Leadership Program

Teens in Virtual Worlds Learn Civic Lessons 

A December Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning blog post, featured how using digital media and virtual worlds to engage you in education of civics issues.

Say the word “civics,” and most people will likely conjure images of well-meaning citizens trudging to the polls to do their democratic duty, soberly pulling levers behind dim curtains for city council members on local election days.

Civics, that is to say, rarely inspires rapture.

But that may be changing as kids, thanks to digital media, are first encountering civic issues in engaging and, yes, dynamic ways, both through school curriculums and on their own.

The article goes on to highlight Global Kids civics based Witnessing History project.

[tsl/leadership/teen] Christmas Around the World 

Christmas is a very common holiday around the world. We all acknowledge that almost every country celebrates it, but do we know how they celebrate Christmas? For this reason, I decided to build an exhibit to showcase how different countries celebrated Christmas. The countries that I had built an exhibit for was Mexico, Australia, Nigeria, Italy, India and Japan. Starting with Mexico, I took all the attendees around the exhibit room to talk about the different pictures that were up. After going around the room, I had announced a “contest”. The participants were to take a photo in second life regarding what Christmas meant to them. Anything and anyone (with their consent) could be used in the snapshot. The winner of the snapshot contest would have their photo put onto the wall in the exhibit. The snapshots were handed in, and so it was then time for a discussion. Teens answered questions about what they saw in the exhibit, such as the similarities between the different countries and the common themes of Christmas. Overall, the ideas of food, thankfulness and family were relevant in every single country.

I hosted it on Thursday, 4th of December 2008. The topic had to be Global Warming because I really do like the topic and stuff related with that. So I throught it would be cool to do something in-world about it for the TG Community to enjoy. The event was hosted at the GK Intern area on Global Kids Island, awesome place!. Before the event I managed to set up a few globes and uploaded a few pictures related to Global Warming along with additional details required for the event.

The event lasted for 1 hour and 20 minutes with many teen grid residents of the community joining in and debating about the past, present and future of Global Warming. I think in total there was around 20+ that attended the event which is great, because there was not many folks on the grid when I started. I was worried who was going to show up, but I managed to get the word out on time.

At 1:33pm SLT, the volcano went off during the event, at the abnormal weather stage. Could this be a sign or something else? lol

[sl/teen] Intern Event Genocide, is it worth it? 

So on November 17th , 2008 I ran the event “Genocide it has to end!” To try and raise awareness of whats going on in darfur.

So, when I started the workshop voice went down. So I found it pretty hard to adapt to typing but I found it kind of easy after a while. So when I started the workshop, I asked the participants a few questions about what Genocide was and a couple of other questions just to get some ideas about what they knew. This went down pretty much without a hitch.

[sl/leadership/teen] Burma: A Human Rights Issue That Can't Be Ignored 

I first learned about the crisis in Burma last year from the 30-day campaign challenge to rally 50,000 voices to speak out for the Burmese who, in their own country are not allowed to speak out for themselves. If they did they could face serious time in prison. How much? Recently a blogger speaking the truth about the oppression was sentenced 20 years in prison.

After following the campaign closely and spreading the word in my hometown I found that sadly Burma’s issues are unknown by the general public. So I decided that holding a fireside workshop in TSL on the topic would be a great idea.

Participants were given basic information on the crimes being committed in Burma, a general time line of events from the 40’s all the way up to today, and information on major players and their impact on the crisis. This was probably the most challenging part of the entire fireside. Planning was quite frustrating, what would be too much information, what is most important to get across, and how do you go about presenting this much information at once without boring people to death? I eventually came to the conclusion that my best bet would be to include all of the facts needed for basic comprehension.

[tsl/leadership/teen] Election Day Event 

The Election Event went over very fantastically. I would like to thank Nate Kongo for helping me out during this entire event. I would also like to thank all of the Gkids for making this election year a good year for the teenagers of Teen Second Life. This event would have gone down badly if it wasn't for the people that kept it together.

The event itself consisted of a few different key elements that made it successful. Whether it be the intelligence of all the teen residents that decided to have a voice or perhaps even the fact that the topics were spoken about so intelligently. It was all a very mature conversation and a lot of people seemed to have enjoyed themselves.

The event itself was not the best thing that happened that night. The voting booth showed that Barack Obama had a clear victory over the teens in the grid with most of the votes going to him over McCain.

[tsl/leadership] Fireside Workshop: Know Your Rights! 

I'd been looking for an excuse to use this great video on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for a while now, and yesterday I finally got a chance to. It was in a fireside workshop I did in Teen Second Life I titled "Know Your Rights!" which was kind of a 101 on human and civil rights, what the difference is between the two, and the struggles to defend them historically as well as up to this day. (The workshop, as is the case of many of the firesides we do, is actually a riff off of a classic GK face to face workshop on the same issue called "Youth, Understanding Rights and Civic Participation").

[tsl/leadership/teen] Election Day Event 

On November 4th, 2008, many teens came together to discuss various issues regarding the presidential election led by Lee Soothsayer and myself. Despite not being able to vote, they still had ideas to carry the event for hours. When considering the idea to host a debate in teen second life, questions come up about whether or not teens are mature enough to discuss topics that are generally taken care of by adults. After hearing what some teens had to say, it was clear to me that the answer to the previous question was yes.

Even emotional topics, such as abortion and the minimum wage were discussed by the group of teens. Some other topics discussed included the Iraq War, the US economy, education, taxes, healthcare, and energy. As people started coming, the discussion really picked up into a fully fledged debate. The great thing was that everyone had respect for each other, and so the debate had not gone out of control.

[tsl/leadership] The teen grid votes Obama! 

TSL Votes Obama!

As we blogged yesterday, yesterday in TSL we coordinated a mock election. With the help of many amazing teens including Ryan Dayton, who scripted a grid-wide voting system, and Victoria Hanfoi, who put together non-partisan candidate fact sheets to place near the polls (not to mention staying online all day yesterday teleporting people to vote!), we managed to hold what we think might be the first ever mock US Presidential Vote in a teen virtual world.

After teens voted, many stopped in and participated in a GK Intern run event by Lee Soothsayer and Nate Kongo; an open mic/debate about the race and the issues related to it. (Look for a blog post from them soon!) It was incredible just to be a fly on the wall during the event, listening as teens debated really touchy issues from abortion to the war in an incredibly civil way.

Oh? What's that? You want to know who won the TSL mock election? Oh, right! Here are the results:

358 Votes Total

John McCain/Sarah Palin: 91 votes. (25%)