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I had the pleasure of attending the 18th annual NYLC Service-Learning Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and brought along one of our finest GK youth, Nafiza, who is a student in our after-school Virtual Video Project program, to speak about our work in the virtual world of Second Life. I was also there to stream the conference into Second Life for the first time, and allowed teens in real-life to see teens in Second Life live during the opening plenary session. Everyone was curious about the teens they saw on the screens up on stage and were thrilled to know that those that were unable to attend the conference in New Mexico, were watching and listening in live from anywhere in the world.

For two days, we streamed the opening plenary session in the morning and a total of four workshops in the afternoon. We worked closely with the AV-Tech team, and the company that provided the Internet on-site. As a first timer to New Mexico, I was overwhelmed by the genuine smiles, hospitality and generosity by the folks there. We enjoyed cultural dances, Native Indian songs, Mexican food, and met with people from all walks of life. I talked to teens that were inspirational, and true leaders in the world of service-learning and volunteerism.

[Teen/VVP] National Service-Learning Conference 

Well, I was lucky to get the opportunity to travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico with Tabitha for the 18th annual National Service-Learning Conference. The conference was literally packed with people from all over the United States...and apparently there was supposed to be people from different countries as well, but I did not see any of them (or meet them). Or rather, the conference was not as diverse as I expected it to be. I guess, that is a little bit of a lie since I already knew the racial demographics of New Mexico. Nonetheless, everyone was very nice--much nicer than the typical New Yorker. In some way, I could consider myself to be more hostile than most of the people there. It was a little strange because...naturally I found it a little fishy when a stranger acted too nice (I blame New York), so when I was put in that situation I felt a little out of my element. Overall, it was a nice experience and it was great traveling with Tabitha.

[sl] Overview of Global Kids 1 Year Anniversary in TSL 

This blog entry is a directory to content from our first anniversary in Teen Second Life (okay, February was really our birthday, but we were busy...).

The events ran from March 12- March 23, 2007. The full schedule is available. Below you will find teen reports, photos, transcripts, and more. A giant thank you to the dozens of teens, as well as the Lindens, who built objects, created animations, ran activities, promoted the events, and more!

The 18th Annual NYLC Service-Learning Conference, New Mexico 

This blog entry is a directory to content as we post it for the 18th Annual NYLC Service-Learning Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from March 28 - 30, 2007.

Those unable to attend the 18th Annual National Service-Learning Conference in Albuquerque can attend it LIVE in Second Life!

Residents of Second Life will be able to attend conference plenary sessions in real time at the Global Kids Island in Teen Second Life and at the NMC Teaching sim in Second Life’s community for adults.

"Speakers include Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and United Nations Messengers of Peace; Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Olympian and founder of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation; Verna Cornelia Price, founder of the Girls in Action program; J. Robert Flores, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Kerri Strug, Special Advisor to the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and Olympian; and David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. More speakers will be announced as they are confirmed."

For more information on the 18th Annual NYLC Service-Learning Conference, please visit their website by clicking here.

[sl] NOAA Glacier arrives on GK, sparks debate about global warming 

After much anticipation, the melting glacier of NOAA main grid fame has arrived on GK island. We held an event on Tuesday located there, engaged in some great discussion about what NOAA is, why sea levels rise, and what it all means for the world. It was followed by an incredible debate, GK style of course (involving flying!), during which the teens showed us just how much they knew and how passionate they are about environmental issues.

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Check out this great post by Kate, one of the educators that works with GK on our island:

Tonight, Blue and Philip Linden presented on GK island about the past, present, and future of TSL, as part of Global Kids two week long celebration of our first year in Second Life. It probably had the most participants ever at a live Global Kids event in TSL.

To extend the reach of the event, we not only held the event on GK Island, but we held the Interview NOT in the public chat but within the IM chat of the Global Kids group; that way we could invite people to listen in from all over the grid. We had never tried that before - we had less control over people talking out of turn - but it still went fairly well. Meanwhile, teens on GK island could use the public chat as a backchannel and sent questions to TSL resident Mariel VoyUNICEF. Along with Mariel, TSL resident Lucky was also kind enough to blog about the event.

[sl/teen] Week One of The Global Kid's two week anniversary celebration! 

Hey guys!
As most of you know, Global Kids is celebrating it's year anniversary in Teen Second Life!
It's been an incredible year, and they've reached some very important milestones.
The past week has head many awesome activities for the residents of TSL.
I wasn't present for them all, so I can't tell you -all- about them.

I can say that on Wednesday, The Global Kids had some amazing teens talk about their experiences. I sadly could not make it to talk, due to personal reasons; but I've read what my fellow campers, and others have said.

Yesterday, Barry managed a debate. The topic was something along the lines of, 'What do you think of adults in a teen space?'
There were many more subjects covered, though.
Some talked about what teens can gain or lose through a virtual world, and others focused mainly on the topic of adults in the teen space.
Although there wasn't much opposition; everyone had opinions, very different from the next person.

Guests from NYLC and Learn and Serve America 

Jim Kielsmeier, Founder and CEO of National Youth Leadership Council, along with Amy Cohen, Director of Learn & Serve America at the Corporation for National and Community Service, and Bradford Lewis, Program Officer for Learn & Serve America at the Corporation for National and Community Service, talked with residents for the first time in Teen Second Life on a live audio panel on Wednesday, March 21, 2007.

The 90 minutes panel featured a discussion on "Service-learning in America, what does it mean and why is it important?", and was well received by over 45 teens that dropped by to listen in. Mercury Metropolitan was asked to be the teen interviewer and moderator for the event.

Each guest shared about their experience in the service-learning sector, talked about their work abroad and provided vivid real-life examples on how teens are making the world a better place by serving their local schools, communities, and volunteer work.

The audio and virtual avatar interactions made it possible for teens from different parts of the United Kingdom and U.S.A. to participate and ask questions on how they can get invovled in real life, while some even managed to make friends with the guests after the panel ended.

[sl] Teens debate role of adults in Teen Second Life 

Tonight, as part of Global Kids birthday party in TSL, we hosted a debate about the role of adults in online teen spaces (which quickly became about the role of adults in TSL).

TSL resident Mariel, from Mexico, reported:

    "...the debate was very useful because, no matter that we didn’t really get to an absolute consensus, the whole Teen Grid community (and also the adults who are interested in running projects in it) will have a stronger basis to work on now that we’ve found the points at which both perspectives meet." [read more from Mariel...]

It was a very rich and honest discussion, and involved a number of panelists and a very active audience. Below is an abridged log from the discussion.

But first, some photos!

[sl] Teen panel talking about GK programs in SL in the past year 

On Wednesday March 14, 2007, as part of the one year anniversary celebration in TSL, GK leaders gathered up on the GK event stage to reflect on their experience with Global Kids through various activities and programs, and talked to teens from all over the world. The GK leaders shared about their accomplishments, provided examples of their past work in TSL, and encouraged teens to get involved with future GK activities. Some of the teens are from our after-school programs based in NYC, while others participated in other activities such as the UNICEF World Fit for Children Festival.

Below is a short excerpt of the dialogue during the panel:

Tabitha Gkid: The panel begins now! Please have a seat everyone. Well welcome GK leaders! Please tell us about yourself and how you got started with Global Kids…

Tyguy Homewood: There's all kind of people here.

Introduction – Joe Gkid and Jack Gkid from our after-school Machinima program