To Guide
Avatars99 Colonizing Cyberspace

Avatars99 Select Speaker Bios

Speaker Biographies

Bruce Damer

Bruce Damer is a co founder of the Contact Consortium and President and CEO of DigitalSpace Corporation. Known as DigiGardener in virtual worlds, he authored the first book about Avatars and established the Avatars and Digital Biota conferences. For more on Bruce's life and times see his homepage. See also Bruce's welcome message for Avatars99.

Margaret Corbit

Margaret Corbit is a member of the staff at the Cornell Theory Center(CTC). She researches and writes articles describing many aspects of the science conducted at and/or supported by the CTC for its online publications. Corbit also coordinates the development of the online informal science education sites which include online science books and special online exhibits. As part of her longtime commitment to get 3D data files and illustrations onto the net in a useful way, she founded and currently develops Cornell Theory Center’s SciCentr world in Active Worlds and in the AWEdu Education Universe. Corbit is on the board of directors for the Contact Consortium and hosted the first V-Learn Conference in May of 1999.

Bonnie DeVarco
Bonnie DeVarco is a writer, researcher, webmaster and educator at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She introduces students to the World Wide Web and the trends from 2D to 3D, looking at innovative navigation methods, immersivity and interactivity with a focus on multi-user virtual worlds. She is a research coordinator for the University of California’s College Prep Initiative and has developed content-rich virtual worlds as educational spaces. She is on the board of Contact Consortium and currently co-develops CCon’s V-Learn Initiative – a program that provides support and networking resources for students and educators worldwide.

Michelle Dickey
Michele Dickey recently completed a doctoral program at Ohio State University in Instructional Design and Technology where she also served as an instructional designer, web-developer, and instructor for the College of Education's first web-based course. Her dissertation entitled "3D Virtual Worlds and Learning: An Analysis of the Impact of Design Affordances and Limitations in Active Worlds, blaxxun interactive, and OnLive! Traveler; and a Study of the Implementation of Active Worlds for Formal and Informal Education" focuses on the use of 3D virtual worlds for learning. She is currently working as an instructional technologist for several distance education initiatives at Otterbein College.

Carol Kerney

Carol Kerney currently leads programs through the San Diego County Office of Education in California. An educator for over 25 years, Kerney has developed programs that implement innovative technologies into Southern California schools. She was grant and curriculum writer for San Diego City Schools' "Triton Project," funded through the federal Challenge Grant. This project introduced Internet, desktop videoconferencing, virtual reality, digital video production, and telerobotics to elementary school children. Her most recent project is "BorderLink," which will implement innovative technologies including virtual worlds into a network of online support and mentoring for high school students in rural schools as they prepare for entrance into college through AP courses online.‹

Michael L. W. Jones

Michael Jones is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication, Cornell University and is a research assistant with the Human Computer Interaction Group. His current research investigates how IT systems can be designed to support effective collaboration and communication in educational settings. He is actively involed in research and design groups investigating digital libraries, mobile and ubiquitous computing systems, and collaborative virtual environments.

Susan Mackey

Susan Mackey works for the University of Victoria's Computing User Services. Over the course of the past 10 years Susan has pioneered the use of virtual worlds in language education on her campus. During her 9 years at the Computer Assisted Language Learning facility she moved from IRC to MUSH then to Active Worlds in search of Internet tools for second language acquisition. Susan is a member of the International Association of Learning Labs (IALL) and has presented several workshops at their biennial conferences.

Kevin Ruess

Kevin Ruess is a doctoral candidate in instructional technology at George Mason University's Graduate School of Education. His studies focus on both on-line environments and multicultural education. He is currently running subjects through his doctoral dissertation project which involves a cultural role-play simulation in a MOO environment.

Mandee Tatum

Mandee Tatum is the Vice President of Educational Technology for and is spearheading the newly opened AWEdu Education Universe which offers virtual worlds to educational organizations around the globe. She received her Masters degree from the London School of Economics, taught English as a Foreign Language online for two years, and has been developing virtual education centers since 1996.

Murray Turoff

Murray Turoff is a leader in online and computer-mediated education whose books and articles are noted classics in the field. For over 30 years, he has devoted his research to understanding human computer communication dynamics. He is Professor of Computer and Information Science at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Michael Heim
See Michael's bio at this page.

Dave Blackburn
Dave is President of Virtual Ventures. See Dave's bio at this page.

Celia Pearce
Celia Pearce is a new media pioneer, interactive "experience designer," multimedia artist, creator of attractions and exhibitions for theme entertainment and museums, media theorist, researcher, teacher and author. She is currently working as an adjunct professor of interactive media and a research consultant in artificial intelligence and procedural narrative at the University of Southern California. Ms. Pearce has spent sixteen years at the cutting edge of the so-called "new media," defining new modes and genres of interactivity. She has taught and lectured extensively throughout the world, authored numerous articles and The Interactive Book: A Guide to the Interactive Revolution (Macmillan Technical Publishing), an "hypertext" exploration of interactivity that interweaves historical, cultural, theoretical perspectives with a personal narrative of the evolution of new media over the past two decades. Ms. Pearce's focus as been on the creation of immersive and compelling interactive experiences and environments, primarily in public spaces. Under the general description of experience design and social media, she has contributed to a diverse array of projects, from virtual reality to children's toy products, from games to interactive narrative, from architectural master plans to interactive theaters, from theme parks and attractions to synthetic worlds and characters on the Internet. She has also created her own fine art pieces, including virtual reality, performance art, and curated multimedia installations and showcases. She has creative directed award-winning projects, including Virtual Adventures, a high-end virutual reality ride for theme parks, and, a character designed with blitcom and Silicon Graphics now defunct Cosmo group to demonstrate the potential of vrml for live performance in a streaming virtual reality environment on the web.

Wes Horlacher

W. Wes Horlacher is a seasoned consultant specializing in all aspects (creative, design, production, technology, management) of Online/Interactive Multimedia organizational development: Crafting and implementing New Media strategies. Expert in consistently transforming "bleeding edge" technologies into successful "leading edge" enterprises, including several award-winning projects for high-profile clients and corporations. After over twenty years of providing a broad range of consulting services to the emerging media industries, Wes now focuses on establishing his own cyber-enterprises. See Wes' home page for more on his work.

Karl Erickson

Karl Erickson is a writer, artist, programmer, and synergetic geometer who has been working on Gerald de Jong's Struck/Fluidiom project since its beginning several years ago. Karl is building Fluidiom's website under the auspices of his company Novel Memetics, which will be available for hire in January. The goal of Novel Memetics is to use Fluidiom as a general-purpose problem-solver by evolving the tools of articulation and comprehension in a communal shared-world environment. This involves using synergetic geometry to model arbitrary database information for visualization and decision making purposes, as well as for the creation of effective and aesthetic presentation graphics and web applications. By helping to make Fluidiom a reality, Karl intends to get the metamedium that will enable him to communicate his observations and ideas in a comprehensive fashion, and to help others do the same, to help get the real world work of the next era done. . See The Fluidiom home page for more on this work.

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