Emerging Technologies in Education

Bonnie DeVarco


I have been an education technology consultant to non-profit, corporate and educational organizations for the past 15 years. I have helped to develop multi-institutional programs for distance and media enhanced learning for the University of California Office of the President and the K-12 and have been a research and development consultant for the UC College Prep Initiative, one of the first statewide virtual high school programs since 1998. Four years ago I founded the VLearn3D initiative, an international networking hub for educators using multi-user environments to enhance the learning process. Other clients include UC Santa Cruz, Stanford University, UCLA, Cornell University, San Diego and Imperial County Boards of Education, RedAppleOnline, and DigitalSpace.

In addition to producing a broad range of educational media, I have regularly produced conferences and events in cyberspace and in distributed physical locations around the world through Telascience.org, VLearn3D.org, UC Santa Cruz's "Tech Innovation" program, UCLA, the Los Angeles Festival and the Buckminster Fuller Institute. I lecture worldwide on the culture of cyberspace and innovative learning technologies. From 1989 to 1995 I was chief archivist for the Buckminster Fuller Archives, recently acquired by Stanford University. Currently I am collaborating on the creation of the Telascience Institute, a hybrid alliance of government, non profit organizations, educational institutions and corporations that provides new opportunities for telecollaboration, visualization, research, education and environmental action using advanced satellite and network technologies, visualization and open source tools.

2003 | University-Based Work | Virtual Worlds | Buckminster Fuller | Events/Publications | Other


"Building Blocks for Virtual Worlds"
August. 2002 to April 2003
Principle Investigator with Katy Borner and Margaret Corbit, for the research project, "Design Principles for Virtual Worlds in Education." This project is funded by a seed grant from the Center for Innovative Learning Technologies (CILT).


Borderlink Leadership Committee, Teacher Workshop Series
Fall 2001 to present
Continued development of teacher workshops, mentoring and events in LinkWorld, art, language and history events, and CollegeQuest, a virtual counseling center and college preparation game for participants of the Borderlink Project in San Diego and Imperial Counties.

James Burke's Knowledge Web Project
2001 to 2003
Consultant for Graphics User Interface Design (GUI) and co-produced an 8-minute media demo of the K-Web vision with James Burke and Virtual World Studios.


QuantumVIZ at the Exploratorium
June 10, 2002
Co-produced QuantumVIZ - Social Networks, Planetary Visualization & Dynamic InfoScapes - 2D, 3D, N-D" - a multi-venue event for leaders of the field of information technology, geospatial visualization and global ecology.


UCWrite - Online Writing Institute
Web Development consultant for the University of California Writing Insitute, a multi-institutional collaborative funded by the University of California Teaching, Learning and Technology Center. In addition, co-designer (with Marian McNamee) of site, logo and graphics.

VLearn3D Initiative
Continued direction and development of the Vlearn3D initiative of the Contact Consortium with roundtables, conferences, research projects, online library, tour and event worlds. Co-Produced VLearn3D 2000 and VLearn3D 2001 conferences in cyberspace.

University-Based Work

The UC College Prep Initiative
January 1999 to 2002
Development r esearch, content production, design and support for the web site and early development of the UCCP Initiative. This project is funded by the University of California Office of the President and provides online college preparatory courses for high school students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to become eligible or competitively eligible for admission to the University of California.

Virtual High School Feasibility Study
Spring 1998 to Winter 1998
VHS Feasibility Study Team based at University of California, Santa Cruz. [This project was funded and debuted in Spring, 1999 as the UCCP - UC College Prep Initiative]

Tech Innovation 2000
Spring and Fall 2000
As Special Projects Consultant, launched one-year program through UCSC's Faculty Instructional Technology Center. This program features innovative learning technologies and innovators in the fields of distance learning, visualization and computer mediated education. "EarthVIZ" was the Kick-off event held on May 25th, 2000


"Building Global Communities through E-Learning, Collaboratories and Knowledge Networks"
October 13 & 14, 2000
Production of the second two-day multi-venue conference and workshop was presented as part of the Tech Innovation 2000 series that featured 20 speakers and hands-on workshops with leading edge collaboration technologies in education.


Media Tertia - Web Development
Fall 1999
Online resource links and syllabus for web development for UC Santa Cruz Internship Program. Links include resources on navigation, web design using photoshop and Dreamweaver2, research sites, copyrights and netiquette and trends in interactivity.


The Santa Cruz Faculty Association
August 1998 to present
Design and production of a web site for the Santa Cruz Faculty Association. This site features an archive of information and links to UC faculty association newsletters, updates and members.

