By Karen Alexander, PGH in 360 Director

Final 2018 post! In the previous 2 of this year-end wrap-up series, we talked about the 360 videos made by teens in the project and the public reaction to them at 4 festivals in Pittsburgh. Today’s topic is PGH in 360 on a (virtual) international stage.

PGH in 360 on an International (Virtual) Stage

In November of this year I was honored that PGH in 360: Youth Perspectives was included in a listing of 100 Voices of AR and VR in Education put together by Steve Bambury. The list included luminaries of the XR world and teachers who make a difference every day by striving to find the best tools and methods for their students. Steve is an educator based in Dubai and a global leader in the use of XR technologies for education. His VirtualiTeach website contains a wealth of resources for those who use or are interested in using XR for educational purposes. Steve also runs #CPDinVR (continuing professional development in VR), a live event in which he brings technologists and educators together in VR to discuss new tools, applications, ideas, challenges, and successes. I’ve attended a number of these events since they began in 2017 and was thrilled to be asked to present on PGH in 360 in the final #CPDinVR event of 2018.

#CPDinVR takes place on the Engage platform developed by VR Education Holdings. People from all over the world attend via customizable avatars who can interact with one another and share presentation materials. I was extremely proud to be able to talk about the 360 video productions made by Pittsburgh youth to people from at least 11 countries around the world.

The response to the talk was terrific. Folks loved the idea of giving young people access to 360 technology and allowing them to create videos that reflect their views and concerns. Here is a photo of my avatar explaining the context of gun violence in which Black Youth Speaks, Chapter 1: Retaliation vs. Innocent Lives Lost was made in June 2018.

My hope is that this presentation will inspire others to make XR technologies more widely available and to encourage young people to explore creating with new technological tools so that they can benefit from the rise of XR and talk about the issues that matter to them in an exciting and impactful new medium.

If you would like to support PGH in 360, you can do so in several ways. Donations to the project can be made through our fiscal sponsor, New Sun Rising. We are also looking for community organizations who would like to host the project and for grant opportunities to fund additional workshops. We hope to bring you more 360 videos from Pittsburgh youth in 2019, and possibly from other groups as well. You can also follow us on Twitter or Instagram or subscribe to our YouTube channel. How would you like to see the PGH in 360 project expand? Send us your ideas and let us know if you’d like to work with us! You can email me here–I’d love to hear from you!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2019!

From a test run of the #CPDinVR session, talking about PGH in 360 at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA Lighthouse Project in June.

Updated avatar, sitting awkwardly in my chair!