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[SiSL] HSGC Science in Second Life - Day 2 

Screen captured footage of the second day of the HSGC Science in Second Life class.

Today we went over how to blog and took the teens through logging into Movable Type and how to create posts. In this video you get a good idea of what the flow of conversation between the actual classroom and my imput via video and the collaboration back and forth.

[press] Press Junket on Global Kids Estate 

Yesterday, to celebrate the two year anniversary of Global Kids in Teen Second Life, with the support of Linden Lab, we held the first ever press junket to the GK Estate and announced the launch of three new projects.

[conf] Philanthropy and Virtual Worlds: Considering Civil Liberties 

The USC Institute for Network Culture and Global Kids present a discussion on Philanthropy and Virtual Worlds: Considering Civil Liberties.

This second event in the MacArthur Series on Philanthropy and Virtual Worlds will be held Monday, January 28, 2008, 12:00 p.m. PST.

Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, will chair a discussion about the rights of users in virtual worlds. Joining him will be Robin Harper, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development from Linden Lab, and Jack Balkin, professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.

Douglas Thomas, Professor at USC and Director of the Institute for Network Culture, and Barry Joseph, Director of Global Kids’ Online Leadership Program, will preview upcoming events exporing philanthropy in virtual worlds. USC and Global Kids have received funding from MacArthur. Funding for this event is part of MacArthur's support for a year-long set of activities to explore the role of philanthropy in virtual worlds.

If you want to submit a question during the event, send an email to usc.network.culture@metaversatility.com.

To guarantee a spot at the event, please RSVP to usc.network.culture@metaversatility.com.

[staff] Cultural Competencies & Recognizing the Space of our Young People 

Something powerful happens when we as educators approach a young person's space, like their afternoon dance club, or hip hop group, or virtual world, and acknowledge it as being worth something. When we consider their cultural competencies, and what is important to them. When we harness their unique competencies for something that uniquely counters all of the negativity, pressure, or influences that are concurrently constructing their world.

In the work of the Online Leadership Program, we are recognizing that the enormous creativity, energy and spirit of our young people means something. And that it means something in all of the different forms it takes. It means something for the young person that only is engaged when she has a camera in her hand. Or for the young person that is struggling in school but confident in an after school fireside workshop. It matters tor the young person that isn’t sure of herself or who she wants to be, but knows that others are just like her, across the world, and she gets to seem them in the virtual world she logs in to every night. For a person that hates English class, but feels whole in a hip hop project… That matters.

[staff] Virtual workshops.. in person? 

For the last two months or so I’ve been working with 4 students from Ramapo Technology Club. These students are participating in an after school club at Suffern Middle School in NY, and have volunteered to be part of GK’s D.I.D.I. Initiative. We meet every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, virtually, in TSL. Over the past weeks I’ve gotten to know each teen, and the dynamic of the group. I’ve learned who the quiet thinker is, which one is the natural leader, and which one is the ‘class clown.’

It’s been interesting working so consistently with a group - in a virtual setting. There are some things I was beginning to question, though. Despite reiteration of our GK guideline of ‘safe space’, I noticed a continued banter among the group, different from what I would accept in a classroom. Sometimes I would step in and remind them. Other times, they’d remind each other. I also noticed occasional long lags in response time during conversations and tasks. “Are they there?” I’d wonder. “Are they bored?” Sometimes they tell us they are bored. That’s helpful.

Despite my concerns, the Ramapo group has been most impressive with their dedication to the DIDI Venture. Attendance is great, and once we get going, participation is never an issue. This group has begun to think deeply about their community, and how they can make a difference.

[SiSL] The First Day of Science in Second Life 

Today was an exciting day for Global Kids' Online Leadership Program. We identify as an after school program. But today we launched our first classroom-based program, a semester long, 100+ session Global Science course at the High School for Global Citizenship (funded by the Motorola Foundation). Why is the OLP involved? The course will use the virtual world of Second Life to teach the curriculum.

All considered, things went very well. Below are my random notes from the day.

The 20 new Macbooks are beautiful and well secured by four locks.

However, as prepared as we were, I forgot that new Macs arrive sans dongle for connecting them to the projector. Oops! Instead we used a PC to project on the screen.

When students entered we already had Joyce up on Skype, speaking from her home in Mass. It was fascinating to see the teens avoid her. A few mentioned, half joking, that they were scared of her, this disembodied talking head on a desk.

[staff] Coming full circle at Global Kids 

MacArthur DML Volumes

On January 9th, I hit my two year mark here at Global Kids. To some, I know this sounds like a short amount of time, but to me, it's an age. To begin with, working in GK's Online Leadership Program means that we're in a field that's moving at breakneck speed. The contours of the new media landscape are shifting beneath our feet. Every month feels like six. We've been both nimble and (definitely) fortunate enough to ride this proverbial wave, and so our team has grown and projects shifted an enormous amount as well in the short time that I've been with GK.

[staff reflections] On Beyond Second Life 

Two years ago, in January of 2006, Global Kids opened our first Island in Second Life, on the main grid. We had a party then sent it the next day to the teen grid. The party was a blast, as captured below in our first machinima (before we even learned the word!).

At the time, we could not have imagined that within two years Second Life’s accounts would grow from around 20,000 to over ten million, that Global Kids online staff would grow from three to twelve (not counting interns and independent contractors), nor that this new medium would explode in 2008 and be predicted to reach more than 50% of teens by 2011.

Reflecting back on the past two years, rather than reflect on the broad range of our past SL-based educational programs, the remarkable partners (from UNICEF to the MacArthur Foundation to the dozen amazing organizations I am leaving out), and the impact we have had on youth both in NYC and around the world, I’d rather look at the next few years.

[Conf] Announcing release of two papers in GK Series on Virtual Worlds 

This week brings the exciting release of two papers that were written based on findings during the 2007 Second Life Community Convention in both the education and non-profit focused panels. They were authored by two prominent SL community members in both fields and feature numerous references, quotes and work being done by various educators, virtual world professionals and non-profits within Second Life and other related spheres.

We are proud of the papers and welcome you to download them, share with your colleagues and leave comments.

Support for these reports was provided by the Digital Media and Learning Initiative of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. We thank them and all who helped contribute in some way to the publishing of these documents.


Reports from the Field: Second Life Community Convention 2007 Education Track Summary

Best Practices from the Second Life Community Convention Education Track 2007

prepared by Cathy Arreguin, MA Educational Technology

The first paper in the Global Kids Series on Virtual Worlds discusses common themes, methodology and best practices in education in virtual worlds and concludes with recommendations.

NEWS RELEASE

Contacts: Jonah Kokodyniak, Global Kids, 212-226-2116, Jonah[AT]globalkids.org
Tom Mariam, Mariam Communications, 914-939-4294, Tom[AT]mariam.biz

For Immediate Release:

Media Offered Unique Opportunity by Global Kids to Experience Teen-Only Space of Second Life

Journalists Can Observe Projects on Education, Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy

New York, NY, January 15, 2008 – Journalists from around the world will have a rare chance to get a first-hand look at the teen-only space of the popular virtual world, Second Life (TSL), through Global Kids Inc. (GK), a leader in the use of new media to empower youth.

Global Kids, now in its third year of conducting educational programming in TSL, is conducting the first invitation-only press tour of the teen-only space of Second Life on Wednesday, January 30 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. EST.

Journalists can participate either by coming to the Global Kids office in New York City or remotely. Interested reporters should contact Jonah Kokodyniak (212-226-2116 or jonah[AT]globalkids.org) to reserve a spot.

The special press tour will highlight three of Global Kids’ most exciting new projects: