In the Media

[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.

[p4k] Knight News game awards ceremony 

We hope everyone thinks good thoughts for us going into the first annual Knight News Game Awards ceremony Wednesday night as part of the Games for Change Festival. Some of the Playing 4 Keeps student designers will be showing Ayiti: The Cost of Life off to the crowd before the winner is announced.

Wish us luck!

[P4K] When Games Get Serious 

Darren Hayes of the Learning Forward blog posted recently an entry on his thoughts on the Games for Change Toolkit, including thoughts on one of Barry's presentations and his experience playing Ayiti.

You can read his thoughts below or the full entry on his site.

The Toolkit 4 Making Social Issue Games produced by Games for Change is a terrific primer on the state of the industry on serious or social issue games development. This toolkit provides a series of video presentations by leading proponents in the serious games arena and is a great way to start thinking about what’s out there and what’s possible.

In one of the presentations within the toolkit Barry Joseph, Director of the Online Leadership Program for Global Kids, talked about the planning and production of a game called Ayiti, the Cost of Life. “Ayiti” is the Creole word for “Haiti.

[P4K] The end of an era 

We were very sorry to see our long-term partner, and digital advisory member, GameLab close its doors this month. GameLab partnered with Global Kids on the powerful game Ayiti: The Cost of Life and over the years published numerous game titles.

It may be the end of an era, but its also the start of something new and we look forward to what comes next for those behind GameLab.

Others commenting on the passing of GameLab:


[Staff] Virtual Worlds: Emerging Trends for 2009 

If you haven't gotten a chance to read Barry Joseph's latest post to the MacArthur Spotlight blog on his thoughts on emerging trends in virtual worlds, you can check his post out below or on the MacArthur Spotlight blog.

MacArthur grantee Global Kids reflects on six trends in virtual worlds around learning and philanthropy.

By Barry Joseph

As RezEd enters its second year of funding from MacArthur, we thought it would be helpful to outline several trends we have seen emerging that affect learning and virtual worlds.

Trend 1: Media Tired...
The press grew tired with its love/hate relationship with Second Life, the preeminent virtual world in the public sphere, moving from wide-eyed adoration to cynical disdain. Recent signs, such as cnet’s ”Second Life Strives for a Second Wind” and Gigaom’s ”Second Life Starts to Grow Again,” suggest the pendulum might be swinging back.

[press] new Threshold focuses on Participatory Media; includes Global Kids 

Cable in the Classroom has released the latest issue of Threshold Magazine. It goes out to 40,000 schools. This issue was coordinated by our partners at the M.I.T.s Project New Media Literacy. Global Kids was involved in three of the articles, each available for free as a pdf download here.

The first one, Henry Jenkin's "'Geeking Out' on Democracy," states the following:

Global Kids, a New York after-school organization, has been using Second Life to bring together youth leaders from around the world in a virtual playground where they can imagine and stage solutions to real-world problems. Global Kids used machinima-a technique to create realtime digital animation-to document the story of a child soldier in Uganda and circulate it via YouTube and other platforms to call attention to the plight of youth in the developing world.

Much like the HP [Harry Potter] Alliance, Global Kids is modeling ways we can bridge the gap between participatory culture and participatory democracy.

The second is an article co-written by GK's own Rafi Santo, descibing a day in the life of our innovative Media Master's program: "Mastering New Media."

[P4K] CONSENT! Successfully Launches in Second Life 

On Wednesday, April 8, 2009, Global Kids' Playing 4 Keeps youth created game CONSENT! launched officially in the Clemson Teaching Learning sim within the main grid of the virtual world Second Life.

The two hour event was attended by some three dozen avatars who got to be some of the first people within the main grid to play the game and many more who visited and played CONSENT! in the following days.

More info on CONSENT! after the jump.

We also received lots of great feedback and comments about CONSENT! and the game play experience. Below are a few comments left from players immediately after playing it via CONSENT!'s automatic posting of feedback to twitter.


Click here to visit and play CONSENT! within Second Life.

[P4K] Ayiti featured in Multimedia & Internet @ Schools mag 

Multimedia & Internet @Schools magazine, in their recent March/April 2009 issue, wrote an article featuring our partners TakingITglobal: "The TIGed Program: A Model for Taking Classrooms Global." One section focused on where they supported us to distribute our Ayiti game to educators:

Case Study: Ayiti Online Game. Educators and TIGed chose to directly engage students in developing a thematic classroom and online educational game about life in Haiti. Youth at South Shore High School collaborated with partners Global Kids and Gamelab to develop Ayiti, a role-playing video game in which the player assumes the roles of family members living in rural Haiti. Players must balance various goals, such as achieving education, making money, staying healthy, and maintaining happiness while encountering unexpected events.

The Ayiti game is connected to a thematic classroom toolset, allowing educators to guide their students through an interactive learning experience that includes playing Ayiti. It is an example of a youth-driven project that effectively uses the skills of both educators and web developers to make the students' creative efforts a learning tool - one that speaks the language of youth while raising consciousness about global issues.

[P4K] Wall Street Journal profiles games as real-life documentaries 

In a recent article "Iraq, the Videogame - War is hell. Should it be a game?", Wall Street Journal author Jamin Brophy-Warren writes on the upcoming game focusing on the Iraq War and the merits of serious games spotlighting real life events.

He also highlights other games, such as our own Ayiti, that effectively use serious subject matter and events as their base.

Videogames are not foreign to using real-life events as fodder. Many military games such as some of the popular Call of Duty and Medal of Honor series are based on past American campaigns during the various wars over the last century. The "serious games" movement, which often seeks to teach a particular message or idea, frequently draws on current events as well. MtvU, the college version of Viacom's MTV, launched a Web game called "Darfur is Dying" in 2006 to teach about the atrocities in the Sudan, and non-profit Global Kids and developer Gamelab created "Ayiti: The Cost of Life" that challenges players to keep a virtual family of five alive and healthy in Haiti.

You can read the full article here.