Virtual Worlds & Education

V-UCSC - The UCSC Virtual World Tour Project
August 1998 to 2002
As Director, I spearheaded the partnership of a group of UCSC students with the 3D architects of Active Art Design in London to develop the first 3D, realistic and to-scale version of the UCSC campus for prospective students. This project, which served as a virtual collaborative education experiment, was commissioned by the Admissions Dept. of the University of California, Santa Cruz (OASAS). It is linked to more than 40 of the main home pages on the UCSC Campus.


"VHS Virtual High School"
March to June 1998
As director, conceptualizer, content provider and networker, I spearheaded the development of the 3D Virtual High School demonstration Module in Active Worlds. This module, built by Active Art Design and hosted by Bruce Damer and Stuart Gold in TheU, features an office with office hours, Spanish Wing, Science Lab with a chemistry simulation in the "Student WebQuest Wing," and a gallery show on Geometry and Art.


Educator's Track - Avatars '98
Fall 1998
As Chair of the Educators' Track of the Avatars '98, I coordinated and facilitated an education speaker track which took place in a virtual world with real-time slide shows. This track featured educators and students from Cornell University, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, UCSC and the University of Cincinnati. See the transcripts at the link on the left.


Educators' Track - Avatars 99
August 1998 to present
As a Board Member of the Contact Consortium presently in charge of the Educational Mission -- "V-Learn," I chaired the Educator's speaker track entitled "Evaluating the Performance Value of Virtual Worlds in Education." This track featured a poster session, a panel with researchers and practitioners discussing case studies and the latest research on 3D virtual learning spaces and their relevance to education.


December 1998 to present
As a Board Member of the Contact Consortium, I am presently spearheading with Margaret Corbit the educational mission of the Contact Consortium -- "V-Learn3D." The mission of the V-Learn Initiative is to identify Individuals and institutions who have made a commitment to using shared virtual spaces in educational settings and provide a much-needed worldwide network hub for these individuals and institutions by offering an evolving V-LEARN annotated resource center online.

LIFELEARN'S BioLearn - Virtual World
February 1999 to present
Developed and produced a 3D world with Active Art Design for Greg Steltenpohl. This world is a companion to the proposed Bioregional Learning Center of N. California Coast and features galleries with global information, cyberlife and lifeform galleriers and a true to life coastal area with a kelp forest and a cliffside learning center.


Borderlink's Linkworld - Virtual World
January 2000 to present
Developed and produced "LinkWorld" a 3D world with Active Art Design for the San Diego and Imperial County Boards of Education. This world will be used for mentoring, counseling and course support for high school students taking online Advanced Placement Courses. Continue development, implementation and events in LinkWorld. SEE HISTORY OF BORDERLINK WORLD HERE


On the Work of R. Buckminster Fuller

"Geometry - The Language of Art and Science"
August 1998 to present
Working with designers from Active Art Design in London, I curated and developed interactive content for a show on Geometry and Art for the Virtual High School. This fully interactive 3D gallery linked to more than 40 web pages can be visited at TheU and Zg world in Active Worlds. See storyboard of this gallery at the link on the right.


"Life, Facts & Artifacts" Buckminster Fuller's Archive - PBS page
April 1996
This essay, featured in the PBS "Thinking Out Loud" companion site to the American Masters Special (which debuted in 1996) presents an extensive overview of Buckminster Fuller's lifetime experiment -- his archive. Fuller's archive is considered the "most extensive personal archive in existence." This web site is now a permanent part of the PBS online archive.


"Dymaxion Air-Ocean World Map" - PBS page
April 1996
This essay on Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Map and the philosophy behind it was featured in the PBS "Thinking Out Loud" companion site to the American Masters Special which debuted in 1996. This web site is now a permanent part of the PBS archive pages.


"Invisible Architecture - The NanoWorld of Buckminster Fuller"
August 1997
Writer and producer of a grant-funded 60-page essay linked to more than 200 unique sites on the WWW. "Invisible Architecture places Buckminster Fuller into a contemporary context by juxtaposing the relevance of his ideas to some of the newest technological advances of the latter part of this century - including the newest work on buckminsterfullerene and nanotechnology.

World Game Institute's NetWorld Game
November - January 1997
As part of the production team of World Game Institute's online global game funded by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, I produced the link section which acts as a "Global Researcher's Toolkit" featuring over 200 annotated links to pages on environmentalism and sustainability, Embassies worldwide, The United Nations and other NGO's, Amnesty International and other global linktanks and thinktanks.

