Wednesday, November 18, 2009

SL Education Roundtable Changes its Name

by AJ Kelton, Founder and Chief Moderator
and the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable Organizers

(photo courtesy of Olivia Hotshot)

In March of 2008 the idea was born for a weekly roundtable meeting focused on a specific topic each week. The idea was to bring a bit of democracy to the process of discussing education in this new and adventurous world we'd all found ourselves in. The group was called the SL Education Roundtable and the idea was for us all to, quite literally, sit around a round table and talk with each other. Over time the meeting group grew to 40 or more attending each week, with nearly 400 members in our Second Life (c) in-world group and over 400 members in our Facebook group. Through the efforts of both a handful of dedicated volunteers, as well as a broad and diverse group of people participating on a regular basis, the group has seen a fair amount of success.

SLER was never meant to be a bully pulpit from which controversial ideas or political dramas were fostered. Our role has been to create an environment within which many thoughts and ideas can be talked about and shared, without anyone feeling like theirs were bad or wrong or unwelcome. In many ways, this group has become somewhat of a news media outlet, where topical ideas are raised and discussed without the gloss of one side versus the others. This is not to say our conversations cannot get heated, or interesting, but the organization itself does not take sides, it just facilitates conversation.

Since that day nearly two years ago, the landscape has changed. Technology has changed. Virtual worlds have changed. Second Life has changed. And now it is time for our organization to also change. In order to acknowledge that there are many virtual worlds out there to be talked about, and proactively moving into compliance with the Linden Lab restriction of the use of the "SL" in any name, effective January 6th, this group will be called the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable.

In addition, effective immediately, Our scope will broaden beyond the weekly meetings every Tuesday in Second Life, at Montclair State University's virtual campus. We will continue to hold our Tuesday weekly meeting in Second Life. We will also be holding additional meetings on other days in other virtual worlds, including one tomorrow, Wednesday November 18th at 3:00pm Eastern Time, in Rezzable's simulation, Heritage Key. In the future we will also be meeting in Metaplace, Reaction grid, as well as other virtual world grids.

A new Second Life group, Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable (VWER), has already been created and, as of today, will begin to accept membership. Although we will leave the original SLER group open, effective today, no new members will be allowed to join this group. There are also Flickr and Koinup groups making use of the new name, a Facebook group, and a Twitter account. We feel the time between today and January 6th will allow all of those interested to make this important and exciting transition with us.

Great thanks to all those who support The Roundtable efforts and activities. We're looking forward to even better programming for our regular meetings as well as expanding our virtual worlds vocabulary.

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