A Second Life for Training

A Second Life for Training is the title of the article that just appeared in the July, 2008 edition of Chief Learning Officer magazine. CLO associate Editor Lindsay Edmonds Wicker sums it up very well,

“Second Life may have started out as a playground for techies, but it has become a well-known virtual world where people play, do business and learn. As a result, more organizations are making the transition to virtual and ultimately finding an engaging, cost-effective training platform.”

She goes on to feature our (Maryland Association of CPAs) efforts in Second Life as a training venue.

Alexandra DeFelice, Associate Editor of Accounting Technology Magazine described it as, “leap(ing) into the next generation” in an article titled, Tom Hood – Virtual CPA in their August edition.

Ryan Sharrow covered our two (2) “mixed reality” events at the Maryland Business & Accounting Expo in his article, Second Life Opens Virtual CPA Worlds in the July 4, 2008 edition of the Baltimore Business Journal.

This is in addition to the Journal of Accountancy feature article in June, 2008, titled, Accounting for Second Life. Turns out we were the “buzz” at the AICPA Tech Conference this year mentioned by several speakers according to WebCPA editor Bill Carlino. Bill talked about the trend of “virtualization” and talked about our virtual CPA Island. He also said that virtualization is one of the technology trends that should be “in process” for CPAs and firms.

We think this medium has a lot of potential for training and engaging the current and next generation of learners (and it is fun too!). Just take a look at some of our recent events:

Virtual Workshop Examines XBRL

CPAs in Second Life Explore XBRL

Intuit & Linden Labs Sessions at the MDBIZEXPO

CPA Island Hosts Session with AACSB (the Association to Advance College Schools of Business)

Demo & Discussion with Towson University

CFO Rising Conference with CFO magazine

I am very glad to see Second Life getting a fair shake in looking at the training potential of this fun and exciting medium. Check out the video of the session at this link. What do you think – are you ready to try Second Life?

Recent events in Second Life about CPAs

Are CPAs really doing anything in Second Life? Isn’t this just a passing fad?

Rocky has been busy over the past three weeks as Second Life is being asked about and featured in plenty of new venues. Just look at these activities and you tell me your answers:

Snapshot_005CPAs in Second Life, Social Media (Web 2.0), and the impact of technology on training (CPE) were the major part of the agenda at the Northeast CPE Directors Conference on Feb 8-10. The audience was captivated as we brought two accounting educators to the conference from within the virtual world of Second Life. Dr. Mike Kraten from Suffolk University in Boston and Dr. Steve Hornikfrom University of Central Florida both presented how they are using Second Life for accounting education.

DSC00980Social Media is here to stay and we all need to embrace it or be passed by. That was the message from Dr. Moira Gunn of NPR’s Technation as she delivered the dinner keynote at the PearsonPHASE conference for accounting educators. She talkd a lot about the power of collaboration from tools like wikis (and I would add Second Life).

FASB in SLFASB holds research meetings in Second Life! That’s right and they had a decent attendance (15+) at their meeting last week as yours truly, Rocky Maddaloni popped in to see what was going on. See details at the Metanomics website and thanks to Dr. Robert Bloomfieldaka Beyers Sellers in SL. See Edith Orenstein’s post over at the FEI Blog, titled Get a (Second) Life.

Robins Hermano - UCFDr. Steve Hornik did a demo for accounting educators at the Pearson PHASE conferences in Savannah, GA and San Diego, CA. He showed his virtual classroom, 3-d models used for homework by his students and talked about how he teaches 900+ accounting students per semester using Second Life to enhance their educational experience.

Jol - French CPA 3Then I ran into my old pal (from Second LIfe), Jol Maximus. Jol is a French CPA who recently bought an island (in SL) and is developing interactive exhibits to sue for his small business clients. He said the reason he is working in SL is that the 3-D environment works well for showing accounting concepts to small businesses, it is where thought leaders hang out, and gives him great press & public relations. Jol is a local practitioner in France (two person firm).

Ron Baker's displayDon’t miss our upcoming CPE Sessions from Second Life, like today’s session by Ron Baker (of Verasage) titled, Leading Knowledge Workers – Human Capital, Not Cattle. You will see Ron present from within Second Life from his offices in California to a packed house at our BLI Conference Center on CPA Island. We could never bring in this type of training this easily to our members.


So, what do you think? Is Second Life for REAL?


Resources for CPAs & Second Life:

Technology trends in Accounting Education & CPE – CPAs and the Virtual World of Second Life

Video about our work in Second Life – CPAs in Second Life

Presentation at Pearson-Phase – Keeping Up With Accounting from Globalization to Web 2.0

Journal of Accountancy article – Accounting for Second Life

See our post 2008 Year in Review – CPAs start adopting Second Life for Training

Saving Real Money in the Recession With Second Life Meetings

How about $320,000 – is that real savings?

That is what was just reported that IBM saved in a blog post over at the Virtual World News, titled IBM saves $320,000 with Second Life Meeting. The savings is net after an $80,000 investment that IBM made in holding a major international conference in the virtual world.

Here is how to save money on business travel and meetings. What if you could be at two places at the same time without ever getting on a plane?

Last year at our MDBIZEXPO, we featured John Zdanowski, CFO of Linden Lab “live” from his San Francisco offices to our EXPO floor in Baltimore via the virtual world of Second Life. Without getting on a plane he spoke to an international audience at our conference center on CPA Island (in Second Life) and our live audience in Baltimore and had both groups interacting with each other.

Who said you can’t be two places at once?

In a recent podcast with John, he said this about saving money using Second Life for real meetings, “Second Life is more compelling than a conference call, less intimidating than a video conference, and a hell of a lot better than business travel.”

Sometimes it takes a recession to force new and innovative ways of doing business. CNBC’s Julia Boorstin recently featured a report about how companies are using Second Life to save money by hosting meetings, conferences, recruiting, and speeches. Read the article Virtual Meetings Get a Second Life or watch the short video clip below:



We have been “bullish” on these type of uses for Second Life for the past two years. See our post about our last year’s activities, titled 2008 Year in Review – CPAs start adopting Second Life for training. That is why we will be offering 24 hours of free CPE to our members for the upcoming year -with at least 14 hours via the virtual world of Second Life (including webcasts out of SL). It is our way of helping them out during this downturn.

We have also held plenty of meetings like this already – XBRLIncreasing Business TransparencyLeading Knowledge WorkersFair Value ReportingGoing Private to name just a few.

We will be hosting a series of meetings over the next year where we can bring in experts “virtually” through Second LIfe to expose our members to thought leaders, innovative ideas, and breaking topics without spending their money or our money. I think that is pretty cool!

What do you think? Are you ready to give it a try?



Presentation to NE CPE Conference about CPA Training in Second Life

See our Youtube Video – CPAs in Second Life

CPA Success blog post – Accounting for Second Life

CPA Island blog post – First CPE in the Virtual World of Second Life

CPA Island welcome Shapiro Negotiations Institute

When you visit CPA Island, don’t forget to check out the virtual headquarters of the Shapiro Negotitaions Institute (jus tacross the bridge from the welcome center lighthouse).

SNI is a premier global provider of training and consulting (and a partner of the Business Leanring Institute) in the following areas:

  • Negotiation
  • Influencing
  • Sales Optimization
  • Conflict Resolution

The focus of SNI is on maximizing their clients’ ability to create mutually beneficial and profitable long-term relationships with peers, vendors, and customers – both internal and external to the organization.

SNI co-founder and president, Mark Jankowski appears in-world as Mark Wizenheim and has dived into the exciting medium of Second Life to bring interactive education on CPA island. Mark has really worked to use all of the features of teh 3-D immersive environment to enhance negotiation trianing. I have been in a couple os sessions and love it.

Look for their upcoming course on June 17th on CPA Island – check their website for details. Stay tuned for future CPE sessions with Mark by checking our CPA Island blog also.

We are proud to have them as our newest tenant (and partner)!

CPA Island prepares for MDBIZEXPO!

We have been busy preparing for another great MDBIZEXPO and of course we are incorporating the best of the virtual world and the “real world” to provide the most value for our sponsors, exhibitors, and leading edge speakers.

The first thirty (30) “Real world” sponsors pf the MDBIZEXPO  also get booths at our BLI Conference Center on CPA Island in Second Life. This year there is a special event on Monday, June 15th (the day before the EXPO) as we present CPAS and Second Life at the AICPA Tech Plus conference in Las Vegas at 1:00 pm – 1:50pm (PT/SLT).

See some photos on our Flickr set MDBIZEPXO in Second Life

Join Bean Wollongong (Byron Patrick of Hosted Solutions) and Rocky Maddaloni (Tom Hood of MACPA) as they host real CPAs and leaders in the accounting profession that use Second Life for training, education, meetings, and student recruitment.

Here are just a few of our special guests:

Accounting educators & instructors (SL Names in parens):

Dr. Mike Kraten – (Mike1 Noel) – Suffolk University – Virtual Reality Business Network

Dr. Steve Hornik -(Robins Hermano) – University of Central Florida – Really Engaging Accounting

BLI Instructors who have taught CPE in Second Life:

Eric -E. Cohen – (Otto Chin) – PWC (and XBRL)

Mark Jankowski – (Mark Wizenheim) – Shapiro Negotiations Institute

Associations exploring Second Life:

Edith Orenstein – (Edith Osterham) – Financial Executives International

Dave Macdonald – (Dave Mandelkern) – Certified Management Accountants – Canada

Kevin Mead – (KevinMead Fairport) – IGAF Worldwide

Anne Hampson – (Anne Wellesley) – IGAF Worldwide

Accounting Press in SL:

Gail Perry – (Glal Landar) – AccountingWeb

Rob Nance – (Quincy Greybeard) – AccountingWeb

Several of our “cool friends” will be in the audience in Vegas, or enroute to our MDBIZEXPO and are worth a shout out:

Robert Tarola – (Roberto Marialla) – Right Advisory

Bob Laux – (Ro Shippe) – Microsoft Corporation and the Enhanced Business Reporting Consortium

Ron Baker – (RJB Adamski) – Verasage

Ed Kless – (Ed Karlsvalt) – Verasage

Alexandra DeFilice (Ad Denimore) – Journal of Accountancy

Roger Franks (Gather Sabra) – CCH

Richard Johnson – (Professor Jetcity) – Frostburg University

See last year’s posts about the MDBIZEXPO & CPA Island:

CPA Island to Host First Virtual Accounting & Business Show

First CPE in the Virtual World of Second Life