Let's Talk Sustainability Wrap Up 

DSC00964.JPGTwo weeks ago was the conclusion of the first phase of Let’s Talk Sustainability, an intensive youth development program that supports high school youth to develop expertise regarding sustainability, online broadcasting, and virtual world construction. Global Kids youth in New York City combined this expertise to produce talk shows that will feature live interviews with scientists and other STEM-related professionals, pre-produced videos, and audience activities. This talk show will be a virtual talk show, filmed within the virtual world Second Life, and will be archived with downloadable materials that will be made available for a broader audience and classrooms around the world.

Let’s Talk Sustainability introduced Global Kids youth to a broad range of concepts related to the topic of sustainability including energy, urbanization, pollution, biodiversity, global warming, and food justice. Youth selected three subtopics to research and designed hour-long talk shows to address each one. Each show was designed to introduce youth audiences to what professionals are doing in these fields and showcase what youth can do to live in a more sustainable world.

Let's Talk Sustainability Staff Reflection  

fort%20greene%20park.jpgFor five weeks this summer, I ran a summer youth program with a few colleagues called “Let’s Talk Sustainability” (LTS). LTS is a youth development program that teaches high school students about sustainability with a STEM focus. The intense summer portion of the program had us meeting with students for five consecutive weeks every Monday-Thursday for full days. Overall, the program was very manageable, due in large part to the enormous amount of preparation that went into developing the curriculum for this program.

Still, despite all the preparation in the world, programs take a life of their own once they start, mainly because the youth who join create their own dynamic That, and there are always unforeseen elements that are beyond our control, no matter how much we anticipate them (i.e. technical difficulties, student behavior, weather conditions on field trips, etc).

Let's Talk Sustainability Video Reflections 

As we wrapped up Let's Talk Sustainability, our youth created short videos to reflect on their time spent in the five-week summer program. They were asked to introduce themselves, describe some of the highlights from the summer, and also mention what they want other teenagers to know about sustainability.

Below is Maria's video reflection and you can view the entire playlist here.

Final Day of Let's Talk Sustainability! 

Today was the final day of Let's Talk Sustainability! We started off the day with the group's favorite icebreaker: the Human Knot. Afterwards, students added their finishing touches to their talk show. To edit videos, they've learned how to use iMovie fairly quickly. Other youth finalized their scripts, created slideshows, and chose the music they want to use.

Afterwards, they finalized their outlines for the final two-minute video reflections to recap their five weeks in the program, and we recorded each student's reflection using a Flip camera. The youth had to not only recap their experience this summer, but also describe what they want other teenagers to know about sustainability.

After lunch, it was time for a closing activity in Second Life! The youth revisited a scavenger hunt game they placed in Week 3. They had to look for ten objects on Global Kids Island, which when clicked, would give them a question they had to answer. The questions they had to answer were based on the key terms and concepts they've learned throughout the program.

Let's Talk Sustainability - Day 19 

Participants in the program continued working in groups to complete the script for the talk show. Some groups were creating videos of their own that they will later use in their Second Life show. The Global Warming group started to film saving energy tips that will be inserted throughout their show. The E-waste group explored more ways to make the show engaging, and worked on putting the final touches to the script. The food production group went to the Farmer's Market in Union Square to film some of the footage that they needed to complete the script.


In the afternoon they prepared a short summary for a final short two-minute video that they will record tomorrow and present to the rest of the program as a closing activity for the program.

In the afternoon, the Second Life activities continue by visiting a sim inspired around the theme of biodiversity. Then continued with practicing the talk show using voice and interviewing each other.

Let's Talk Sustainability - Day 18  

Students continued finalizing their scripts, interviewing people for their pre-produced videos, editing their videos, choosing music, and other details for their talk shows. The youth have each chosen elements of the talk show that they're the most interested in to work on (i.e. music, writing, Second Life set design, etc.) and are able to develop their expertise in that area of interest.

glimpses_2040_final_233_140.jpg In the afternoon, students went on a field trip to the Center for Architecture to visit their exhibit Glimpses, about New York and Amsterdam in the year 2040. The exhibit explores the long-term futures of both cities as they're affected by, "shifting demographics, changes in climate, energy transitions and global economic patterns." The exhibit focused on each city's plan on creating sustainable urban environments.

Let's Talk Sustainability - Day 17 

Students began the day reviewing clips from Planet Green's Battleground Earth Pass It On campaign where they ask celebrities for tips on being environmentally conscious. The clips led to an interesting discussion on the environmental impacts of some of the tips given and whether they in fact have a positive impact on the environment. One in particular that was highly contested was singer Mario's suggestion to use ATM's instead of visiting the bank teller in order to reduce paper usage. Students argued that since ATM's are always plugged in it contributes to damaging the environment due to wasted electricity. Afterward students came up with a list of their own tips they would share.


(click to enlarge image)

Let's Talk Sustainability - Day 16 

Our day began with a guest speaker, Alexander Jutkowitz, market research and strategy consultant, who helped our students brainstorm ways that they can make their talk shows more dynamic and interesting. Students shared their talk show ideas and format with Alex, and he offered practical suggestions for audience engagement, compelling visuals, and engaging storytelling. Students kept these ideas in mind as they continued designing their talk shows for most of the day.

Afterwards, students revisited the Human Barometer questions they developed for their topic a few days ago. After a discussion about what it takes to be an effective facilitator both in real life and Second Life, each group took turns leading everyone else into SL to play Human Barometer at Global Kids Island.

LTS - human barometer

Participants wrote about some of the challenges they are having as group to complete the script and be ready for the talk show.

Nicholas writes about it in his blog:

National Writing Project Digital Is Conference 

Global Kids and the Field Museum presented at the National Writing Project Digital Is conference in Philadelphia a few years ago. Below is the video of the presentation, in which the I Dig Science project is explained in detail. Global Kids leader Amana speaks her experience participating in the program. The video documents the development of the project, what it meant for participants to be part of it, and how it was conceived both by Global Kids and The Field Museum. It is one of the best overall descriptions of the program.

Let's Talk Sustainability - Day 15 

ken%20miller.jpg Students spent a lot of time developing their talk shows by following the action plans they created earlier. Groups have made significant progress in developing their scripts, coming up with interview questions, and looking for multimedia elements to incorporate in their shows.

Jason writes about how his group is progressing:
The group project is now in full bloom. We are now focusing on our true masterpiece which will be about global warming and ways to prevent it. To me I feel like we are progressing faster then we thought even though we still have a lot to go to be finished with our final ending - a show on a grand stage in second life-. We are at least 15% done with this whole project and hopefully we'll be done with it by August 11th 2011. This is just a Small obstacle to walk over and finish with a bang.