SAESL Blog: Spending time at VWBPE

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This week wasn’t just Spring Break for me.  Rather, it was time for the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference in Second Life.  Last year, I managed to wrangle a last minute slot.  This year, I had two proposals in the mix and both were accepted.  The first, a poster presentation called “Virtual Tourism as an Online Learning Community-Building Tool: Preliminary Findings” went up early in the week and I proceeded to keep adding to it until the last possible minute.  (If you haven’t been to an inworld conference, they tend to go 24 hours a day.  Displays are left up for the duration.)  The second proposal was for a tour, “Steampunkery and Lifelong Learning.”  It was scheduled for Thursday night, 9 pm slt (that’s 11 pm local).

This year’s theme was steampunk, which was fun for me.  Of course, a lot of the presenters in the poster area apparently either didn’t get the memo or didn’t know what steampunk is–lots of modern glowy signage around and neon stuff that doesn’t have much to do with the presentations.  That said, the main presentation areas were impressive.  After attending one of the presentations in the North quadrant, I actually went and hunted down the airship the presenter was standing in front of–I had to have it!  (Try doing that in a real world conference!) ;D

The poster presentations have been approved to stay in place until the end of the month, if anyone wants to stroll through them.  Mine can be found at .

Airship circling my display area

Airship circling my display area

Front entrance of display area

Front entrance of display area

Overhead view of display area

Overhead view of display area

Display interior and presentation board

Display interior and presentation board


The tour was a fun one, even though it was late and I was already getting tired.  I answered a lot of questions about steampunk culture and, hopefully, introduced some folks to some cool spots in Caledon, Steelhead, and Steeltopia where people can “get their learnin’ on” for their own enjoyment.

In case anyone’s interested, I’m including the tour text and slurls in this post.  For more information on the conference itself, see


Today, we’ll be hopping around to several locations throughout the Steamlands/Historical sims, selections from the regular tours done weekly out of Oxbridge University.  All of these sites are dedicated to learning, culture, arts, community-building, etc–and all of them have a steampunk or historical twist.
It may seem that we’re hopping around rather quickly, to keep the tour to around an hour.  Feel free to take the notecard and landmarks to futher explore the locations.


Note:  Tours venture into Mature as well as PG sims.  If you are not able to access Mature rated sims (if you are below 18 years of age), you will not be able to fully participate in these tours.

Tour Stop 1–Our first stop takes us to Caledon Oxbridge University, once part of the Community Gateway system here in SL, it still offers an introductory tutorial and beginner’s classes in SL.

You may notice upon entering Oxbridge that many of the avatars here are dressed in a rather odd or old fashioned way.  That’s because Oxbridge is a part of Caledon, a Steampunk Victorian-themed virtual nation.  Many of the volunteers here are residents of Caledon and dress the part.
Oxbridge is broken up into “colleges” of grouped together lessons.  Most of the lessons are presented in graphic/text form on static boards, but there are some interactive lessons.

Tour Stop 2–Next, we’ll head to the Caledon Library Main Branch, the Jack and Elaine Whitehorn Memorial Library in Caledon Victoria City.

Across the street from the library is the Reading Room, which features multiple “nooks” to settle in with an Aether full text volume.  You can also find the latest additions to the library collection here.
Just outside the library is the Book Mo’Blimp.  The blimp seats five and and visits all ten branches of the Caledon Library System.  Each branch has a different theme, all related to steampunk culture or the Victorian age.  (The tour takes about an hour to go to all of the branches–but for those not wanting to spend the time flying over the countryside, the Caledon Libraries HUD can be used to get from branch to branch. The HUD can be found just inside the Main Branch.)

Inside the main branch building, there are representative collections from each of the branches in the system, as well as space on the bottom floor for exhibits.

Tour Stop 3–The next stop is the Museum of Resident Art in Port Caledon.

The museum collection consists of mulitple floors of resident-created artwork of multiple styles.

Tour Stop 4–Next, we’ll visit the Doctor Gene Scott Memorial behind the cemetary in Caledon Moors.

It may take a bit for the images to rez, but within this house are signboards that depict areas of Dr. Scott’s work in archaeology. (You should get an informational notecard about his work at the entrance.)

Tour Stop 5–We’ll now head north to Caledon Stormhold, to see the Stormhold Fire Hall.

Here we’ll see models of fire engines and trucks as well as historical photos of firefighters on the walls.

Tour Stop 6–We’ll  now hop to Steeltopia, to the Steeltopia City Engineering Academy.

This fine structure was built by Aeolus Cleanslate. It is inspired by the RL Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Emerging Cinema and Media Arts located in Halifax, NS.Classes will be held here in the future as time progresses.
Legal: Niether Steeltopia nor its affiliates are associated with NSCAD Universities in ANY way.

Tour Stop 7–To get a few of more historical representations in SL, we’ll next head to Steelhead, to the Steelhead Museum of Historic Preservation.

Here, you’ll find pictures of historical builds throughout Steelhead, as well as their real life counterparts.
Just inside the door is information about historic preservation using the virtual world as well as the landmarks of the movement here in Steelhead.


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