OLP's 2008 Year End Review 

GK 2008 year in review
The year 2008 was a remarkable period for the Online Leadership Program at Global Kids. It is challenging to even pick just a few standouts: An AIDS orphan in Ugandan exchanges text messages from her cell phone with a dozen teenagers in Teen Second Life; high school students conceive and produce a web-based game about local heroes during Hurricane Katrina; youth produce a seven-minute long animated movie about racism as an obstacle to education around the world; a high school class in Brooklyn uses a virtual world to learn about and create their own simulations about science; hundreds of young people across four virtual worlds watch Kofi Annan receive a major human rights award; incarcerated teens use a virtual world to learn how to create positive change in their real community; youth in Chicago and New York City collaborate online with paleotologists on a fossil dig in Tanzania; nearly 1,500 educators share knowledge and advice on how to use virtual worlds for education.

[In the Media] Coverage of MacArthur's Digital Youth Research 

We were excited when the findings from the MacArthur Foundation's three-year ethnographic study of young people’s digital media use was released by Mizuko Ito and her colleagues last month in the publication Living and Learning with New Media.

The MacArthur Foundation Spotlight blog in a recent article, summarized some of the coverage around the blogosphere, and elsewhere, in their media roundup on the reports. This included our own Rafi Santo's write up on this blog and Global Kids simulcast coverage of the forum that MacArthur sponsored last spring. You can view both parts one and two of this on YouTube.

[p4k] Author behind book behind CONSENT! sings GK's praises 

Two years ago, the youth in our Playing 4 Keeps program created CONSENT!, a game about medical racism against African American male prisoners. It was based on a chapter from Harriet Washington's remarkable Medical Apartheid.

We tracked her down to tell her about the game and she wrote us this lovely note below, which she gave us permission to reprint here:

From: "Harriet Washington"
Subject: Re: CONSENT!

I was happy to hear from you. As it happens I had already seen CONSENT! ( I get alerts on some web entries that mention the titles of my books) and was really impressed. I'm very happy that young people understood the issues so well and am just blown away by their creativity. They- and you- are to be commended for pursuing what's really important in such a smart and innovative manner.

I love your program's focus on global issues by the way. I feel I profited by spending part of my childhood living abroad and I like to think that our period of cultural isolationism is coming to an end, so these kids will need information in a global context, languages etc. My schedule is way overbooked now, but let me know if I can help in the future.

When I see achievements like CONSENT! I feel that the future is in good hands.

[p4k] The impact of gameplay 

Ayiti: The Cost of Life, continues to impact those that play it.

"Never have I played a game where I felt so heartbroken and exposed when it was all over... Never have I been so affected by a game before."

This comes from a review of Ayiti from the EdGames blog created by the learning community of EDTEC 670 at San Diego State University.

Read the full post here.

[SL] US Holocaust exhibit launches in SL's main grid 

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably have read about Global Kids work with youth programs and the U.S. Holocaust Museum. If not, you can view past entries here.

Recently the museum launched a Second Life main grid exhibit that builds off of the Teen SL experience. In a Virtual World News article, David Klevan of the U.S. Holocaust cited:

[didi] Iceberg panel presentation next week! 

I can't believe it's really next week! I think we've been planning this for about the same duration as a typical pregnancy.

I'm apprehensive but excited at the same time. I feel the push and pull of knowing that our group's inworld skills might not be the fastest or most savvy but I know they want to make a difference in their community and can work very well together when they put their minds to it. I hope that shines through anything else during their presentation. I know this because I see it in their eyes, their tone when they talk about what interests them in regards to the venture, and that over and over they have said they don't want others to make some of the same choices they have made in their own lives.

Global Kids 2009 Winter Benefit January 14 in New York City! 

GK Benefit Save the Date
Mark your calendars for Global Kids 2009 Winter Benefit to be held in New York City on Wednesday, January 14 from 6-9PM. We will be honoring Vincent Mai, CEO of AEA Investors and Co-Founder of the International Center for Transitional Justice, who has achieved extraordinary success as an international business leader while promoting human rights and social justice issues around the world. The event is being co-chaired by Chris Williams of Williams Capital Group, L.P., and Michael Sonnenfeldt, Chairman of MUUS & Company.

Preparing for panel-the Icebergs 

These next few weeks the Icebergs (aka 'the Cool Kids') DIDI team are getting ready for panel. It's exciting to see the ideas that were talked about for weeks during workshops finally get put together into a presentation that team members are excited about.

Since we're not on SL a lot, when we do have to use the program to work together, it takes a little time to feel comfortable in the space to use it as a place to express our ideas in a focused way. We have a lot of time to prepare and the team will get to go through a mock presentation next week to see what is still needed to work on.

The planning process has been a venture in itself! Stay tuned-hopefully we'll have some blogs and podcasts by the members themselves.

[Staff] OLP Staff Reflections for November 

Hi! Hope this finds all of you energetic and well. Staff reflections are a great way to see new ways in which the OLP staff are thinking. Please read below for an update on current mind wanderings of the OLP staff.

Over the month of November, Rik comments on the fake New York Times that was published by an “anonymous” group, Rafi et al give thanks for being part of the GK team, Shawna looks at the power of language, Tabitha shares her thoughts about the space in which she works, Krista talks about Second Life and whether it is a game and Barry discusses the potential of a new Lego virtual world.

Review: The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning 

A recent review in the online journal Educause Quarterly, written by Richard van Eck highly recommends the Ecology of Games volume, of which our own Barry Joseph has a chapter on Global Kids' work.

"The final two chapters describe gaming literacies from two different perspectives: Second Life and Global Kids. Cory Ondrejka provides a useful overview of the history and origins of virtual worlds, as well as a specific analysis of Second Life and its relation to these origins and the theories and literacies described in the other chapters in this section. Barry Joseph's chapter, "Why Johnny Can't Fly," grounds these theories and ideas in the context of youth development and presents a powerful case for games as new media that can support maturation and acculturation rather than act against it."

Read the full review here.
Download a PDF of the article here.