Helen Keller Day

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Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: Helen Keller Day in Second Life, June 27 2009

Contact person: Saxet Uralia

The 24-hour event PDT will be held all day Saturday, June 27 at the four The Ye, Olde, Supporte, Faire sims. SLURL

Virtual Helping Hands and a coalition of community volunteers are proud to announce Helen Keller Day in Second Life. Helen Keller Day is a community-event exploring how and why to employ, educate, entertain, and engage everyone through virtual worlds.

Helen Keller Day is a day that is set aside for information acquisition, education, exploration of employment opportunities, social engagement, and enjoyment of arts and entertainment... There will be vendors, employers, presentations, and pure, unbridled fun.

It's a day dedicated to raising our level of awareness for our fellow Second Life Residents who cope with disabilities. At some time in our lives, we've all felt what it feels like not to be able to participate... not to be included. Knowing how to include someone with a disability, and make them feel welcome, is an important social skill, and a small but significant kindness that we can all benefit from and feel good about.

Participants will meet people learn things, get freebies, and be entertained for their efforts.

You will hear keynote speakers Keller Johnson Thompson, the great grandniece of Helen herself and Linden Lab's Education and Healthcare Developer, John Lester, aka Pathfinder Linden. You will hear from experts in the fields of virtual education, employment, social engagement and entertainment. There will be building contests featuring skilled builders doing accessible builds before our virtual eyes. There will be a world premier "movie" featuring "Max," the virtual guide dog developed in Second Life for blind or visually impaired SL users. Also featured will be an exhibition of Max's abilities, a fashion show, chess, a Braille chat display, dancing, singing quests and storytelling... even a virtual goldmine!

There will be experiences designed to spark the imagination and "see" and "hear" the world with all the senses in new and thought provoking ways. Join the pioneers in virtual worlds who are inspired by the spirit of Helen Keller to explore ways in which everyone can participate...and create a world that richer for all.

Please come and learn, connect, explore, be entertained, and pick up freebies while sharing this positive and uplifting experience with us.


Schedule and Details

Contests

BUILDING CONTEST

Sponsors:

Why - In Second Life, there are three accessibility issues to consider when discussing "building": "what features should a good build have?," "how can everyone build?," and "how can we help everyone learn about real-world accessibility issues?"

1. First, buildings in general. When you build a house, office, store or other structure, how can you be sure that it is accessible to everyone? For example, does your building have places where avatars get "stuck" or fall off spiral staircases? Have you avoided flashing lights that might trigger a seizure? Is your signage readable by someone who is colorblind and cannot distinguish letters that do not have high contrast from the background? Does your design have doors? Do the doors have to be clicked on to open? (Remember: those that are blind cannot use a mouse or click on a certain area of the screen.)

2. Second, what if you have a real-world situation that keeps you from using a mouse -- such as the mouse on your computer suddenly dying and you don't have an alternative or you cannot see well enough to orient a mouse? Without adequate eyesight, building becomes impossible. Can you make building options available to those who can't use a mouse?

3. Third, there are educational opportunities that await you in every build. For example, in real life, wheelchairs cannot climb stairs and ramps must have an appropriate slope to be used. While being in Second Life makes such issues seem irrelevant and unnecessary, some people in wheelchairs will not use stairs. Teleporting is not always a positive experience because many times it leaves the person standing in front of his/her wheelchair. That means some great builders and designers lose sales. Are you one of them? Some great sites have visitors who never leave the landing area. Is yours one of those?

Since the focus of the day is "include everyone," we are holding a building contest to take on those difficult areas to clarify what needs to be done, and perhaps to come up with solutions.

When - Submissions for the building contest will be accepted beginning 1:00 am SLT on Saturday, June 20 until Wednesday, June 24 12:00 pm SLT (noon). Any late submissions will not be accepted, displayed, or judged. No exceptions. Judging will be held on June 26 and contest winners will be announced and prizes awarded on Saturday, June 27 from 5:30-6:00 pm SLT.

Where

  • You may build on your own land and submit the location SLURL in your entry
  • Apply to build on Biloxi sim. You can apply for one of the 18 available parcels at Biloxi. These will be awarded on a first request basis. Apply by sending a notecard to VHHMax Baily by 1:00 pm SLT, Friday, June 19. Parcel winners will be notified before contest time begins. 250 Prim limit and the plot size is 576m.

