[media] Using the Media to Promote Adolescent Well-Being 

The Spring 2008 policy brief entitled Using the Media to Promote Adolescent Well-Being from the Princeton Brookings Institute series on The Future of Children spotlights the wave of youth focused media in today's society.

Adolescent media use has exploded. Parents are worried that teens are drowning in messages about sex, smoking, drinking, consumer goods, and a host of other behaviors and products that threaten their health and well-being. This brief advocates fighting fire with fire by creative use of media to provide youth with positive messages that counteract the negative and potentially damaging messages to which they are so frequently exposed.

The brief goes on to mention our work and our ways of engaging youth.

RezEd Update: May 7, 2008 

The month of May continues the RezEd focus on educational virtual worlds, to be followed by a month exploring education in or through commercial virtual worlds. http://www.RezEd.org

This week on RezEd:

-- Podcast: Sasha Barab, Associate Professor at Indiana University and developer of Quest Atlantis, discusses “Narratizing Academic Content through Videogames

Our partners at the USC Network Culture Project are opening today a Community Challenge entitled Second Life and the Public Good, slated to begin Tuesday, May 6th from International Island (teleport slurl). A special opening session will be held on May 6, 2008 at 11AM with Cory Ondrejka, former CTO of Linden Lab and current visiting professor at USC.

We hope you will join us Tuesday, May 6 at 11:00 am PST as we consider the potential impact of virtual worlds like Second Life to address real world issues and better the public good of commuities around the world. This conversation will launch a community challenge to create projects (and fund the top three as voted by the community) that best address critical issues.

[Conf] Cathy Arreguin to present SLCC 2007 Education Track paper 

As part of the ISTE Speaker Series Sessions, Cathy Arreguin will be presenting her paper on the SLCC 2007 Education Track entitled Reports from the Field: Second Life Community Convention 2007 Education Track Summary.

The event will be taking place Tuesday, May 6, 6 PM PST, within Second Life on ISTE's main sim, teleport to the event here.

You can also download a pdf of Cathy's paper directly here.

More details of the event below from ISTE's calendar of events page:

The latest buzz on RezEd 

There has been quite a buzz since the launch of our RezEd social network. Below are some of the things people have been saying in recent blog posts. We are overjoyed it has been so well received and encourage others to check our RezEd!

[didi] Creativity for a Cause Contest 

How are YOU changing your community?

Please show us by entering in the DIDI Creativity for a Cause Contest:
Entries can include, but are not limited to:
Posters, poems, short-stories, machinima, statues, small builds.

All entries should address two questions:
What problem do you see in your community?
What is something YOU can do or are doing to help change that problem?

What: Contest Award Ceremony & Celebration
When: Saturday, May 17th, 2008
Where: D.I.D.I. Main Stage (SLURL: tinyurl.com/5dsh4d)
Time: 2:00 pm PDT/SLT
Contact: Daniel Voyager, Totem Gufler or Meghan GKid in TSL
Entries Due: All entries due Wednesday, May 14th

The Affordances of Virtual Worlds and 21st Century Learning Environments 

Below is a reposting of an article from MacArthur's Digital Media and Learning, in which Connie Yowell asks: What can we learn from young people about why they find virtual worlds so appealing?

[conf] Teen Residents on the From Myspace to Hip Hop Symposium 

On April 23, 2008, 39 youth in Teen Second Life participated in the 2.5 hour public forum, "From Myspace to Hip Hop: New Media In the Everyday Lives of Youth." It addressed how digital technologies and new media are changing the way that young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life, presented by Common Sense Media, the MacArthur Foundation and the Stanford University School of Education.

As is common in Teen Second Life, Global Kids facilitated processing questions during the live video stream, encouraging youth to respond to the content of the video and relate it back to their own lives. The following are some of the highlights, addressing such topics as:

  • On MySpace, Facebook and Parental Restrictions
  • On Socializing in Teen Second Life
  • On Second Life and Homophobia
  • On “Kiddy” Virtual Worlds
  • On Showing Their Second Life Avatars To Friends and Family
  • “Hip Hop is the Web 2.0 of the Streets”

[why] Global Kids Brings Kofi Annan into Whyville 

On March 20, 2008, Global Kids brought a live simulcast of Kofi Annan receiving an award from the MacArthur Foundation into a variety of virtual worlds.

One of the highlights was working in Whyville for the first time. We had no idea what we would fine and were thrilled with the results. 181 kids visited the Greek Theater in Whvyille during the event, and 87 of them chatted at least 1 phrase. Jen, from Numedeon, and her tech team worked with Amira and myself to facilitate the event, using a combination of scaffolded questions and polls we had prepared in advance. While we facilitated the text conversation the tweens watched the live streamed video on the same Web page they used for viewing Whyville.

The staff at Global Kids were pretty inspired by the level of engagement and awareness the event generated amongst the youth.

[In the Media] Comparing Apples and Oranges in Virtual Worlds 

Below is a post from the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning blog in which Barry Joseph writes about Comparing Apples and Oranges in Virtual Worlds.

Global Kids reflects on lessons learned from a massively multiworld simulcast of Kofi Annan’s receipt of the MacArthur Award for International Justice.

Not all virtual worlds are created equally, even those with the greatest potential to host educational content. On March 20th, Global Kids hosted the first massively multiworld simulcast across four virtual worlds, bringing a live speech by Kofi Annan after receiving the first ever MacArthur Foundation ‘s International Justice Award to Second Life, Teen Second Life, Whyville, and There.com, not to mention the web.

To see what I am talking about, please watch the brief video below: