[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.

[staff] From Tech Geek To Social Reformer 

Barry in Huffington PostI recently had the opportunity to brief described for the The Huffington Post's Living Life section the moment of inspiration that led me on my current job path. Neat idea for a column series. Below is what they ran:

From Tech Geek To Social Reformer...And What I Learned Along The Way

Three years after dropping out of Social Work School to enter the emerging new media field in the mid-90s, I was hardly surprised when the University told me they'd take me back. It was thrilling to be part of a new industry redefining my generation from one marked as "slackers" to the new "digerati". But I went to Social Work school for a reason, one far from being met through managing the web sites for Elle Magazine and Sotheby's. I was surprised, however, when the school told me I couldn't attend part time, as I had been led to expect. I would have to decide: my money (.com gold) or my life (.edu heart).

[staff] Early Thoughts on Living the Ludic Life 

Earlier this month I gave the keynote at the SLEDcc Why Second Life Can't Tip: The Power and Perils of Living La Vida Ludic.

At some point I hope to do a more complete write-up of what I had to say. In the meantime, I came across this segment from a proposal we submitted, probably the first place where I tried to articulate the idea of the Ludic Life and what it means for using Second Life for education. Enjoy.

Second Life is a model of a type of virtual world that lends itself well for education. While Second Life is currently unique among virtual worlds for a number of reasons, a number of recently or soon-to-be released virtual worlds, like Google’s Lively or Metaplace, might soon challenge this uniqueness.

[didi] Update on the Cool Kids 

You might not have heard about the Cool Kids project for awhile on this blog but we're still up and running! We had a bit of a transition in the group to a new group of teens due some of the former one's turning 18, going home from the facility, or other reasons. This photo is from our initial meeting on the island last week as we got familiar with the basic guidelines of the island and introduced ourselves.

The community issues identified by the Cool Kids last week included: homelessness, neighborhood violence and crime, drug awareness, lack of healthy activities for youth and their interests are: athletics, basketball, eating, and rapping (all interestingly similar to the first group!). The enthusiasm for the group is very high and it's great to have all five participate. They also see each other more as a group during the day, which will help them have time to brainstorm ideas with each other for their venture.

[In the Media] ENCORE JOURNEY: From women's history to Global Kids 

Encore.org featured a wonderful article that focused on GK's own Executive Director and Founder Carole Artigliani. In the post ENCORE JOURNEY: From women's history to Global Kids, Jenny Griffin the author, Interviews Carole and tells the story of the path that she took that led to the creation of Global Kids.

To mark the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the nonprofit Global Kids, has launched Hurricane Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City to showcase the disaster’s heroes and reinforce emergency preparedness.

Just a few years ago, the virtual reality technology used in the game and Web site would have been alien to Carole Artigiani, 67, executive director of Global Kids and a Purpose Prize fellow.


A career path that once seemed incongruous now makes sense to her. “It wasn’t always as obvious to me as it is now, looking back on my life. Three dimensions were coming together: my background as an educator, my experience in social and political movements, and my passion for the issues in our country and the world,” Artigiani said.

[dmya] Pew Report on Gaming and Civic Engagement Released 

Pew Internet: Teens, Video Games and Civics

About a year ago, I wrote about GK teens assisting the Pew Internet and American Life Project in developing a survey about the effects of game play in young peoples' lives. On Monday, I got an email from Amanda Lenhart of Pew letting me know that the results of the survey, the first comprehensive study on teen gaming habits and their relationship to civic life, has just been released.

From the report, which can be downloaded here [pdf]:

The first national survey of its kind finds that virtually all American teens play computer, console, or cell phone games and that the gaming experience is rich and varied, with a significant amount of social interaction and potential for civic engagement.

[RezEd] Praises for the Release of our SL Curriculum 

We got a great mention recently on the Second Life Education blog about not only the release of our GK Second Life Curriculum, but on our latest RezEd podcast episode. Thanks Scott!

Um, two things, pilgrims:

The Global Kids Second Life Curriculum (three handy freely downloadable .pdf files) may be picked up at RezEd now and I’m tickled to be about to open up my copies right after I hit the “Publish” button on this post. Go get yours.

Secondly, you can be downloading those documents at the same time you’re listening to Sarah (Intellagirl Tulley) Robbins’ marvelous interview at the RezEd podcast number 14. I’m roflmao at her clearing up some general misconceptions about Second Life’s demographic. “About time,” says your resident oldie. Ditto about her chiding corporations who plowed money into SL without critical thought about their investment or the most effective use of the platform for best return on implementation. “That’s not Second Life’s fault: It’s your fault! ‘Cause you didn’t do it right!” Heheheheeee.

Kudos to Intellagirl and to the GK folks for all their hard work!

Written by Scott Merrick

You can also read the full post here.

[RezEd] Post Conference SL Curriculum Release Buzz 

Since Barry Joseph's keynotes at the two recent conferences, Virtual Worlds LA and SLCC, and the announcement of the release of GK's Second Life curriculum, we have been getting a lot of buzz lately in the blogosphere.

Some of the sites talking:

  • A post on Caleb Booker's site focusing on business and virtual worlds site here.
  • Kelly (from Eye4You Alliance) blogged about us and gave a shout out to Barry's SLCC talk too here.
  • The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch posted an article here.
  • HASTAC blogged about the release of our SL Curriculum here.
  • The blog Second Life Update featured a post on the curriculum here.

Alexander asks Victoria a question using Switchboard
The screenshot here is kind of hard to parse so let me describe it. A young person (represented by the green furry) in Teen Second Life is composing a text message to send to another teen in Uganda that she will recieve on her cell phone as an SMS message.  Meanwhile my avatar (the purple robot) sits atop the chat history represented by floating text and blue bubbles that rise higher as each new message is sent.  This remarkable exchange from the virtual world to a regular cell phone is made possible by the grey device behind the bubbles, a tool we call "Switchboard."

A little background after the jump...

Today Shawna and I organized a very special workshop and discussion on
AIDS in Africa.  About a dozen teens converged on Global Kids Island in Teen Second Life to participate in the event.

John Palfrey from the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School wrote a recent article review on “The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning” publication which was edited by game designer and educator Katie Salen and was part of the MacArthur/MIT Press’s Digital Media and Learning series and included essays by Barry Joseph.