Second Life

Chris at final exhibit area for IDZLast Friday was the conclusion of the "I Dig Zambia" virtual summer camp, co-organized by the Field Museum and Global Kids. I Dig Zambia was a two-week camp that brought together 19 teens from Chicago and New York to learn about paleontology, biology, and Zambian culture and politics in the virtual world of Teen Second Life.

Now that our teens have solidified their Second Life skills and learned how to work with their teams across cities during the first week, we ramped up our activities to be more intensive and collaborative.  It was by no means an easy week for our virtual campers, but I think it was engaging, surprising, and often fun.

This blog entry follows up on my previous post about Week One of IDZ. What follows is a recap of some of the main activities during Week Two of I Dig Zambia and an overall summary of IDZ. Read on...

Fossil Exhibit Creation and Presentations

[staff] Do virtual worlds support or hold back marginalized youth? 

IDZ-NY Day 5 - 08
Today was the last day of the "I Dig Zambia" virtual summer camp, and I have been reflecting on how our Global Kids teens participated in the program.  For the past two weeks, eleven of our Global Kids teens have been going through a virtual summer camp in Teen Second Life with eight other teens in Chicago to learn about science and society in Zambia.  It's been a really amazing experience for all of us.

That said, I think there were some significant differences between the two teams of students that played a part in how they participated and what they took away from the experience.  

Our New York teens fall on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum and for the most part don't have regular access to computers or broadband internet as part of their regular lives.  Their Chicago counterparts tend to come from more affluent backgrounds and presumably do have access to computers and internet at home and elsewhere.

AMNH visit - 31
I have been negligent at posting about how the "I Dig Zambia" virtual summer camp is going because we've all been so busy working on the camp all week.  Building upon the successful "I Dig Tanzania" camp last year, "I Dig Zambia" is a two-week intensive summer camp that brings together 11 teens in New York with 8 teens in Chicago to learn about evolution, biology, paleontology, and social and cultural issues in Zambia.  The camp takes place within the virtual world of Teen Second Life, with the New York teens logging in from Global Kids headquarters and the Chicago teens participating from the Field Museum of Chicago.

It's been an outstanding and challenging first week, both for our kids and the educators. Here's a recap of some of the cool activities we had our high schoolers engaged in.

[vvp] Global Kids Machinima "Discovered" Now Online! 

After tonight's successful public premiere of the Virtual Video Project's 2009 film "Discovered" at the Sony Wonder Theater, we are proud to announce the online release of this serious issue machinima. Created by 15 Global Kids teen leaders over the course of the school year, they decided on the subject matter, wrote the script, created the avatars, recorded the voices, shot the footage, and edited the final cut you see here.

We are so proud of our GK filmmakers for their amazing work, creativity, and commitment on this project! Read more about "Discovered" and the Virtual Video Project here.

Movie Poster for "Discovered" VVP Machinima FilmJust a reminder that tomorrow, July 1, fifteen New York public high school students will premiere their film Discovered. Discovered is a digital "machinima" film produced in Second Life that explores the powerful issue of child sex trafficking through the fictional story of one Mexican teenager. This is the final product of a year-long, intensive digital filmmaking program called the Virtual Video Project (VVP), an after-school program conducted by Global Kids, Inc in NYC. The students gathered regularly during the past year to learn about film production, human rights, and virtual worlds, culminating in a serious issue machinima film produced entirely by the youth filmmakers.

Come to the premiere of Discovered to meet the youth filmmakers and discover how digital film can be used for global issue awareness and civic engagement.

[In the Media] GK Youth Leader Nafiza Featured on Edutopia Online 

GK's own youth leader Nafiza was chosen to be part of Edutopia's online Youth Portraits series, in which they feature the digital worlds of various teens.

Digital Youth Portrait: Nafiza

[SL] GK Leader organizing TSL Relay for Life events 

A recent entry from Arwyn Quandry on the blog Transmissions from TSL, focuses on TSL Relay for Life and mentions Global Kids donating the sim for this and all the wonderful organizational efforts by the teen Lucky Figtree who has been working with GK for the past few years.

The mastermind behind this whole event is the talented Lucky Figtree, a longtime GK helper and teen activist who has been running TG RFL events for the past three years. She also speaks at conferences both in-world and first life with Global Kids. On the Relay for Life, she said, “With Relay for Life on the Teen Grid, I hope to give teens all the opportunity in the world to make a difference. Too often the teen grid is regarded as a waste of time and space, and I want to change that and show the teens just how much good they can do when they come together. Our plan is to educate and train in hopes that when it’s time for these teens to transfer, they’ll take part in the main grid relay and continue to celebrate, remember and fight back.” Lucky will transfer on August 23rd, 2009.

To read the full article, click here.

[SL] Mixed reality: virtual worlds create real life connections 

Our good friend Susan Tenby, Online Community Director of Tech Soup, who also runs the Non-profit Commons in Second Life, has a great article published in the Huffington Post on using virtual worlds such as Second Life to help connect, engage and educate between real world events and virtual spaces.

In her article, she also mentions Global Kids work as a great examples of this.

Large foundations are beginning to take notice and leaders like the MacArthur Foundation are not only providing grants to nonprofits to help grow their virtual presence, they are holding events on their own island. Other nonprofit communities like Global Kids teach digital media skills to young people and have successful funded programs in Second Life. More nonprofits are seeing virtual worlds, like Second Life, as one of a handful of social media tools that are essential in their Web and outreach strategies.

Thanks for the mention Susan! You can check out the full article here.

[SL] Philanthropy in virtual worlds 

The Chronicle of Philanthropy's podcast series latest episode spotlights Philanthropy in Virtual Worlds and features a discussion between host Allison Fine and MacArthur Foundation's Connie Yowell and our own Barry Joseph.

Episode 7: Philanthropy in Virtual Worlds

Connie Yowell, director of education at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and Barry Joseph, director of the online leadership program for Global Kids, discuss how nonprofit groups are working in virtual spaces like Second Life. Allison Fine, the host, also offers ideas on how virtual worlds can help organizations raise money and promote their causes. (Running time: 12:36)

Check out the episode on their site, listen to it below or download it.