[Conf] Civic Learning Online Conference at the University of Washington 

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Civic Learning Online Conference put on by Lance Bennett and team at the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement at the University of Washington. The conference brought together a wide range of academics, youth media and youth development organizations, researchers and youth who are involved in Puget Sound off.

With the launch of in September, there was a familiar sense of excitement and anticipation with the growth and development of the site. A range of key questions around civic learning and online engagement were addressed to help direct thinking about how and other similar sites can promote civic learning online. These included strategies for building youth civic environments, how to develop civic media technology that engages youth while bringing in diverse stakeholders into online civic environments, how to understand civic learning opportunities in online environments, and finally how can school-based research be extended to online environments.

[conf] Global Kids visits the new Fred Rogers Center 

Last week I had the honor of joining Mathew Cruz, one of our VVP youth leaders, to speak about Global Kids’ work at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College “October 2, 2008 Briefing: Youth-created Media.” This special event coincided with the grand opening and dedication of their beautiful new (and green!) building on the campus of Saint Vincent College.

The mission of the new Fred Rogers Center is to bridge early learning and children’s media. Over the course of the two days we were there, it was evident that the staff of the Rogers Center are committed to exploring new ways to stay true to this mission using new media, “to act as a catalyst for communication, collaboration, and creative change.”
I had the opportunity to speak about our work in OLP using digital media to inspire and support young people to be the change they envision. Even more importantly, Mathew was able to speak directly of his experience with us in VVP. He wrote of his experience here.

Today I got the privilege to speak to an international audience of about 50 avatars about the work of Global Kids at a US State Department event called "Education Without Boundaries."  It took place on USC's lovely Annenberg Island in Second Life (click here to teleport). I was among a distinguished panel of educators including Ken Hudson of Loyalist College (Canada), Christopher Keesey of Ohio University, and Sue Shick of Case Western.  The panel was gently moderated by Bill May of the State Department Bureau of International Information Programs.

Since I knew that the other panelists were going to be presenting their work using virtual worlds for different kinds of simulations and distance learning environments, I wanted to contrast this with Global Kids' more participatory, youth-driven learning approach.  I think this complemented the other presentations very nicely. 

[Conf] A video walking tour with Barry Joseph on the Ludic Life 

If you haven't already seen it, check out the great video Draxter Despres did of Barry joseph talking about the concept of the Ludic Life. It is a behind the scenes footage of Drax following Barry through some of SLCC interviewing him on his keynote, GK's experiences in virtual worlds and the concept of Ludic itself.

[Conf] Prospero's thoughts on Living a Ludic Live 

In reflection on Barry Joseph's keynote at this year's SLCC, Prospero Linden posted a blog entry on his thoughts on the talk and what it means personally to sometimes live a Ludic Life.

One of my favorite talks was given by Barry Joseph of Global Kids, and was entitled Why second Life Can’t Tip: the Power and Perils of Living La Vida Ludic. I suspect that the whole not-tipping business was in the title to get people to want to come to the talk, but I have to admit that I found that part of the talk less interesting, and perhaps even borderline irrelevant.

However, the concept of La Vida Ludic is something that really grabbed me, partly because I hadn’t seen it layed out clearly and definitively before… yet, in the concepts, I recognized something in the way that I live my life.

[vvp] Trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania :-) 

This Event is really exciting. I had to take an airplane to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to introduce Global Kids Virtual Video Project to the educators along with Meghan at Fred Rogers Center. This was my first time giving a speech to fundraisers and educators. I almost had a nervous breakdown, but I was calmed by Meghan and other friends who reminded me that it is okay to be nervous. Of course I had to practice what I planned to say. If not, I'd have too many pauses tongue.gif But anyways, I did alright. Many people have asked me a lot of questions about GK and VVP. Many people gave me excellent compliments about the speech. smile.gif

Well anyways, before the day for speech, Meghan and I visited Fred Rogers Center, of course I loved his show...Oh man, sooo many memories. "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, Would you be mine? Could you be mine?" It is so awesome to see his puppets, his train, his sweater and his shows that he used for his show. But he did many more things than making an awesome show for kids. He has a good heart.

[P4K] NonProfit TImes spotlights P4K, Tempest & Ayiti games 

The NonProfit Times posted a recent article by Michele Donohue entitled "Philanthropy Games By And For Kids And Donors" which spotlights our Playing 4 Keeps (P4K) program along with the release of the game Tempest in Crescent City.

Read the article below or on their site here.

Poverty in Haiti, fumbling rescue efforts during Hurricane Katrina, medical racism against prisoners are topics that are barely thought about by teenagers.

But Brooklyn teens thought that these sensitive, complex issues needed exposure, and create games to do just that.

"We give them free reign to decide what topic they want to pick, and they inevitably pick the most difficult topics you could imagine," said Barry Joseph, director of the Online Leadership Program at Global Kids, a New York-based nonprofit that teaches urban youth how to develop and create online games that highlight social issues. The nonprofit's Playing 4 Keeps after school program has kids meeting twice a week after school to talk about global topics and develop a social game. "You have to figure out how to generalize [the issue], so it works in the game context, without trivializing it," said Joseph.

[In the Media] 2008 Technology Summit 

Kelly Czarnecki writing for the School Library Journal online, covered the 2008 Technology Summit including mentioning our own Meghan Deana's presentation there.

Digital Youth Wired for Action - 2008 Technology Summit Report...

Also speaking was Meghan Deana of Global Kids’ Online Leadership Program, which integrates a youth development approach and international and public policy issues into youth media programs with the goal of building digital literacy, develop resources for educators, and promote civic participation. Deana shared some of the program’s successes working with at-risk students in New York City, such as Playing 4 Keeps, where teens research and develop socially conscious video games; classes on machinima; creating videos using the graphics from video games; and science classes taught in the virtual world of Second Life.

Meghan Deana

Read the full article here.

[SL] Global Newswire covers release of SL curriculum 

During the Los Angeles Virtual Worlds conference, Global Newswire picked up the release of our new SL curriculum in their Public Affairs Newsline.

NEW YORK, Sept. 2, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On September 3rd, Global Kids' Online Leadership Director Barry Joseph will speak to leaders in digital media and education at the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Joseph will showcase the launch of Global Kids Second Life Curriculum -- the most significant resource in 2008 for those educators interested in incorporating virtual worlds into their classrooms.

The conference, on the theme of The Future of Media and Communications, will take place on September 3rd and 4th and feature such keynote speakers as Collin J. Parris, Ph.D., Vice President of Digital Convergence at IBM Research; and Steve Parkis, Senior Vice President of Disney Online.

Here's Rafi Santo giving his feedback to Linden Lab during a session today in Tampa at the Second Life Community Convention on how to improve Second Life for educators.  Claudia Linden was there carefully taking notes of everyone's comments during this feedback session.  It's great to see a concrete example of how that the Linden gods are listening to the educator community in SL.