Cross-Generational Voices on Digital Media and Society

Global Kids, Common Sense Media, and the GoodPlay Project have teamed up to present FOCUS. A multi-week web-bases set of online dialogues about digital life that is aimed to help put parents, teens, and teachers in touch with one another. Topics covered include privacy, identity, and several others. The discussions will take place April 13-May 4.’  Continue reading

Virtual Worlds Meeting F2F

This weekend, I’m in Tampa, attending the Second Life conference. I’ve already met a handful of librarians involved in Second Life (some I knew already, but didn’t know they were librarians). Jean Gardner with, the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, is working with community organizations and teens on their island, Oz, to simulate a geography project that has a real life impact on their town.

This conference follows right on the heels of the Virtual Worlds Expo: The Future of Media and Communication in LA. Check out Anne Collier’s post about it that gives a shout out to several school and public librarians involved in using virtual worlds. Continue reading

Professional Development Opportunity

Global Kids, based in New York, is offering a professional development workshop to get started in Second Life 101, January 22, from 10am-4pm, EST in New York. Registration here: http://gk-slpd.eventbrite.com/.

Global Kids are the leaders in Teen Second Life in terms of the funding they have received for their projects, and the programs and projects they are able to mobilize youth with. Check out some of their activities on their blog. Almost all of their activities translate into programs appropriate to offer at a library for youth as they are focused on a youth participation model and this is a great opportunity for continuous learning especially in a medium that is an effective learning space for teens.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Online Youth Victimization-Myths and Facts

Over a week ago, my coworker pointed out this article about child abuse and Second Life. There has been a lot of discussion about it on the SL education listservs. Barry Joseph, director of the online leadership program for Global Kids, on Teen Second Life said in regards to questions of managing sex, gambling, and griefing (harassing other players) “it’s our burden as first users in a new mass media. Being the first means we have the obligation, pleasure, and pain of having to advocate for the new medium and be the frontline dispelling myths.” What does this have to do with Teen Second Life? Knowing that such behaviors have no tolerance and will result in banning and that the alleged behavior in the article occurred on the Main Grid. Knowing that there are so many positive projects and partnerships going on in the Teen Grid. It is another place where librarians and educators can be to work with teens in innovative ways.

I am reminded by this discussion, Just the Facts About Online Youth Victimization Researchers Present Facts and Debunk Myths with panelists, Dr. David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against
Children Research Center, Dr. Michele Ybarra, president of Internet Solutions for Kids, Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist with Pew Internet & American Life Project, and danah boyd, researcher at the University of California at Berkeley. The transcript is definitely worth reading or the video worth watching as the speakers go deeper than the bandaid approaches to protecting teens online.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

My So-Called Virtual Life

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Anastasia Goodstein reports in this week’s BusinessWeek how and why teens are experimenting with their identity in virtual environments such as Teen Second Life and Meez.

Also, check out Mediasnackers podcast with Global Kids. They talk about bringing a youth development model to digital media, particularly Teen Second Life.

Is your library involved in a virtual world with teens? Consider adding it to the Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki Page or check YALSAs Teen Tech Week wiki.

btw, you might catch a glimpse of Santa at the Cybrary City opening tomorrow in Second Life at 2:30p PST, where librarians can showcase their local resources.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Positive Use of Social Networking #13 – Second Life

During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #13.

Second Life(SL) is a 3D virtual world for adults age 18 and over where one can create an avatar, interact with others, and design the world they want to live in. Over 100 universities and colleges are involved in SL to offer their students a learning experience through this world.

Teen Second Life is for teens, 13-17 and is separate from adults because of safety reasons. Teens can own land, run their own business, design clothes, create machinima, bring their favorite story scene to life through build and design skills, and learn about social issues such as child pornography and sex trafficking which was what GlobalKids did through their camp in Second Life this summer with teens. Schools such as Suffern Middle School in New York, is aligning curriculum standards for their 8th graders with Teen Second Life, and will have a presence to serve their students hopefully by next month.

The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in NC and the Alliance Library System in IL have announced a partnership last week to collaborate on library services for teens through Teen Second Life. The project will involve a collaboration with libraries and other youth serving organizations to reach teens where they are at and keep the library relevant to their needs. To find out what libraries are already doing on Second Life with adults, check out: www.infoisland.org Many YALSA members are already involved in Second Life with incredible and tremendous talent and are involved with the teen library project as well. The Alternative Teen Services blog links to Second Life under their ‘connect’ list.

While background checks are required for any adult working with teens on Second Life, if DOPA in its current form, had passed, teens at public and school libraries that are offering Second Life as a program, might be unable to access it or at least the rich world of communication tools that surround the virtual world such as blogs and wikis that foster collaboration and information for projects.

Developmental needs such as community support, motivation to learn, and cultural competence are perfect combinations to build upon through Second Life.

For more information on the library project, or to get involved, check out www.infoisland.org. To find out what other educators are doing in Second Life, go to the SimTeach wiki at: www.simteach.com.

It’s not too late to participate in Info Island’s open house going on this weekend in Second Life. Create an avatar and join the fun! Audio presentations will be archived on OPAL

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki