Use of the Virtual Environment for Learning: Upcoming Presentation

Second_LifeWith thanks to Sarah Jones via the SL Health group:

The University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing will present a program with Dr. Dee McGonigle (SL: Houstonccn) speaking on the topic “Use of the Virtual Environment for Learning”.

Date: Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Time: 2:00-3:15 pm SLT

Location: The UT Arlington Conference Center in Second Life, UTArlington III, SLURL:

More information:

Dr. Dee McGonigle, PhD, RN, CNE, FAAN, ANEF, is a Professor and Chair of the Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) at Chamberlain College of Nursing. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the NLN Academy of Nursing Education.

She co-founded the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI) and was Editor in Chief from 1996 through 2013. She is an active researcher and through her grant writing, has received over $870,000 in funding. She is an active researcher, presents internationally and nationally, and co-authored two textbooks: Nursing Informatics and The Foundation of Knowledge, one of Jones & Bartlett’s best sellers and AJN’s 2010 Technology Book of the Year, Integrating Technology in Nursing Education: Tools for the Knowledge Era.

Dr. McGonigle has written more than 100 publications including work books, book chapters, and articles. She is a member of both the Informatics and Technology Expert Panel for the American Academy of Nursing and the Serious Gaming and Virtual Environments special interest group for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. She is searching for a way to facilitate translation by helping those who know (researchers) and those who do (clinicians) communicate and share. Her current areas of interest are in the nursing informatics competencies and diffusion of innovative technologies, especially those impacting learning.

Relay for Life in Second Life 2014

Events_ListThe Relay for Life event in Second Life has always been a highlight for me and it looks like this year’s is no different.

I’m always extremely impressed with the commitment that goes into organising this even each year and aside from all the great fundraising it does, it also challenges the stereotype of virtual worlds being ephemeral things without substance.

Here’s the latest info I’ve received from the organisers:



Want to be a part of the largest fundraising movement on the grid?

There’s still time to form a team and join Relay For Life of Second Life as we Relay across the grid raising funds in support of the American Cancer Society.

You may register at by clicking the orange register button and following the on screen instructions. Won’t you come Relay with us?

We began with the 2014 Kick Off Party on March 8. Teams continue to fundraise through July by holding fun-filled events. The Relay For Life of Second Life finishes with the official overnight Relay on July 19-20. During that weekend, team members gather at their Team Campsites, walk the

Relay Track, enjoy live music, participate in fun events, and explore the many Relay Sims as the event runs overnight and into the next morning.

In 2013, there were 200 RFL of SL Teams which participated in the largest virtual fundraising walk in the world and together raised $393,000 US dollars. For more information about registering a team, or assistance forming a team, please contact Gem Sunkiller at

Relay For Life of Second Life is an annual activity that takes place in Second Life in July each year. Volunteers form or join teams to have fun while fundraising and raising awareness from March through mid-July. In July, teams build campsites and walk a track, just like in a real world Relay.

Over the last nine years, Relay For Life of Second Life has raised more than $2 million for cancer research and is the largest charity event in the virtual worlds. Several thousand volunteers from more than 80 countries participate each year, truly making it a global event.

The Relay For Life of Second Life wiki details the history of Relay For Life of Second Life. Relay For Life is the signature fundraising event of the American Cancer Society.

There are many ways to get involved in Relay For Life of Second Life and another way to show your support is through sponsorships. Relay For Life of Second Life is proud to have the following as premier sponsors: RGF Estates, Roses & Thorns Skins Inc., Wild Kajaera and United Realms of the Archipelago. Other sponsorships are available; please contact the PR/Outreach Division more details.

Another way to get involved is through rezzing Relay For Life event boards at your establishment or land. Contact Serina Juran for details.

Keep up with the news on Relay For Life of Second Life through it’s website, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Tumblr pages:

Also for those interested, here’s the proposed schedule for the real itself:

Saturday, July 13, 2013
10:00 AM Opening Ceremony
11:00 AM Survivor/Caregiver – CELEBRATE
12:30 PM Teams Lap
2:00 PM Round Up Western
3:00 PM Walking with our Breedable Friends
4:00 PM Fabulous Fifties
5:00 PM Purple Passion
6:00 PM Beach Party
7:00 PM Musicians For Relay
8:00 PM Bald is Beautiful!
9:00 PM Luminaria Ceremony – REMEMBER
10:00 PM Silly Shoes
11:00 PM Sci Fi

Sunday, July 14, 2013
1:00 AM Holiday Splendor
2:00 AM Fantasy and Fairy Tales
3:00 AM Crazy Hats
4:00 AM Movie and Cartoon Magic
5:00 AM Heroes
7:00 AM International Lap
8:00 AM Coffee and Donuts – Breakfast Time!
9:00 AM Formal Hour
10:00 AM Closing Ceremonies
11:00 AM Victory Lap! – Walk the track and meet the Relay Committee.
Celebrate YOUR Relay. Take THAT, Cancer!
12:30 PM RAFFLE Draw!
2:00 PM Enjoy Walking the Track and Visiting the Builds

3rd Annual Mental Health Symposium in Second Life

Second_LifeVirtual Ability have another great event planned for late next week – here’s the full press release:

Virtual World Conference Supports Quality of Life in Mental Health

Virtual Ability, Inc. announces the third annual Mental Health Symposium to be held Saturday, April 26th, 7:00 am PDT/SLT to 5:00 pm PDT/SLT in Second Life®. The theme of this year’s conference is “Quality of Life.”

The World Health Organization defines quality of life as an individual’s “perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, standards and concerns.”

Quality of life is important to us all, but may be more difficult to attain for those with mental health issues. Overall quality of life is affected by psychological state, physical health, level of independence, social relationships, personal values and beliefs, and the relationship of all of these to the person’s environment.

Symposium presentations include (in alphabetical order):
• Hillary Bogner, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, will offer insights from her research on depression among older adults.
• Colleen Crary, Executive Director of Fearless Nation, Inc., will share lessons from adversity for creating a vibrant life.
• Dick Dillon, CEO of Innovaision, LLC, shares surprising information about why some recovering addicts become “weller than well.”
• Teresa Goddard, Senior Consultant with the Job Accommodation Network, will inform us about attaining employment equality through accommodation and self-advocacy.
• Dr. Christine Karper and Michelle Stone, members of the American Counseling Association’s Cyber Task Force, will talk about the role of counseling and virtual service delivery.
• Dr. Jacquelyn Ford Morie, University of Southern California, will describe the use of virtual worlds as healing spaces for veterans.
• Dr. Nicolas Rüsch, of the University of Ulm, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, will explain the results of his research on well-being among persons at risk of psychosis, focusing particularly on shame and stigma.

Alice Krueger, president of Virtual Ability, Inc., stated: “I am pleased to see an increasing focus on quality of life in mental health care in recent years, since many persons with mental health diagnoses struggle with these issues. The Symposium’s international presenters are acknowledged experts in their fields. I will be interested to hear what they have to say on these important topics. Please join us on April 26 to learn more from a variety of exciting speakers!”

All sessions, done in voice and text simultaneously, will take place at The Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island within Second Life®:

The full schedule of presentations is posted at

About Virtual Ability, Inc.
Virtual Ability, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation based in Denver, Colorado, dedicated to enabling people with a wide range of disabilities by providing a supporting environment for them to enter and thrive in on-line virtual worlds like Second Life®.

For more information on Virtual Ability, Inc., including the benefits of virtual worlds for people with disabilities, please see

For further information, please contact:
Alice Krueger, President
Virtual Ability, Inc.
Office: (303) 400-3306

If you have any interest in mental health issues, this should be a great day.

Relay for Life 2011 in Second Life: Success Plus

I don’t usually just reproduce media releases, but this one’s definitely worth making an exception for:

Relay For Life of Second Life shatters records in 2011, raises US$375,000 for cancer research

Relay For Life, the signature fundraising event of the American Cancer Society, has once again shattered records in Second Life.

Less than halfway through the 2011 Relay season, the Relay For Life of Second Life had already raised more than one million dollars all-time.

At the Wrap-Up Party on Saturday, August 20, 2011 Event Chair MamaP Beerbaum proudly announced that the seventh Relay For Life of Second Life had set a new season fundraising record of US$375,000, had a record number of 140 teams, and a record number of over 3,000 relayers.

This year’s theme was ‘Seasons of Hope’ and was the largest to date, with a track lined by luminaria winding through 41 sims of amazing builds representing the different seasons. Some 2,140 avatars completed one or more laps, a combined total of 3,486 laps, and visited the campsites and the designer sims. And 4,817 luminaria were lit in support of loved ones going through treatment, and in memory of those heroes who have passed on.

Speaking to committee and team members and volunteers at the Wrap-Up Party, MamaP Beerbaum said: ‘WOW, What a wonderful Relay we had! From Kick-Off in March to Relay Weekend in July, you all worked non-stop, with a passion and commitment that never wavered!

‘As I think back on this season, I am in awe of so many things. We broke so many records. We took the theme ‘Seasons of Hope’ to places we never thought it would go. And we brought it to life on 41 sims creating a breathtaking experience for all who found their way there. And most importantly we proved that we really can work together as One Team!

‘Thank you for giving me the honor of being your chair. Thank you for showing the world that SL is a good place, and that in this Second Life of ours, we CAN make a difference.’

Stingray9798 Raymaker ( in real life Jeff Montegut, the American Cancer Society representative in Second Life) said: ‘It makes me the proudest person in the whole ACS office to represent the coolest people on the planet!’

Spirit of Relay

The ‘Spirit of Relay’ individual award went this year to Daaneth Kivioq. Announcing the award, last year’s winner Ember Farina said: ‘The Individual Spirit of Relay is awarded to the individual that embodies the ‘Spirit of the Relay’ and takes into consideration the ‘spirit’ of the individual, how they embraced Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society Mission, and the enthusiasm displayed.’

This year, just as Relay was kicking into high gear, Daaneth suffered a debilitating stroke. Ember said: ‘His motivation for a fast recovery was actually Relay for Life! He worried so much about his team that he came back in world before he could even read or type; they all used voice to communicate with him to ensure that the team would keep moving forward.’

Nevar Lobo, co-captain of last year’s winner of the ‘Spirit of Relay’ team award, announced this year’s team winner Team OD, followed by Steelhead Salmons in second place and Team Caledon in third place.

For a complete list of Wrap-Up Awards see:

For more pictures from the Wrap-Up Party see

Looking ahead

Looking ahead to 2012 MamaP Beerbaum announced that she would be continuing as Event Chair, supported by this year’s Co-Chair Dwen Dooley and new Co-Chair Nikki Mathieson. Nikki, who has been relaying in Second Life since 2007 and was this year’s Event Day area chair, said: ‘It is a tremendous honor to be invited to be a Co-Chair and I really look forward to the upcoming season.’ Her message to Relayers was ‘Keep relaying all winter… Do that by bringing someone… anyone… even if it’s just one person who doesn’t know about us… to ACS Island and let them know we’re here… in SL. Tell them about our RFL season and get them watching for that kick off in the spring… invite them to it… get them excited and enthused to jump onboard with us.’

The Kick-Off for RFL of SL 2012 will be on March 10, 2012. Next year’s theme will be ‘Time for a Cure’. And the clock is already ticking!

Nearly 400 thousand US dollars is nothing to sneeze at for cancer research. Kudos to the organising team for what’s become an iconic annual event in Second Life.

[Photo courtesy of Saeriah Thei]

Disability Rights Conference in Second Life

Another great event from Virtual Ability Island in Second Life on the way in coming days:

July 16, 2011 – IDRAC2011

International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference- July 23/24, 2011

Virtual World Conference about Real World Rights

Virtual Ability, Inc. announces the International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC2011) to be held Saturday and Sunday, July 23/24, in Second Life®.

In 2006, the United Nations held a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The text of the Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly, and now has over 100 signatory states, including the US and the European Union.

Legislation to protect the rights of persons with disabilities is becoming common around the world. However, the June 9 World Health Organization study, the World Report on Disability, found significant barriers to equal access for persons with disabilities still exist.

This international conference will begin to explore legal protections around the world for persons with disabilities. Featured panels of persons from around the world will discuss local legislation that supports the rights of persons with disabilities. Panelists come from Australia, Belgium, Costa Rica, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK.

Featured presenters include Scott Gill, Simon Walsh, Sister Abeyante, and Roberta Walker Kilkenny.

Gill is Executive Director of Access 2 independence, a Center for Independent Living in Iowa, US; he will talk about the independence movement. Walsh is head of his own consulting firm in the UK; he will compare the US ADA legislation with the UK’s DDA. Abeyante is a Salvatorian Sister; she will discuss advocacy for disability (civil and human) rights. Kilkenny is a college instructor; she will present about the significance of the UN Convention.

Presentations by the National Service Inclusion Project and the Job Accommodation Network will highlight disability services available in the US. Other sessions will feature peer support, comedy, and dance, both as part of the affirmation celebration.

Presentations will take place in Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island within Second Life®: The full schedule of confirmed presenters is posted inworld, and at

Alice Krueger, president of Virtual Ability, Inc., stated: “It is a great pleasure to host so many wonderful speakers. Our audience will gain information about the extent of the issues facing people with disabilities, and the potentials for solutions to barriers.”

About Virtual Ability, Inc.

Virtual Ability, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation based in Denver, Colorado, dedicated to enabling people with a wide range of disabilities by providing a supporting environment for them to enter and thrive in on-line virtual worlds like Second Life®.

For more information on Virtual Ability, Inc., including the benefits of virtual reality for people with disabilities, please see

For further information, contact:

Alice Krueger, President
Virtual Ability Inc.
Office: 303/400-3306

Relay for Life in Second Life: 2011

Relay for Life 2011 is in its closing stages as we speak in Second Life. US$343,000 has been raised at time of writing (71 million Linden dollars) and there’s still plenty to see and do. As always musical entertainment is a focus in addition to the relay itself, and there’s plenty on offer.

If you haven’t already, jump in and participate. Even better, add to the donation tally!

All the details you need to get involved are here.

Virtual worlds and social good: a striking example

Over the years of covering the virtual worlds industry, one of the highlights has been seeing grass-roots fundraising efforts. Using my own country of Australia as an example, significant amounts of money have been raised for the 2009 Bushfires and this year’s series of calamities in Queensland. There’s already planning under way for events to support those affected by the horrendous events in Japan over the past week and Linden Lab are doing their bit as well.

Add to that ongoing initiatives such as Relay for Life and you have a well-established means of making a difference. All of these examples come from Second Life, but at a wider level some serious initiatives are starting to see the light of day.

One such initiative is being driven by a leader in the social gaming sphere, Zynga. Creators of the (in)famous game Farmville amongst others, is devoted to raising money for worthy causes, using Zynga’s worlds as the vehicle. It marries two very powerful forces: virtual goods and a desire to help others. Using the current Haiti disaster as an example, 1.5 million dollars was raised and significant amounts are expected for the current tragedy in Japan:

Twelve hours after the earthquake struck, on Friday, March 11th, 8pm pst, Zynga launched in-game initiatives that made donations possible across a number of our most popular games, including: CityVille, FarmVille, Zynga Poker, FrontierVille and Words with Friends. Vampire Wars is now live with a campaign, as well, and YoVille and FishVille will soon launch theirs.

The impetus for doing non-profit work is always multi-faceted. Aside from the obvious aspect of being community-minded, most companies also know the good PR such activities draw. The huge number of social virtual world users is an obvious area where demonstrating good corporate citizenship is increasingly important. Zynga because of its size has drawn some substantial criticism over some aspects of its games / worlds, and initiatives like this help balance the equation a little.

Queensland Flood Relief in Second Life

Two years ago, a number of Second Life vendors got together to raise funds for the Victorian Bushfire victims. Thanks to another bunch of dedicated people, coordinated by Brisbane-based Kat Johnston, there are a range of things you can do to raise money for the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal.

It’s all under the banner of Extend A Helping Hand (EAHH), and there’s two large ways to make a difference:

1. Attend some of the great events planned, including a 24-hour concert featuring Australian artists on Australia Day (26th Jan)

2. Go shopping at the EAHH Market, which has an enormous range of items you can buy, with most contributing 100% to the appeal – the lowest ratio was 75% on a handful of items. There’s some top notch fashion, house items and body shapes for starters – you can view a list of vendors here.

At time of writing nearly 1.2 million Linden Dollars had been raised – around US$4,500, with the bulk of events still to come. So if you can, jump in and check it out for yourself in-world.

If you’ve got your own fundraising activities organised, post a note about it in comments!

Body image study: last chance for participation

Back in January we promoted a study being undertaken by Doctorate student Jon-Paul Cacioli on body image in virtual worlds (the study participants need to be aged 18 or over and be male). Click here for the survey link

The response over recent months has been good be Jon-Paul needs a few more people to take part in the survey:

We have introduced an amazon gift voucher of $100 which will be randomly drawn from all participants who entered after data analysis is complete. If individuals have already entered prior to the prize they can email me at and I will add them to the draw.

Thanks for your help

So why not jump in and assist in developing the body of knowledge in an area we all know fairly well – the results could be interesting to say the least.

Copenhagen, climate change and Second Life

copenhagen1-smlUnless you’ve avoided all news over the past year or so, you’ll have heard about the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, which starts on the 7th December and runs through to the 18th December.

OneClimate, auspiced by Non-profit organisation OneCLimate, has created Virtual Copenhagen a large exhibition space in Second Life. Aside from the numerous exhibitions (some are listed below), the presence will be streaming content from Copenhagen plenary sessions, press conferences and “voices from the global south that might not otherwise be heard”. Aside from the streaming aspect, those attending in Second Life will have the opportunity to put questions to people being interviewed by the broadcasters in Copenhagen.

I spent half an hour walking around the exhibits and there’s certainly plenty of interesting information to be digested. There are some exhibition spaces remaining (contact Coughdrop Littlething in-world if you’re interested). For more details on the Second Life activities, teleport there yourself or check the OneClimate website.


Exhibitor listing

All but the last two listed below will have staff representatives in-world:

Beta Business Park, HeatSaver Energy Systems Inc, SmarterEarth (working in with the University of Iowa), Commonwealth Islands, NOAA, Virtual Native Lands, V-Innovate, European Metaverse Association, Public Policy Virginia, L’Ultimatum Climatique, Better World – Center for Water Studies, Human Mosaic Systems, The Institute for Sustainable Communication, Four Bridges, Peace Train, Etopia, ViO, State of the World Forum and The Transition Network.

Once the real-workd discussions fire up in December, it’ll be interesting to see what impact the Second Life aspect will play. Virtual Copenhagen is certainly well resourced and organised: whether it can cut through the enormous level of activity that’ll be occurring remains to be seen, but OneClimate certainly won’t die wondering with their efforts.

Check it out in-world

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