What How to enter: Send a notecard to VHHMax Bailey titled "HKD Building Contest <avatar name> and include:

  • Choose one of the categories listed below
  • Explain how your building design meets the criterion of the chosen category
  • List accessibilty features you included in your build
  • Display a sign in front of your contest entry with the following: "Helen Keller Building Contest Entry"
  • Include the names of all avatars working on the building entry
  • Take a picture of the builder(s) in front of the build and submit in the email
  • Include the landmark of your building contest entry in the notecard

There are 3 categories of "accessible" building:

1. Use Second Life to Illustrate Real World Accessibility Requirements. 3D models in Second Life can help people plan out and build in the real world. The award-winning builds will help people understand and implement real-world accessibility requirements in Second Life to help everyone learn what these requirements are and how to do them. An example can be found at: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Morrill/40/208/25. This category also includes ways to overcome SL "inaccessibility" such as places where an avatar gets "stuck." (See the requirements on the Accessible Checklist.)

2. Make Building Accessible to Everyone. This category looks for ways to accomplish what is "impossible." How can someone who cannot use normal methods of building still be able to build in Second Life? Do you have a special script or gizmo that avoids using a mouse? A clever combination of apps that lets you build even when you are low or no vision?

3. Use Builds in Second Life to Further Real-Life Education, Employment, Entertainment, and social Engagement for EVERYONE while promoting accessibility. Creations in SL generate real-world learning, jobs, fun, or significance for everyone. SL has some good money makers--like SL dogs and fishing, and ingenious educational builds. Submit yours! Be creative and make it and example of something that everyone can use and enjoy.

Prizes 1st Place - $5,000L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award 2nd Place - $2,500L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award 3rd Place - $1,000L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award

Awards Best Illustration of Real World Accessibility Requirements Best Entry of Making Building Accessible to Everyone Best Entry that Promotes Accessibility Creations


THE SECOND LIFE VISION QUEST: Exploring what it means to see

What does it mean to "see?" Anyone who is blind or has limited eyesight will tell you there are many ways to perceive the world. All the senses are involved - smell, taste, touch, and hearing - not to mention that elusive, not quite definable sixth sense. It's that sixth sense takes us beyond the realm of pure physical sight into what is often called, "vision."

The Native Americans understood the concept of "vision" well. Knowing the limitations of physical sight, they built rituals into their lives that helped them go beyond those limits to discover other, hidden insights. They called these rituals "visions quests," or journeys that expanded reality and made it possible to "see" in new and different ways.

This Second Life version of a Vision Quest is designed to spark your imagination and encourage you to "see" in new and thought provoking ways. Participants will have a choice between one of two Story Trails to pursue:

  • Story Trail #1: Told through the perceptions of a person who is blind.
  • Story Trail #2: Told from the eyes of a seeing eye dog named Max.

Each trail will have a specific set of clues to find and follow in order to tell your story. These clues will include everything from finding actual physical objects and interacting with them to doing a bit of online sleuthing in order make your story more authentic. No matter which story you choose, you must use MAX the seeing dog (free to all participants) to find the physical clues hidden on the sims. Other requirements for the story will be explained in the instructions.

Participants in the Quest will also be encouraged to take photos as they work through the clues and email them to "Saxet Uralia" <saxeturalia@gmail.com> for her to post to a Flickr group called, "Where's Max?" These images will be used as part of the awards ceremony presentation. Instructions on how to post will be included in the the Instruction Kit each participant will receive at the start.

When The Vision Quest begins on Saturday, June 20 at midnight PDT and runs until midnight PDT on Tuesday, June 24. In other words, a total of four days. June 27: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm PDT Awards announced and winning stories read aloud.

Where The Vision Quest will begin on one of two sims: Storybook Island or Biloxi. Participants are free to choose either sim as a starting point.

What Participants can choose their story trails, pick up their Instruction Kits, and get a Free copy of Max, the VHH Virtual Guidedog, at the starting point on either sim. Volunteers will be present to help those who are unsure about how to use the dog. The instructions will contain directions to the first clue.

Length The Vision Quest will run for four days. To be considered for one of the prizes, all stories must be dropped in the submission boxes on either Storybook Island or Biloxi by midnight PDT on Tuesday, June 23. There is no limit to the number of stories you can turn in, and you can do one or both of the Story Trails.

Prizes Cash prizes will be given to the top three stories: $10,000 Lindens for First, $7,500 Lindens for Second, and $5,000 Lindens for Third. Judging will be conducted by a panel of five judges and commence on Wednesday, June 24.

Awards Awards will be handed out at The Vision Quest awards ceremony to be held on Saturday, June 27 at 1:00 pm (PDT). Winners will be notified beforehand and asked to read their winning entries at the ceremony. If for some reason a winner does not want to read his/her story, Jenaia Morane or another appointed avatar will read it for him/her.

Questions? Contact Jenaia Morane inworld or drop her an email at: jenaia@tvwsp.com Copyright 2009 by Jena Ball (aka Jenaia Morane). All Rights Reserved.


POSTER CONTEST - "Including Everyone in Virtual Worlds"

Sponsors: vTSTC, Cafe 101 and Lone Wolf Virtual Partners

Why What if there were interesting places that everyone could go to, interesting activities that everyone could participate in... everyone but you? How would you feel?

People with disabilities overcome obstacles that most can’t imagine, just getting through every day. You may not be aware of it, but if you’re active in Second Life (SL), chances are you interact with someone with a disability.

People with disabilities make up approximately 20 percent of the SL population. For many people with disabilities, SL is about as “barrier-free” an environment as it gets - People who cannot walk in real life can fly and teleport here in SL. Some barriers do not disappear: Deaf and hearing impaired people can be unwittingly excluded from voice chats, and people who are blind or visually impaired still face massive challenges in being able to use the highly visual 3D environment at all – Which is why Helen Keller Day is coming to Second Life, Saturday, June 27. It’s a day that is set aside for 24 solid hours of information, education, exploration of employment opportunities, arts and entertainment, and social engagement, at the four islands: Ye, Olde, Supporte, Faire. There will be vendors, employers, presentations, and mainly… fun!

Throughout all that, Helen Keller Day is about consciousness raising. It’s a movement in the 60s tradition - It’s about raising our level of awareness for us all as brothers and sisters about having disabilities. It’s about learning that everyone can participate, and it’s about becoming knowledgeable about how to do a small but important kindness by being sensitive, and knowing how to include everyone in activities and interactions. At some time in our lives, we’ve all felt what it feels like not to be able to participate… not to be included. Knowing how to include someone with a disability, and make everyone feel welcome, is an important social skill, and sometimes can be just that small but significant kindness that we can all benefit from.

What Contest Rules: Design a poster that illustrates "Celebrating Inclusion of Everyone in Virtual Worlds." The poster will be judged by the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the topic of "Celebrating Inclusion of Everyone in Virtual Worlds."
  • Achieving the the elements of design - Refer to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_principles_and_elements
  • All submissions must include a description notecard. You will describe your poster in such a way that someone who is blind will be able to understand the meaning, elements, and the beauty of your poster design. Descriptions should be limited to no more than 300 words.
  • Posters will be displayed on a PG sim and must have the appropriate content and remember -- Max's mom will be seeing them, too! Entries with inappropriate content will not be displayed or judged.
  • All entries will become the property of Virtual Helping Hands. By entering the contest, all parties agree that Virtual Helping Hands and its associates have the right to display, copy, distribute, and otherwise use the posters as it sees fit without any fee or other form of compensation.

Submission Guidelines

  • Create a folder titled HKD Poster Contest with your avatar name. (example: HKD Poster Contest VHHMax Baily)
  • All submissions must be uploaded as 512x512 textures
  • All submissions must be full permissions (right click on the texture, go to Properties and make sure that Modify, Copy and Transfer are all checked)
  • Posters will be displayed on a PG sim and must have the appropriate content and Max's mom will be seeing them too! Entries with inappropriate content will not be displayed or judged.
  • All entries will be sent to JanythKU Techsan by the deadline below.

How Submissions will be accepted beginning 1:00 am SLT on Saturday, June 20 until Wednesday, June 24 12:00 pm SLT (noon). Any late submissions will not be accepted, displayed, or judged. No exceptions. Judging will be held on June 26 and contest winners will be announced and prizes awarded on Saturday, June 27 from 8:00 - 8:30 pm SLT.

Prizes 1st Place - $5,000L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award 2nd Place - $2,500L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award 3rd Place - $5,000L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award

Awards Best Poster Design communicating "Celebrating Inclusion of Everyone in Virtual Worlds."

"WHERE'S MAX?" FLICKR PHOTO CONTEST: "Max, the VVH Virtual Guidedog, Welcomes Everyone to Explore Second Life" Sponsors:

Why What if there were interesting places that everyone could go to, interesting activities that everyone could participate in... everyone but you? How would you feel?

People with disabilities overcome obstacles that most can’t imagine, just getting through every day. You may not be aware of it, but if you’re active in Second Life (SL), chances are you interact with someone with a disability.

