest or guests will share with everyone, most of our meetings take place with everyone sitting around a big roundtable and anyone has a chance to share, based on the topic of the day. Some folks have been around since the original group and some are new, but all are welcome – there is always a seat open.
In late 2010 the VWER announced, after a process of considering several alternatives, that we would be opening a second virtual home, our own opensim grid called VWERGrid and hosted by ReactiongGrid. The grid consisted of four islands: VWERMain, VWEREast, VWERELI, and VWERFutura. VWERMain was where our meeting amphitheater was located as well as a “Give and Take”, which was a free object exchange. VWEREast was a mainly undeveloped island. VWERFuture was an experiment with a K-12 only island. VWERELI was the home to the former CHSS Free Land Initiative. The island has been subdivided into 40 parcels and were made available, free of charge, to 40 individual faculty members, instructors, teachers, and school support individuals. The VWER was informed in June of 2011 that the sponsored relationship needed to be terminated and the VWERGrid ceased operations on July 1st, 2011.