Selected Events, Presentations & Publications


  • "Building Blocks for Virtual Worlds: Design principles for a starter kit
    for educational virtual worlds." - Funded by a Center For Innovative Learning Technologies (CILT) Grant – Design Principles.
  • "Annotated Survey of Virtual High Schools Multimedia Centers, University-based Content Providers for Distance Learning" – UC Office of the President 2002
  • Annotated Survey of information visualization technologies and design principles research for the James Burke Knowledge Web Project (for NSF grant) 2001/2002
  • Special Reports - "Online Learning Report and Recommendations" and "History and Evolution of Education Portals on the World Wide Web" RedAppleOnline 2001
  • Virtual High School Feasibility Study – http://vhs.ucsc.edu/


  • "The Global Classroom of Cyberspace" Emerging Technologies Pavilion, ThinkQuestLIVE – Exploring the Future of Learning" July 2002 http://www.thinkquestlive.org
  • "3D Multi-user Virtual Worlds for Education: Knowledge Building in the Vlearn3D.org Community" CSCL 2002- Computer Support for Collaborative Learning 2002 - Foundations for a CSCL Community www.cscl2002.org
  • WCET’s 13th International Conference - Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)’s eRevolution@edu – New Policies, Practices, Services
  • http://www.wiche.edu/wcet/events/conference/2001/index.csclhtm
  • "SciCentr and Biolearn: Two 3D Implementations of CVE Science Museums" Collaborative Virtual Environments - CVE 2000 September, 2000 http://www.ai.sri.com/cve2000/
  • "Avatars and VLearn3D" CONTACT – Cultures of the Imagination 1999, ‘00 & ‘01 http://www.cabrillo.cc.ca.us/contact/
  • Online Learning 2000 http://www.onlinelearning2000.com/
  • "Bridging people-intelligence via telecommunication and other technologies" 3rd International Cognitive Technology Conference – Cti’99
  • "Virtual Worlds, Avatars & Communities" VirComm ‘99


  • Education Innovation - 4-part overview of Buckminster Fuller's approaches to Education and their intersection with Education Technology on the leading edge in the new millenium. – September 2002
  • SciCentr and BioLearn: Two 3D Implementations of CVE Science Museums Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Collaborative Virtual Environments – September 2000
  • Virtual Reality on a Desktop Hailed as New Tool in Distance Education October 6, 2000, Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Tours and More at V-UCSC About.com 2000
  • Class in a 3D Lecture Hall Nov. 9 2000, New York Times
  • Virtual UCSC – Campus stakes out some 3-D acreage in cyberspace March 8, 1999, Santa Cruz Sentinel
  • Metaphors of Geometric Proportion Ceramics Monthly, April 2000
  • Invisible Architecture – The NanoWorld of Buckminster Fuller – (hyperlinked to 200 sites on the web) 1997 http://members.cruzio.com/~devarco/invisible.htm
  • Life, Facts & Artifacts 1996 WNET's Thinking Out Loud Web Site http://www.wnet.org:80/bucky/devarco.html
  • Dymaxion Air-Ocean World Map 1996 - Thinking Out Loud Web Site http://www.thirteen.org/bucky/dymap.html
  • Buckminster Fuller Centennial Calendar Pomegranate Publications, released in Fall, 1994
  • BuckyWorks by Jay Baldwin. John Wiley & Sons March 1996
  • Trimtab Bulletin Managing Editor, Associate Editor, September 1991 to June 1995
  • Synergetica Journal 1992 Editorial Board
  • UCLA Journal of Dance Ethnology Associate Editor, Spring 1990 to Autumn 1993
  • Educator's Annotated Reference: the Arts and Culture of Bali – 1990 L.A. Festival - Friends Across the Ocean Teacher Resource Packet


Other Web Projects


November 1996 to present
Co-webmaster in charge of text, concept and editing (and assisting in design and production) of a unique digital portfolio for Bobby Jaber, porcelain artist. Jaber's innovative combination of science and art features many series of artworks that celebrate and are dedicated to scientists, physicists, mathematicians and woman scientists from all periods of history.


The Prince, of Sorts
October 1998 to 2002
Design and production of a site for author Regina Adams featuring a down-to-earth and delightful fictionalized account of the biblical story of Joseph and Mary and their journey to Bethlehem.


Spring 1998 to 99
As Producer, Director, Design, Writer I spearheaded the development of a core site for gardening and environmental resources for K-12. This site was commissioned by the United Services Agency (USA) as a home site for the Santa Cruz Service Corps.


Ars Hypatia (under construction)



Design Science Consortium (under construction)