People with disabilities make up approximately 20 percent of the SL population. For many people with disabilities, SL is about as “barrier-free” an environment as it gets - People who cannot walk in real life can fly and teleport here in SL. Some barriers do not disappear: Deaf and hearing impaired people can be unwittingly excluded from voice chats, and people who are blind or visually impaired still face massive challenges in being able to use the highly visual 3D environment at all – Which is why Helen Keller Day is coming to Second Life, Saturday, June 27. It’s a day that is set aside for 24 solid hours of information, education, exploration of employment opportunities, arts and entertainment, and social engagement, at the four islands: Ye, Olde, Supporte, Faire. There will be vendors, employers, presentations, and mainly… fun!

Throughout all that, Helen Keller Day is about consciousness raising. It’s a movement in the 60s tradition - It’s about raising our level of awareness for us all as brothers and sisters about having disabilities. It’s about learning that everyone can participate, and it’s about becoming knowledgeable about how to do a small but important kindness by being sensitive, and knowing how to include everyone in activities and interactions. At some time in our lives, we’ve all felt what it feels like not to be able to participate… not to be included. Knowing how to include someone with a disability, and make everyone feel welcome, is an important social skill, and sometimes can be just that small but significant kindness that we can all benefit from.

A welcome at the door makes everyone feel great! People who are already in Second Life can show others what they enjoy there - education, employment, entertainment, and social engagement. Including everyone is not easy, so let's show what makes the effort worth it!

How do I enter?

   * Go to Wheelies on the Water (http:slurl.com/secondlife/Taupo/174/134/29 )
   * Pick up Max, the VHH Virtual Guidedog for free
   * Take Max traveling in Second Life to to the most beautiful, interesting, and engaging places for education, employment, entertainment, and social engagement in Second Life. While you are there at your favorite beauty spot or business, grab a snapshot of you and Max to be posted on Flickr.
   * Email your entries to virtualhelpinghands@gmail.com entries will be posted to the official Flickr account.
   * Entries must include the SLURL, a caption and a description of the photo to be read to someone who is blind.    


NOTE: "Keep it clean - Max's mother is going to see these!"

When Submissions will be accepted beginning 1:00 am SLT on Saturday, June 20 until Wednesday, June 24 12:00 pm SLT (noon). Any late submissions will not be accepted, displayed, or judged. No exceptions. Judging will be held on June 26 and contest winners will be announced and prizes awarded on Saturday, June 27 from 8:00 - 8:30 pm SLT.

Prizes 1st Place - $2,000L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award (each category) Honorable Mention - $200L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award


Awards Max Finds Beauty in Nature Max Finds His Inner Student Max Finds His Sense of Humor Max Finds His Artistic Side Max Finds Adventure Max Finds Something Strange Max Finds Success Max Finds Danger Max Finds SciFi Max Finds Romance Max Finds Lindens Portraits of Max

3-D WIKI MULTI-CHANNEL INTERACTIVE GAME by Jeremy Braver from Braver Consulting Sponsors: Jeremy Braver from Braver Consulting

What Housed in two locations: A 3D wiki in SL at [location] A Wiki doc located at http://blinddeafawareness.pbworks.com

Experience a game whose first contributor is Keller Johnston Thompson -- the great grandniece of Helen Keller herself. This game will change your view of reality while also increasing your understanding of how and why to include everyone in Virtual Worlds. The game bridges over into art because its content is open to different interpretations and you are a vital part of the interaction. Players: Those interested in contributing to a potentially world changing movement. Game Play: Players will contribute to a shared document in the form of a wiki. Players can contribute in many different ways (see awards). Each day, players can earn awards based upon their contributions. Daily award winners will be announced on the wiki at approximately 8pm PST. End of Game Awards will be announced on the wiki at approximately 10am PST on Monday, 6/29/09. Rules: Contributions that are posted first will get credit. Contributions that are too similar will be removed at the end of each day. Any info posted to the wiki from 6/20/09 through 6/26/09 will automatically be placed into the 3D wiki in SL on the day of the conference. On the day of the conference, contributions can be made in world or on the wiki. The game ends on 6/27/09 at midnight PST, but the document will live on and continue to be open for additions and influence blindness awareness.

Why Awareness. Lots of people do not understand why or how people with disabilities would want to use virtual worlds for employment, education, entertainment, and social engagement. Normal wikis in SL are not lasting (once you lose the build, you have lost the data). But Peter Miller from UK and Jeremy Braver are creating a wiki system that will allow people in Second Life to contribute lasting information, thus constantly adding to the pool of information resources.

When The game will run from June 20 on. At 6:00 - 6:30 pm PDT on June 27, Jeremy will conduct a presentation that shares what new insights have been gained.

Length The wiki will continue indefinitely. We are actively seeking a worthy entity that may carry this document into the future so as to not let this torch of awareness die.

Prizes 1st Place - $5,000L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award 2nd Place - $2,500L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award 3rd Place - $1,000L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award

Awards Most Valuable Contributor - $L (see prizes above) Other Recognitions: These can be earned at the end of each day that the game runs. Recipients will be announced on the wiki (6/20-6/27) Most URLS (min. 2) Networked information (posting data) Best Individual Narrative (sharing an experience) Contribution to format (fixing/improving flow of doc) Most new pages (no min) Most edits (grammar & punctuation) Clarification (to data only, not narratives) Most references (research, literature, or supporting docs)

ACCESSIBILITY SCRIPTING CONTEST - "Inclusion for Everyone in Virtual Worlds" Sponsors: IBM

Why What if there were interesting places that everyone could go to, interesting activities that everyone could participate in... everyone but you? How would you feel?

People with disabilities overcome obstacles that most can’t imagine, just getting through every day. You may not be aware of it, but if you’re active in Second Life (SL), chances are you interact with someone with a disability.

People with disabilities make up approximately 20 percent of the SL population. For many people with disabilities, SL is about as “barrier-free” an environment as it gets - People who cannot walk in real life can fly and teleport here in SL. Some barriers do not disappear: Deaf and hearing impaired people can be unwittingly excluded from voice chats, and people who are blind or visually impaired still face massive challenges in being able to use the highly visual 3D environment at all – Which is why Helen Keller Day is coming to Second Life, Saturday, June 27. It’s a day that is set aside for 24 solid hours of information, education, exploration of employment opportunities, arts and entertainment, and social engagement, at the four islands: Ye, Olde, Supporte, Faire. There will be vendors, employers, presentations, and mainly… fun!

Throughout all that, Helen Keller Day is about consciousness raising. It’s a movement in the 60s tradition - It’s about raising our level of awareness for us all as brothers and sisters about having disabilities. It’s about learning that everyone can participate, and it’s about becoming knowledgeable about how to do a small but important kindness by being sensitive, and knowing how to include everyone in activities and interactions. At some time in our lives, we’ve all felt what it feels like not to be able to participate… not to be included. Knowing how to include someone with a disability, and make everyone feel welcome, is an important social skill, and sometimes can be just that small but significant kindness that we can all benefit from.

What Design a script that furthers "Including Everyone in Virtual Worlds." The script will be judged by the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the topic of "Including Everyone in Virtual Worlds."
  • How thoroughly it (a) implements an accessibility capability distinct from what the current SL viewers offer or (b) adds value to those accessibility capabilities through extension or enhancement -- things delivered as finished work will score better than unfinished ideas
  • Ease of further implementation: Because the intent of this contest is to gain useful capabilities that can be offered to others, ease of implementation is important. Those capabilties that are easier to implement (such as simple dropping of a script into the root prim of an object) will fare better in judging than those that require complex configrations or many changes to objects.
  • Breadth of applicability: the more broadly the script's behavior or capability can assist inclusion of everyone, the stronger will be its position in the judging
  • Effects on region performance: Yes, all objects can contain scripts; but thousands of scripts in thousands of objects, all doing lots of things, will clearly not lead to inclusion of everyone in virtual worlds. Good 3D experience design includes consideration of what effect the experience will have on the environment in which it plays. Therefore, the judging panel will also consider what the likely effects of the capability will be on a region, based on the submitter's description of what the capability is and how it would be implemented.

Note: What you submit must be your own creation. It is particularly important that the creator of a script is the same name as the submitter. Submissions that are evidently not the creation of the submitter will be disqualified.

How Submissions will be accepted beginning 1:00 am SLT on Saturday, June 20 until Wednesday, June 24 12:00 pm SLT (noon). Any late submissions will not be accepted, displayed, or judged. No exceptions. Judging will be held on June 26 and contest winners will be announced and prizes awarded on Saturday, June 27 from 8:00 - 8:30 pm SLT.

Prizes 1st Place - $10,000L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award 2nd Place - $7,500L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award 3rd Place - $5,000L and Helen Keller Day sculptured trophy award

Awards Best Script that improves "Including Everyone in Virtual Worlds" and attempts to overcome the impossible

Press and Blog Coverage


Accessibility Resources