Second Life

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.

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!

Metanomics show showcasing Meeting Online stories 

If you didn't get a chance to check out last week's Metanomics episode that featured Marc Weiss, founder of Web Lab and creator of the PBS series P.O.V. and Global Kids own Barry Joseph. The show focused around people being able to share their stories online for Web Lab's latest project titled "Meeting Online", which will culminate in a HBO documentary focused on the best of these stories.

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We are happy to announce that Barry Joseph, director of the Online Leadership Program at Global Kids, will be appearing on the Metanomics talk show in Second Life this Wednesday, April 7 starting at 3pm EST.

Barry will be appearing along with Marc Weiss, co-producer of the HBO documentary ‘Meeting Online’. Barry will talk about how Global Kids' programs are designed to address the need for young people to possess leadership skills and understand global issues to further success in the workplace and increase participation in the democratic process. He will describe our latest venture, The Edge Project, which supports the capacity of civic and cultural institutions to use new media as educational platforms.

For more information on watching this talk show in Second Life or from the web, see the Metanomics website.

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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.)

 

[In the Media] Playing la vida Ludic 

Chris Collins, who writes about exploring the metaverse as her avatar Fleep Tuque, wrote a recent post bringing to light lots of new examples of how living and playing the ludic life is becoming ubiquitous.

When Game Devs Engineer the Real World – You Brushed Your Teeth, +5 points!

...Alas, I’m still waiting for virtual worlds to vindicate me, but having gone through this combo-pity-scorn routine a few times, I’m not shaken by the current state of attitudes about virtual worlds, augmented reality (why would you want to look at DATA on top of the REAL WORLD on your PHONE, what’s wrong with you?!), or most of the other technologies I use that cause people to look at me askance and with wary eyes. (Twitter???? Whaaa???)

She uses Barry Joseph's keynote from SLedCC 2008 as her jumping off point to make her point and even coins the term Ludic Luddites for those that do not yet accept the ludic life shift.

[SL] The Power of Virtual Civics Education 

This week the MacArthur Spotlight blog featured an article written by mac Montandon titled Teens in Virtual Worlds Learn Civic Lessons That Are Anything But Dull which highlights some of our work in Teen Second Life as an example of an engaging way of learning civics.

High school kids from Washington, D.C., involved in the Witnessing History project, certainly appeared motivated by the immersive aspects of working in the virtual space of Teen Second Life. The project was produced in conjunction with Global Kids and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

It was there that a handful of students curated an exhibit where visitors assumed the role of reporters–replete with fedoras and notepads–to learn how bystanders reacted to the horrors of the 1938 Night of Broken Glass pogrom at the outset of the Holocaust.


Last Wednesday, November 18, Global Kids had the honor of helping produce the "Power of Youth Voice" public forum at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, PA.

For those that were not able to attend the simulcast or real life event, it has now been uploaded to Youtube by the MacArthur Foundation.

[SL] Farewell to Eye4You Alliance in TSL 

This past week saw the closing of a fellow long time organization running programs in TSL, Eye4You Alliance, which was run by the Charlotte Public Library

Through the years, there has been a lot of crossover between teens in our programs in Teen SL and those at Eye4You, and in fact I learned of it's closing from the prolific teen blogger Daniel Voyager, who took part in both GK Island and Eye4You.

We are sorry to see our friend's and collaborators leave this virtual worlds space and wish them luck with future projects.

They have end of project update on their site at http://eye4youalliance.youthtech.info/.