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ISTE2018 Chapter 3--Monday!

Monday was a huge day for us. We started out by racing to the conference center, arriving at 7:00am. Our "Ready Player 101: Imagining, Creating, and Sharing Worlds in Digital Reality" Playground was scheduled to open at 8 and run to 11:30. I had scoped out the space on Saturday and I was thoroughly satisfied that we had planned this playground more thoroughly than any in the past. Well, at least since they had been re-allocated a half-day time slot. Back in the day we had full days, and before that, 3 day Playground!

I set to work establishing a working station at the presentation area, which included a 40" or so flat panel video monitor with a single PA speaker on a post stand, a tall single cocktail table, and 18 upholstered cubes for audience seating. I had scheduled connectivity testing with the three (of six) presenters who were doing so remotely. Those went well--Skype worked great for voice, Second Life was doing okay despite a low frame rate of delivery, Sinespace functioned fine over Skype desktop share, and we were good to go with sound and video by the time testing was complete.
Before the Playground
After the Playground
 Rather than blow-by-blow the event, I'll just give you a set of references that will lend understanding:
The schedule (of our side):

Many of the presenters shared their slides and/or other resources, and those can all be accessed our conference "Digital Tote" folder--see
Description: AR/VR Resources, Virtual Environment ideas, Merge Cube Lessons and MORE!!

If there is something you need that you don't see there, please comment here and we'll add it to the folder.

It was crazy before it started. Sort of off in the corner during setup I was spared the pre-scheduled swarm (which proved to be prophetic), but as soon as Mary and Andy started setting up our tables they were swamped by eager conference attendees filled with curiosity and an eagerness to learn. As a result, vibrant learning sessions were already in full swing there by the time my first scheduled presentation was scheduled to begin--and it was to feature Mary and Andy! Our first flexibility was to point folks to their tables to join in on their learning sessions that way (lesson 1 of many).

My second scheduled presentation station event was difficult to "audience" (not that I can recall that word being verbed). The Playground was packed, both our side and the far side (from me) staffed by the Games and Learning PLN. Table presenters were talking and demonstrating on laptops a mile a minute. The G&S Network's presentation station, opposite ours, was full of folks, due both to Kae Novak's audience enlistment mic work and to the placement of that presentation station. I went to work on the mic, sounding a little like a carnival barker, and in a few minutes we had a tidy audience of 6 or 7 to watch Brant Knudsen login to Skype and to Second Life to share the fantastic Pirate Battle Game he uses in his classes at The University of Hong Kong. Yes, we were sharing LIVE from HONG KONG!

That is one of the best affordances of virtual worlds: a sense of presence at a distance. It's perceived co-location despite geographic remove. Brant was actually "with" us at 9am US CDT Time although he was also in Hong Kong at  10pm his own time. Groovy.

Meanwhile, the tables were rocking, and since the presenter from Unity3D had not arrived (and never did--they were swamped in their own way on the Expo floor. That turned out to be okay since there was lots of unity going on over on the G&S side), Bob Vojtek took over the 3rd table while Rosie Vojtek peopled the long table sharing info about Virtual Education Journal. Bob had an admirable pile of 3D gear laid out, including haptic controllers and a 3D camera, and he was walking people through 3D everything, many for the very first time. Andy was sharing CoSpaces and OpenSimulator with eager learners, and Mary was rocking her table with a pile of Mergecubes and sharing lesson plans for using them in the classroom. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! Click to play:

Toward the end of the Playground, during the part where our connections at the presentation station was more or less taken over with a Second Life feed and the sound in SL failed us so I was looping the movies they were sharing there on the screen, I did a few minutes Facebook Live Video that I think may give you even more of a sense of how that active morning went. Here it is:

By the end of the event we agreed that it had been the best Playground in a long long time. We packed up all our gear and signage and tried to leave the space as clean and ready to set up as we found it.

Monday? Just getting started! Andy and I decided to run up to get lunch and we headed up to the place I had stopped into for dinner Saturday, Weather Mark Tavern. We had the burger lunch special-- delicious--and then got back down to the conference center for some Poster session cruising and Mary's presentation.

Mary did a stellar job with her presentation, "Is 3D for Me?" The ppt for it is available in her digital tote, and it is most definitely worth however many clicks it will take for you to get to it. I took a few pics there, too, as Mary shared everything from basic definitions of 3D to lesson plans replete with templates. Follow Mary's blog "Using Your Smarticles" to reap regular rewards from that connection. She's absolutely amazing:

Andy and I headed back up to the hotel for a bit of a rest. Shortly after we got there, our friend Caitlin Krause, just in from Switzerland, texted Andy and wanted to get together. She was going to run down (literally, run) from her hotel farther north to ours. When she texted she was here, we met her downstairs and decided to go for coffee. It was WINDY, though hot, and it was so great to catch up with her and where she is in her mindfulness journey as we strolled up to Starbucks. You can learn a bit about Caitlin at MindWise, her website, but I feel like I know more after spending only an hour or two with her. All her work, she is more and more discovering, boils down to the importance of human connections. At one point she mentioned that when people want to plumb her expertise about things mindfulness, she increasingly
finds herself talking about connections. It's a rarefied path she is on, and I look forward to following her as she nurtures her spirit and her charm and her intuitive grasp of how things work to move her work forward. Mary joined us, and later Caitlin's pal Andy. We talked a bit deep, laughed a lot, and learned what one another was doing. I suggested we head over to Buckingham Fountain (see that previous post for more) to enjoy the early afternoon. We did.

Are we still on Monday? I told you it would be a big day. Caitlin and Andy #2 left for their place and the three musketeers of virtual reality strolled inland in search of a place we could have a beer or two or three. Our presenting work was done (excepting one small Tuesday morning task for me, which turned out to be quite fun for me). We ended up at Kitty O'Shea's Pub, close to the hotel, for dinner--delicious--then at Buddy Guy's Legends, which I describe in detail in that much-referenced previous post, then put in for a good night's sleep. Here, though, you must see this (thank you, Mary!):

and this:

and finally, and good night (watch for Take 4, the finale, soon!) this:

Quickjumps: Chapter 1Chapter 2,  Chapter 4


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