Virtual Worlds

Rik Addresses Nonprofit Commons about Teen Second Life Transition 

Rik speaking on Teen Grid Transition at Nonprofit Commons MeetingThis morning I gave a brief talk about the impending Teen Grid transition that Barry and I have written about. I was at one of the regular Nonprofit Commons meetings in Second Life, talking with about 40 other nonprofit folks facilitated by Glitteractica Cookie of Techsoup.

Why I'm Excited about the Closure of Teen Second Life 

Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life, recently announced that they will be closing their youth-only virtual world Teen Second Life at the end of the year. As one of the educators who runs programs on the "Teen Grid," I was initially quite upset about the news, sharing Barry Joseph's view that this was a sad loss of a youth-run online space.

I have had some time to process the news, and think about the reprecussions for our work at Global Kids. I would say now that the Teen Grid transition has both positive and negative aspects for us and for the teens that we work with. But on the whole, I think it creates more opportunities for Global Kids and the teens in our programs than problems.

But first let's look at the negative repercussions...

Negative Aspects of the Teen Grid Transition

A Eulogy For Teen Second Life 

State of the teen grid predebateIn August, 2010, the owners of Second Life announced their youth-only virtual world, Teen Second Life, would be permanently shut down after five years of operation. In the spirit of serious play that pervaded this unique source of youth expression, the following eulogy is provided. To add your own or join the discussion please go here.

Dearly beloved, educators and youth alike, we are gathered together (to misquote Prince) to get through this thing called Second Life. Or, more to the point, not get through it but get out of it. For any minute, perhaps as you hear these very words, a switch will be flipped, forever dispersing Teen Second Life, our virtual playground and classroom for all these years, into actual oblivion.

Roundtable on Virtual Worlds and Nonprofits July 2010
You are cordially invited to "Creating A Better World, " a Global Kids' Roundtable on Virtual Worlds and Nonprofits on Tuesday July 20, 2010. The event will take place from 12-1pm PST at the Plush Nonprofit Commons Amphitheater in the virtual world of Second Life (teleport link). Representatives of six nonprofit organizations will give brief presentations on their initial explorations of Second Life and other virtual worlds, and how they are thinking of integrating these virtual tools into their organizations' respective missions. Afterwards, there will be an open discussion about the applications of virtual worlds for various public good purposes.

The event is open to the public, with a special welcome to nonprofits, activists, educators, and developers.

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On behalf of Global Kids, a leading nonprofit in the field of virtual world education, we would like to invite your organization to apply to participate in the final series of free professional development trainings in virtual worlds for nonprofits. Supported by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, the Virtual Worlds Capacity Building for Nonprofits Program aims to facilitate nonprofit organizations in developing an informed strategy on how to integrate these new media tools into their missions.

Beginning in June of 2010, Global Kids will be working with a cohort of 5-8 civic and cultural organizations to introduce them to the myriad applications of virtual worlds for the public sector. The "Virtual World Capacity Building Program," now in its fourth and final semester, is a four-week crash course in virtual environments, specifically tailored to the interests and needs of nonprofit institutions. Participating organizations will have the opportunity to explore different virtual worlds, test out different tools and applications, and learn about cutting edge projects run within these 3D, online spaces.

A piece in "The World is Open" 

In Curtis Bonk's "The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education," he writes about how web technology is being used within educational settings. Within this, in the chapter entitled "Who Are You? Alternative Reality Learning", he mentions Global Kids and our innovative work with teens in Second Life.

Check out the excerpt that talks about Global Kids [pages 285 - 287] here!

Videos from Roundtable on Virtual Worlds & Nonprofits 


On April 12, we had a fantastic Winter 2010 Roundtable on Virtual Worlds and Nonprofits on MacArthur Island in Second Life. Representatives of five nonprofit organizations gave brief presentations on their initial explorations of Second Life and other virtual worlds, and how they are thinking of integrating these virtual tools into their organizations' respective missions.

We've made available videos of the presentations, which you can see at these links

  • Health Consumers Alliance of South Australia
  • United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Inc
  • Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health
  • V.O.I.C.E. Community Development Corp

    Each of these organizations completed the Global Kids' Virtual World Capacity Building Program, a four-week intensive exposure to virtual worlds for public good institutions.

  • Using a Virtual World to Protect Earth's Oceans: A Proposal 

    Global Kids is excited to be included as a partner with the virtual world KidsCom.com and the Tech Museum of San Jose in a proposal to create a program called "Collections of Collaboration: Protecting Oceans Using the Virtual World to Understand the Real World". This proposal is a finalist in the HASTAC and MacArthur Foundation sponsored Digital Media and Learning Competition 2010.

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    You are cordially invited to Global Kids' Winter 2010 Roundtable on Virtual Worlds and Nonprofits on Monday April 12, from 12-1pm PST on MacArthur Island in Second Life (teleport link). Representatives of six nonprofit organizations will give brief presentations on their initial explorations of Second Life and other virtual worlds, and how they are thinking of integrating these virtual tools into their organizations' respective missions. Afterwards, there will be an open discussion about the applications of virtual worlds for various public good purposes.

    Representatives of the following organizations will be presenting:

    • Child Welfare League of America
    • Health Consumers Alliance of South Australia
    • United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Inc
    • Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health
    • Hip-Hop Education Center
    • V.O.I.C.E. Community Development Corp

    Each of these organizations has just completed the Global Kids' Virtual World Capacity Building Program, a four-week intensive exposure to virtual worlds for public good institutions. The event will be moderated by Global Kids and take place at the MacArthur Island Amphitheater (click here to teleport.)

     

    lost boys of sudanOn Friday, March 26 at 9am, you can watch a virtual simulcast of three of the Lost Boys of Sudan, telling their amazing story of survival and hope for the people of Sudan.  They will be speaking from the National Service Learning Conference in San Jose, California, addressing a group of young people and educators there.  Meanwhile, people of all ages can watch their talk from the virtual world of SmallWorlds and the "Salam Project" website.

    After their presentation, we will facilitate a question and answer question with them, including questions submitted from SmallWorlds.

    Click here for instructions on connecting to the event in SmallWorlds.

    Where else but virtual worlds can you come together with people from all over the world to talk directly with remarkable youth leaders like these three young men?

    Here's the full description of the session after the jump....