[DIDI] New DIDI Venture Park Island! 

Announcing DIDI Venture Park, located just south of The DIDI Initiative on Global Kids estate!

In connection with the D.I.D.I. Initiative, we have opened a new space where DIDI Venturers can apply to have us host their Venture project. The space is organized as a neighborhood, in a style similar to The DIDI Initiative Island. Pathways separate each parcel, and there are several hangout and meeting locations in public space. The parcels are not full yet, but we anticipate a strong community of DIDI Ventures!

The Island from above:

A small pond and bridge:

A comfortable meeting space:

[staff] On the passing of an online community mentor and a friend's dream 

I rarely get into posts of a more personal nature here on the blog, but as part of the staff reflection posts we here at GK do, I wanted to pay tribute to someone who has been a mentor to me and eventually influenced the type of work I have come to do in virtual and online spaces.

This past weekend on Sunday morning a truly amazing woman named Karen passed away. Most people within Second Life know her better as The Sojourner, or Soj as she liked to be called, who was a tireless community leader, mentor and friend to many.

Remembering The Sojourner

She first was introduced to SL by John Lester (better known as Pathfinder Linden to those within SL) through his pioneering online group BrainTalk's early work within SL focusing on creating a virtual therapeutic and empowering space for those living with Aspberger's and other neurological disorders. The project focused on a sim called Brigadoon and Soj in support of her son who has Aspergers, came into SL to be part of the project.

Virtual Field Trip for Science in Second Life Students! 

What happens when you can't visit scientific experts? They visit you! The students in Science in Second Life got a firsthand virtual tour today of a sustainable water treatment plant courtesy of Zev Paiss, an expert in sustainability and co-housing in Boulder, Colorado.
Zev graciously visited the Teen Grid and toured students through an avatar sized model of an alternative method to reclaim and re-use water resources.
Both Zev and the students asked great questions of each other and had a super time. Thanks Zev!

[DIDI] Contest Winners and Celebration! 

This Saturday we announced the winners to the Creativity for a Cause Contest, which we announced earlier this month!
Contestants and Guests party before the winners are announced!

The entries were judged along 4 categories: Creativity, Originality, Social Change Message, and Overall Quality. There were six amazing entries. Each entry is currently on display on The D.I.D.I. Initiative Island in TSL here.

[blog] Henry "Dumbledore" Jenkins lends us praises! 

Recently in a blog post entitled Dumbledore for a Day: The Things You Can Do in Second Life, Henry Jenkins shared his experiences during our recent wizard rock inpsired event Hogwarts Dance Party of Good and Evil focused around Harry Potter fandom. Henry also lends praise to Global Kids.

A while back, I shared with my blog readers my experiences in Teen Second Life, thanks to an organization called Global Kids. I've gotten a chance to work more closely with Barry Joseph, Rafi Santos, and others from the Global Kids organization over the past year or so and each encounter has left me even more impressed with their respect for their young participants and their imaginative use of virtual worlds to focus young people on issues impacting the real world.

Thanks Henry! To read more of the post, click here.

Also, Roland Legrand, within his blog Mixed-Realities, takes note of Henry's post and shares his thoughts on it and the event.

[Staff] April Staff Reflection 

It seems like like every other day in New York City we have been encountering a new season. I now carry my flip fops, winter boats, rain coat and sun cream in a bag with me at all times. Last time I advertise spring was finally here on the blog, but I failed to remember our great friend Global Warming. I wonder if there's Global Warming in Second Life? We at the Online Leadership Program are not letting the erratic weather change our moods. Our minds are still on the treadmill coming up with ideas, observations and reflecting about our world in the digital media and education landscape. Enjoy rummaging through our thought process.

Rafi reflects on the implications of voice for online group facilitation.
Changing the Facilitation Game in Second Life

Rik learns why Global Kids staff make poor blood donors but interesting people.
Global Kids: why our blood is unacceptable

Shawna explores a whole new set of bad words we teach today's youth.
Teaching Bad Words

[tsl/public good] Deconstructing Darfur Week 1 Wrap-Up 

“Deconstructing Darfur” is off to a great start. After a long and very difficult decision to pick ten teens out of 40-some applications, the workshops could begin! With just two of the eight workshops complete, I am really enjoying getting to know the members of “Deconstructing Darfur” who have shown so much enthusiasm and openness with one another and to learning about a topic such as Darfur and genocide, that can be very draining and tough to understand.

Each week the teens meet inside a tent, based off of photos of where classes are held inside a refugee camp in Darfur or Chad. The tent is complete with a dirt floor and little mats for each participant to sit on. As the weeks progress, the tent will change thanks to the help of two great teen builders. As we progress and gain a deeper understanding of what positive change might look like to a fellow teen living in Darfur, the tent will change to symbolize our understanding of reasonable, constructive development.

orig tent.jpg

Workshop 1

[vvp] A Child's War Featured in Australian Paper 

We recently received a very interesting email:

I am the Games in Learning project officer for Education Queensland which is part of the Department of Education, Training and the Arts (Queensland, Australia). We currently have a Machinima pilot project operating in three schools.

Our local newspaper, The Courier Mail, is creating a double page spread about Machinima and has asked me to assist with developing content for the page.

They'd like to feature information about work students are doing with Machinima internationally. Could we have permission to use a screenshot from the video A Child's War for the double-page spread?

Well, of course! Below is the part of our student's film and click here if you'd like to download the entire page about teen machinima.

[ijc] Fellowship Available for International Justice Center 

Global Kids is offering a fellowship to focus on event management for the International Justice Center (click here to teleport). The fellow will be expected to work with Global Kids staff to organize regular in-world events in that sim for SL residents, human rights groups, and the general public.

Since 2005, Global Kids has leveraged the educational potential of virtual worlds to inform and involve people in pressing international and public policy issues. The International Justice Center builds on Global Kids’ groundbreaking work by establishing an online hub supporting the ICC and the global justice concerns it addresses. Developed and administered by Global Kids with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, this innovative online learning center will provide resources for people to learn about the ICC, connect with ICC officials and advocates, and take action in support of human rights and international justice. For more information, see the IJC website at http://justicecenter.net .

Coverage from the First Annual Joan Ganz Cooney Center Symposium focusing on the Impact of Digital Media in educating children event "Logging into the Playground: How Digital Media are Shaping Children’s Learning".

We encouraged viewers to interact with the panelists during question and answer times by asking questions here, within Second Life and leaving comments to this post. You can download the transcript from some of that chat here.

Conference Supplemental Materials:

Conference Info sheet
Press Release
D is for Digital Press Release
D is for Digital
The Power of Pop! Wham!
Symposium Agenda
List of Tech Demos
Pre-K to 4th Grade Exemplary Podcasts.

Audio & Video Resources: