Here's a neat little clip of Connie Yowell of the MacArthur Foundation welcoming the 2008 and 2009 winners of the HASTAC Digital Media and Learning competition, including myself and Amira from Global Kids. Connie always does such a great job synthesizing the broader historic trends, the cumulative impact of the various digital learning projects supported by MacArthur, and where we might be going in the coming years.  This is from the DML Showcase in Chicago on Friday, April 17 that I was honored to be at along with my colleague Amira. 

[conf] NYLC's 20th Annual National Service-Learning Conference 

On March 18-21, 2009, GK staff member Shawna Rosenzweig and Janet Nabila, a GK youth leader in the Virtual Video Project, attended the National Youth Leadership Council's 20th Annual National Service-Learning Conference at the Nashville Convention Center in Nashville, TN. Above is a youth-produced video from the event, highlighting different workshops, performances and service-learning projects that took place during the action-packed conference. The video was made by the students of New Foundations Charter High School, PA.

To find out more information about the 2009 NSLC, click here.

[conf/teen] GK Leader Reflects On The National Service-Learning Conference 

Janet Nabila, a GK leader in the Virtual Video Project, reflects on her experience at NYLC's National Service-Learning Conference in Nashville, TN.

Day One: Arriving in Nashville
Nashville isn’t what I expected it to be. I thought it would look like a farmer’s property or some form of barren wasteland. (Honestly, would you ever go to TENNESSEE for vacation?) I was shocked to see that I was wrong, and that Nashville was totally cool. The city is super ultra clean. Downtown Nashville has everything (significant sites, of course) in walking distance of each other. Although it emphasizes barbecue (yuck!) the cuisine was great. There are sandwiches here that are completely squished together! Anyway, the first day we arrived, Shawna and I did nothing but walk around. Although I was completely taken over by exhaustion by the end of the day, it was worth it. We went to see the Nashville Convention Center, the famous Rymen Auditorium, and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

GK conference 09

Last Friday, Global Kids held its Annual Conference at Baruch College, gathering 600-some students and educators from around New York City to examine critical social issues, meet each other, and get activated.  This year's theme was "Global Health -- Be the Vaccine," featuring speakers and workshops on a wide variety of health-related topics. 

An important aspect of the Global Kids Annual Conference is that the day-long event is entirely youth-led.  Our Global Kids teen leaders are in charge of nearly every aspect of the conference, from the selection of the overarching theme, to the workshop facilitating, MCing, and entertainment.

This year, we tried something new: enabling a team of Global Kids teens to film different parts of the conference using Flip cameras and editing the best clips together into a mini-documentary about the conference that is shown at the closing plenary of the event.

Last Saturday I had the honor of presenting at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference about the work of Global Kids and some of the lessons we have been learning about how to best use virtual worlds for education and learning. The multi-day conference took place in Second Life, appropriately enough given the hundreds of educational projects going on in that platform, but was meant to more broadly cover "educational best practices" from virtual environments writ large.

The title of my presentation was "'Aha!' Moments from Global Kids and" In brief, I talked about how Global Kids and our social network for virtual educators have approached the idea of "best practices" in education and then presented five recent lessons that we've learned about virtual education. You can watch video of my presentation from the new Treet.TV website.

National Service-Learning Conference in Second Life
Tomorrow, March 20, Global Kids will be streaming from (and participating in) the National Service-Learning Conference in Nashville, TN for the third straight year. The conference is an inspiring gathering of over 2,700 students, teachers, youth-workers and volunteers focused on service learning. For more info on the conference, please see the conference website.

For those who can't make it to Nashville, Global Kids will be streaming several sessions from the NSLC live to the Plush Nonprofit Commons Amphitheater (click here to teleport ).

The complete schedule is as follows:


From February 25-27, I had the opportunity to go to the WebWise conference in Washington DC, an annual gathering of 300-some professionals from libraries and museums to discuss how to keep their cultural institutions relevant in the digital age.  It was great getting to hear from some of the leading museums and libraries in America (The Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, the US Holocaust Museum, the National Endowment for the Arts, etc) about how they are struggling, debating and at times innovating in this space. 

My overall sense was that this is still very much an untested frontier for these often conservative and stodgy institutions.  Most projects I encountered were in the initial planning or pilot phase. But there is also a lot of excitement in the air among these librarians, museum directors, curators, IT experts and web developers about the potential for digital technologies to help reinvent their institutions and reach new audiences with their content and knowledge.

[P4K] Games as Youth Media: a Six Year Review 

If you didn't get a chance to attend last year's Games for Change conference and see Barry's presentation, which was a review of how games used as youth media have evolved over the last six years, it is now up on YouTube.

[conf] Speaking on Global Kids approach and nonprofit services today 

Rik speaking about Global Kids at Orange Island
I got an opportunity to speak about Global Kids's approach to youth development and the kinds of services we offer other institutions at "Nonprofit Week" on Orange Island in Second Life today.  It was neat being among the 150 or so avatars who rezzed in for the talks today by my friends Coughran Mayo and In Kenzo, and myself.  Thanks to Jade Lily and Orange Island for the chance to address my colleagues and others interest in the active and growing public good sector in Second Life.

Global Kids at Education Faire, Metanomics, Orange Island this week 

GK Booth Education Faire_001

Global Kids is all over the Second Life grid this coming week, with appearances at three high-profile events.  Come by if you want to find out what we've been up to, our views on Teen / Main Grid integration, and how you can support youth development using virtual worlds.  Here's the breakdown: