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.

  • WhyReef Screen shot
    We are excited to share the news that our friends at the Field Museum of Chicago have teamed up with the tween virtual world Whyville to launch Whyreef: a virtual educational experience for young people to teach them about biodiversity and ecosystems. In Whyreef, you are challenged to observe different coral reefs and carefully record the species of animal and plantlife you encounter there, such as the spinner dolphin, the hawksbill sea turtle, and the humphead parrotfish. Beyond just basic biology education, the players will "work together to address environmental challenges threatening these fragile ecosystems" according to the press release.


    Global Kids
    137 East 25th Street New York, NY 10010


    Jonah Kokodyniak, Global Kids, 212-226-2116, Jonah@globalkids.org
    There.com: Aimee Yoon, Dotted Line Communications, aimee@dottedlinecomm.com, 646.678.4980
    Second Life: Peter Gray, Lewis PR, secondlife@lewispr.com, 415.992.4434

    For Immediate Release:

    Virtual Worlds Collaborate to Spread Kofi Annan’s Message About International Justice: Global Kids Plays Lead Role in Bringing Event to Online Communities

    On March 20, 2008, spearheaded by Global Kids, Inc., a unique collaboration amongst virtual worlds, which combined report audiences of over 10 million users, streamed live from the Waldorf Astoria where Kofi Annan received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s first award for international justice. While Annan spoke before a live audience of 1,200 people in New York City, hundreds more watched and discussed the live speech across four virtual world communities, creating the largest massively multiworld simulcast to date.

    The Affordances of Virtual Worlds and 21st Century Learning Environments 

    Below is a reposting of an article from MacArthur's Digital Media and Learning, in which Connie Yowell asks: What can we learn from young people about why they find virtual worlds so appealing?

    [why] Global Kids Brings Kofi Annan into Whyville 

    On March 20, 2008, Global Kids brought a live simulcast of Kofi Annan receiving an award from the MacArthur Foundation into a variety of virtual worlds.

    One of the highlights was working in Whyville for the first time. We had no idea what we would fine and were thrilled with the results. 181 kids visited the Greek Theater in Whvyille during the event, and 87 of them chatted at least 1 phrase. Jen, from Numedeon, and her tech team worked with Amira and myself to facilitate the event, using a combination of scaffolded questions and polls we had prepared in advance. While we facilitated the text conversation the tweens watched the live streamed video on the same Web page they used for viewing Whyville.

    The staff at Global Kids were pretty inspired by the level of engagement and awareness the event generated amongst the youth.

    [In the Media] Comparing Apples and Oranges in Virtual Worlds 

    Below is a post from the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning blog in which Barry Joseph writes about Comparing Apples and Oranges in Virtual Worlds.

    Global Kids reflects on lessons learned from a massively multiworld simulcast of Kofi Annan’s receipt of the MacArthur Award for International Justice.

    Not all virtual worlds are created equally, even those with the greatest potential to host educational content. On March 20th, Global Kids hosted the first massively multiworld simulcast across four virtual worlds, bringing a live speech by Kofi Annan after receiving the first ever MacArthur Foundation ‘s International Justice Award to Second Life, Teen Second Life, Whyville, and There.com, not to mention the web.

    To see what I am talking about, please watch the brief video below:

    [ijc] Massively Multiworld Simulcast of Kofi Annan 

    On March 20, 2008, Global Kids produced the simulcast of Kofi Annan receiving the MacArthur Foundation's first international justice award. The simulcast was broadcast not just to the Web, but to four online communities within virtual worlds, each within its own simultaneous but unique event: Second Life, Teen Second Life, Whyville, and There.com

    [staff] My Testimony For Congress (had I been asked)... 

    On April 1st, the 110th Congress Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet held a hearing entitled Online Virtual Worlds: Applications and Avatars in a User-Generated Medium.

    Listening to the testimony, it was hard not to imagine what I might have shared were I asked to testify. It might have gone something somewhat like this:

    Chairman Markey, Ranking Member Stearns, and Members of the Subcommittee, we at Global Kids are honored to have this opportunity to share our experiences as experts working with youth and virtual worlds.

    To provide background, in 2006, following extensive research into the educational potential of virtual worlds, Global Kids became the first nonprofit to develop a dedicated space for conducting educational programming in Teen Second Life (TSL). Specifically, Global Kids is conducting intensive leadership programming for youth, bringing students from its New York-based programs into the space, and streaming the audio and video of major events into the world. This work has received significant funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, among others, and been conducted in partnership with many other organizations, including UNICEF, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the International Criminal Court.

    [IJC] Official Opening of the International Justice Center Today! 

    IJC launch logo
    Welcome to the website of the International Justice Center, a virtual clearinghouse for public education and action in support of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and related human rights concerns. Based both here on the web and in the virtual world of Second Life, the International Justice Center will host news, information and live events in support of the ICC.

    [Press} Get a Life: Students Collaborate in Simulated Roles 

    In a recent Edutopia.com article, Laila Weir writes about how virtual reality provides a shared online universe in which students can play to learn. She spotlights several programs, including Suffern Middle School and Global Kids that are using virtual worlds. Highlights from the article are below; to read the full article go here.

    "If you're looking for something for teens who have less sophisticated technical skills, you may want to bring them into Whyville," advises Barry Joseph of Global Kids, a New York City nonprofit organization that's exploring the educational uses of virtual worlds. But he notes, "Second Life is great for teachers interested in working in collaborations to create something that users can view in a community environment."

    Students Collaborate in Simulated Worlds