Virtual World Capacity Building

The Edge Project was an initiative of Global Kids, Inc., funded by the MacArthur Foundation. It aimed to expand the capacity of civic and cultural institutions to use digital media as innovative educational platforms that engage youth in learning and promote youth civic participation.


More specifically, the Edge Project was interested in civic and cultural institutions bringing cutting-edge digital media into their youth educational programs. It was equally interested in where this type of programming can be a disruptive force challenging the educators and/or the institutional cultural to work on the edge of their comfort level.


At the end of the day, we wanted to better understand the following question: How do institutions find their balance working on this edge?


Global Kids' Edge Projects explored this and other questions over two years (2009-2011) through a series of short-term educational programs developed and implemented in partnership with a variety of national civic and cultural institutions that are exemplars within their communities of practice:

 

  • The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (Charlotte, NC)
  • Dane County Jail (Madison, WI)
  • The Field Museum (Chicago, IL)
  • Jail North (Charlotte, NC)
  • Madison Public Library (Madison, WI)
  • MOUSE (NY, NY)
  • The Museum For African Art (NY, NY)
  • The New York Public Library (NY, NY)
  • The Noguchi Museum (NY, NY)
  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, D.C.)

This report will offer the following:

Nonprofit Leaders Talk about How Virtual Worlds Can Help Their Missions 

Eileen Newmark of the Eurica Media Lab was one of the featured presenters at the Global Kids' Roundtable on Nonprofits and Virtual Worlds that took place on July 20.  Here is a machinima clip of Eileen talking about how she is thinking of integrating Second Life into their existing cross-cultural exchange program between American and French youth.

Roundtable on Virtual Worlds and Nonprofits July 2010
You are cordially invited to "Creating A Better World, " a Global Kids' Roundtable on Virtual Worlds and Nonprofits on Tuesday July 20, 2010. The event will take place from 12-1pm PST at the Plush Nonprofit Commons Amphitheater in the virtual world of Second Life (teleport link). Representatives of six nonprofit organizations will give brief presentations on their initial explorations of Second Life and other virtual worlds, and how they are thinking of integrating these virtual tools into their organizations' respective missions. Afterwards, there will be an open discussion about the applications of virtual worlds for various public good purposes.

The event is open to the public, with a special welcome to nonprofits, activists, educators, and developers.

VWCB-logo-summer-2010.jpg
On behalf of Global Kids, a leading nonprofit in the field of virtual world education, we would like to invite your organization to apply to participate in the final series of free professional development trainings in virtual worlds for nonprofits. Supported by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, the Virtual Worlds Capacity Building for Nonprofits Program aims to facilitate nonprofit organizations in developing an informed strategy on how to integrate these new media tools into their missions.

Beginning in June of 2010, Global Kids will be working with a cohort of 5-8 civic and cultural organizations to introduce them to the myriad applications of virtual worlds for the public sector. The "Virtual World Capacity Building Program," now in its fourth and final semester, is a four-week crash course in virtual environments, specifically tailored to the interests and needs of nonprofit institutions. Participating organizations will have the opportunity to explore different virtual worlds, test out different tools and applications, and learn about cutting edge projects run within these 3D, online spaces.

Videos from Roundtable on Virtual Worlds & Nonprofits 


On April 12, we had a fantastic Winter 2010 Roundtable on Virtual Worlds and Nonprofits on MacArthur Island in Second Life. Representatives of five nonprofit organizations gave brief presentations on their initial explorations of Second Life and other virtual worlds, and how they are thinking of integrating these virtual tools into their organizations' respective missions.

We've made available videos of the presentations, which you can see at these links

  • Health Consumers Alliance of South Australia
  • United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Inc
  • Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health
  • V.O.I.C.E. Community Development Corp

    Each of these organizations completed the Global Kids' Virtual World Capacity Building Program, a four-week intensive exposure to virtual worlds for public good institutions.

  • VWCB-roundtable-0410-680.jpg
    You are cordially invited to Global Kids' Winter 2010 Roundtable on Virtual Worlds and Nonprofits on Monday April 12, from 12-1pm PST on MacArthur Island in Second Life (teleport link). Representatives of six nonprofit organizations will give brief presentations on their initial explorations of Second Life and other virtual worlds, and how they are thinking of integrating these virtual tools into their organizations' respective missions. Afterwards, there will be an open discussion about the applications of virtual worlds for various public good purposes.

    Representatives of the following organizations will be presenting:

    • Child Welfare League of America
    • Health Consumers Alliance of South Australia
    • United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Inc
    • Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health
    • Hip-Hop Education Center
    • V.O.I.C.E. Community Development Corp

    Each of these organizations has just completed the Global Kids' Virtual World Capacity Building Program, a four-week intensive exposure to virtual worlds for public good institutions. The event will be moderated by Global Kids and take place at the MacArthur Island Amphitheater (click here to teleport.)

     

    On behalf of Global Kids, a leading nonprofit in the field of virtual world education, we would like to invite your organization to apply to participate in a series of free professional development trainings in virtual worlds for nonprofits.

    VWCP-logo200.jpgSupported by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, the Virtual Worlds Capacity Building for Nonprofits Program aims to facilitate nonprofit organizations in developing an informed strategy on how to integrate these new media tools into their missions.

    [conf] Report on Fall 09 Roundtable on Virtual Worlds and Nonprofits 

    VWCB fall09 group shot
    On November 12, Global Kids hosted a Fall 09 Roundtable on Virtual Worlds and Nonprofits on MacArthur Island in Second Life (teleport link).  
    Representatives of five leading nonprofit organizations gave brief
    presentations on their initial explorations of Second Life and other
    virtual worlds, and how they are thinking of integrating these virtual
    tools into their organizations' respective missions. Specifically, the following organizations presented:

    Virtual World Capacity Building Program 

    VWCP-logo200.jpgIn August, Global Kids graduated its first cohort of nonprofit staffers who participated in the Virtual World Capacity Building Program, a four-week introduction to virtual worlds and their applications for civic and cultural institutions. These four organizations -- the Vera Institute of Justice, the Adler Planetarium, Architreasures, and the National Writing Project -- had almost no experience with virtual worlds prior to the program, but by the end of the four-week course were able to speak cogently and insightfully about how these digital tools fit into their larger institutional missions. Over the course of the four-weeks, these staffers explored a number of different virtual worlds, created avatars for themselves, learned how to build 3d objects and bring in multimedia resources, and engaged in in-depth conversations about the strengths and challenges of working with these new media tools. (You can see a report about this first Virtual Roundtable.)

    Introducing the Edge Project 

    “To transform the core, start at the edge.” -- John Hagel and John Seely Brown

    The Edge Project is part of Global Kids recent support from the MacArthur Foundation to expand the capacity of civic and cultural institutions to use new media as innovative educational platforms that engage youth in learning and promote youth civic participation. More specifically, the Edge Project is interested in civic and cultural institutions bringing cutting edge digital media into their youth educational programs. It is equally interested in where this type of programming - due to technology, its pedagogical implications or both - is a disruptive force challenging the educators and/or the institutional cultural to work on the edge of their comfort level. There is a balancing act they must undertake, being receptive to how new media challenges their current educational culture and practice while, in turn, challenging the educational potential of new media through interacting with that very culture and practice. At the end of the day, we want to better understand the following questions: how do institutions find their balance working on this edge and do different types of institutions respond in different ways?