March 14-16, 2024

Keynotes and Invited Speakers

With seventeen years of education, art, science, discussion, and networking using immersive virtual environments in education behind us, we discover our Mythic Origins in amazing digital spaces of play, learning, and creation.

We are pleased to feature the following keynotes and invited speakers on the slate for the upcoming VWBPE conference in March 2024.


Wagner James Au/ SL: Hamlet Au

Wagner James Au/ SL: Hamlet Au


Thursday 14 March @ 4:00 PM SLT, VWBPE Auditorium

Wagner James Au (“Hamlet Au” in SL) is the author of Making a Metaverse That Matters (2023), based on his 20 years working in virtual worlds — a story he first started telling in The Making of Second Life (HarperCollins, 2008), based on his experiences as the first journalist officially embedded in a metaverse platform. His writing about virtual worlds has been featured in The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, and Wired, among many other publications, and has spoken on the topic at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Princeton, among many other universities.

Additional Links:

Making a Metaverse That Matters on Amazon

Get a special 35% publisher discount for the hardcover copy of Making a Metaverse That Matters using the code “VWBPE” from Wiley.com (from March 14-16)

Read Hamlet’s SL/Metaverse blog New World Notes

Nellie Deutsch (Ed.D) / SL: Nellie Homewood

Nellie Deutsch (Ed.D) / SL: Nellie Homewood

Co-Chair of TESOL CALL-IS and Instructor, International Hellenic University

Friday 15 March @ 9:00 AM SLT, VWBPE Auditorium

Nellie Deutsch (Ed.D) is Co-Chair of TESOL CALL-IS, on the EVO coordination team past head lead, instructor at IMT Immersive Technologies MSc program at International Hellenic University and mentor to educators worldwide.

Nellie has taught English in public schools and colleges for over 40 years and integrated technology (computer room) in high school since 1992. She joined SL in 2007 as Nellie Homewood.

She offers free annual online professional development courses and webinars on Moodle for Teachers and provides a Moodle platform for teachers to teach for free on Teachers Teaching Teachers. She founded the annual Moodle and Virtual World MOOCs (2014-2023) and online conferences (CO09-CO24) (MMVC11-23).

She implements learner autonomy, video-based mobile and desktop learning, collaborative and peer learning, Open Education Resources, emerging technologies, and self-care with mindfulness and the Alexander technique face-to-face, fully online, and in blended learning formats.

Above the Book

What’s Up at the Lab?

Thursday 14 March @ Noon SLT

Linden Lab

Diamond Sponsor of VWBPE 2024

The staff at Linden Lab have long been our partners in supporting education in virtual environments. They have collaborated with VWBPE and the Rockcliffe University Consortium on several initiatives to enable the conference to improve the ability of our education community members to network, develop and implement their own projects.

Join Kevin Feenan/Phelan Corrimal as he discusses the newest trends in technology and innovation as it applies to the educational community. Joining Kevin will be members of the team from Linden Lab: Grumpity, Kali and Signal. This popular session will cover trends occurring within the virtual and augmented reality space and provide insight into how educators can prepare themselves.

Grumpity Linden

Grumpity Linden

Senior Vice President of Product and Engineering, Linden Lab

Grumpity Linden leads the charge in evolving Second Life, driving growth, enhancing the digital economy, and fostering community cohesion with a blend of strategic vision and self-deprecating humor. Her journey to Linden Lab, beginning as a contractor in 2009 and transitioning to full-time in 2014, was enriched by experiences across diverse industries including technology, higher education, and oil & gas. These roles fueled her passion for exploring both virtual and physical worlds and for building meaningful connections—both personal and professional.

Holding both a Master’s and a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and a BS in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University, Grumpity finds leading the Second Life product uniquely rewarding. It allows her to leverage her dual background, blending technical insight with an understanding of human behavior. Her leadership philosophy is rooted in empowerment, trust-building, and the love for solving the complex puzzles inherent in guiding a platform as dynamic and community-centric as Second Life. She is not only committed to advancing the virtual landscape but also deeply invested in nurturing the vibrant community that makes Second Life thrive.

Kali Linden

Kali Linden

Director of Engineering, Linden Lab

Kali Linden stands at the helm of three small and exceptional teams responsible for enhancing the user experience across Second Life’s vast digital landscape. Under Kali Linden’s leadership, this talented group develops and maintains a wide array of Resident-facing web properties and critical internal APIs, including the Marketplace, Web Search, Linden Homes, Land stores, Dashboard, Accounts pages, Feeds, Places, Auctions, and Cashier, among others. This collaborative effort ensures that Second Life remains an ever-evolving, secure, and engaging world for its users. Celebrated for their innovation and dedication, Kali Linden’s team is central to fostering the platform’s dynamic community and digital economy, testament to their collective vision and hard work.

Beyond the professional sphere, Kali Linden’s passion for fostering growth and creativity shines through a longstanding commitment to mentoring middle and high school students in STEAM. This dedication has inspired the next generation of creators, with students achieving remarkable feats such as building visual novels in Ren’Py and light-seeking mouse robots. Additionally, she co-founded a non-profit organization that has assisted over 300 individuals so far in navigating their career paths. At the heart of Kali Linden’s philosophy lies a belief in the transformative power of technology, art, and community, driving forward Second Life’s mission to create a world where anything is possible.

Signal Linden

Signal Linden

Director of Second Life Server and Viewer teams, Linden Lab

Signal Linden is an engineer and recently anointed Director of Second Life Server and Viewer teams. He was attracted to the new media art and creative aspects of Second Life in 2005, and joined the company in 2015 after working at Amazon, CareerBuilder and the Grand Rapids Public Library system. He believes virtual worlds can push the envelope of experience, and is a strong proponent of open source software and development.

Catching up with the Thinkerers

Saturday 16 March @ 3:00 PM SLT

Renne Emiko Brock / Zinnia Zauber

Renne Emiko Brock / Zinnia Zauber

VWBPE 2020 Thinkerer

Join Becky Adams/Elli Pinion as she interviews our 2020 Thinkerer Award winner Renne Emiko Brock/Zinnia Zauber. Artist, instructor, and superhero empowering people to be their best virtual and tangible self, Renne has focused her efforts on teaching by example the evolution of intelligence, role models, and superheroes within virtual spaces. This session will explore how artistry creates empowerment by self-expression and opportunities to develop responsibility, confidence, problem-solving skills, independent research, and respect before and after COVID.