Virtual Literary Festival

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usLast weekend, the first literary festival was held in Teen Second Life. Authors Barry Lyga and Marc Aronson communicated with the teens through text chat via their avatars. Teens set up the entire event from the chairs the audience would sit on to watch the video inworld Barry had about Fanboy and Goth Girl to the hat that people could enter their names by clicking so that they could be eligible to win a book by Marc or Barry. The oldest Mock Printz book club was there as well from the Eva Perry Library in North Carolina. They communicated via voice and text chat about the Printz club with teens from all over the world-which was great because many teens had not heard of the Printz award before. The festival was made possible through a partnership with TeachingBooks.net, (they put together podcasts and information from authors for a display), Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries and Information Services, and the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County as well as volunteer librarians, educators, and a publisher on the island. There is some video from the event that will be posted soon.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Social Technologies-direct benefits to school and work

In the January/Februrary 2008 issue of American Libraries, Meredith Farkas in What Friends Are For writes about social technologies such as Twitter and Facebook which can be used as professional development tools. Farkas’ concluding paragraph is, “The next time you see a colleague logged into Twitter or Facebook while at work, don’t assume he or she is playing on the job. Your co-worker may just be learning something that will benefit your library and its patrons.”

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Being on the island in Teen Second Life when I took this snapshot in the sandbox reminded me of the article. The teen with the virtual cup of coffee in front of the DNA structure he was creating said he was doing this to help him with his bio test for tomorrow in school. Of course. The next time a teen is on RuneScape or MySpace at the library, maybe they are using it to help with their school work. Maybe they would be interested in knowing how other teens use similar tools for professional development something directly tied to a homework assignment if they hadn’t thought if it that way before.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Virtual Literacy Festival

Next Saturday, from 10am-2pm PST, young adult authors Marc Aronson, Barry Lyga, and Carol Baldwin will be interacting as avatars with teens from all over the world on Teen Second Life. Exhibits put together with TeachingBooks.net will also be part of the festival. For more information on how to involve your teens, visit the Chicago Public Schools Dept. of Library and Information Services blog post.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

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

“You’ve Seen the Show, Now Be the Show”


There’s been several television shows on lately that are incorporating the 3D virtual world of Second Life including CSI-New York, the Office, and Gossip Girls’ Upper East Side. It’s great to see some of the possibilities for bringing stories to life in an interactive 3D environment. Teens could create their own avatars to look like one of their favorite (or least favorite) characters using a variety of programs, such as Gaia Online or Meez, not just Second Life. Teens could write a script for characters from Gossip Girl or their favorite book series and post on the forums board of Teen Second Life to see if someone might be interested in acting it out. Teens could create a MySpace page with their avatars based on a mystery and leave clues for readers to solve. They can publish film and snapshots to create a storyboard from their favorite virtual world here and share it with others. What else?

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Virtual College Fair

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us This is a college recruiter from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke that participated in the first annual college fair in Teen Second Life this weekend on Eye4You Alliance Island. There were over 170 unique visitors and traffic equaled 10,000 (which has to do with the amount of time each avatar spent on the island). Teens got to interact and listen to presentations about technology, careers, and human potential by organizations such as independent publishers, NASA, Amazon.com, Linden Lab, teen entrepreneurs and more. Recruiters from colleges were able to visit with teens individually and answer questions. Teen Second Life is a great way (and can be free!) for teens to network and get information they can’t always get in the classroom or even the library.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Virtual College Fair

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Teens on Eye4You, the virtual island in Teen Second Life, wanted information about colleges-filling out applications, acquiring financial aid, etc. This weekend, October 20-21, colleges from all over the world will interact with teens to provide information about careers and their college. If your teens sign up for a free account at teen.secondlife.com and teleport to the island, they can enjoy the fair as well. Speakers include representatives from NASA, Linden Lab, Amazon.com, Squirrelverse publishing and several other colleges.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Author Ishmael Beah Teen Second Life

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Ishmael Beah will be at my real life library this Thursday, October 18, at 7pmEST. Because he has agreed to be audio streamed into Teen Second Life, he can be at your library too. Your teens, 13-17, can log into a free account at: teen.secondlife.com. Create an avatar and search (at the bottom of their screen) for places. Type in the name of the island he will be speaking at which is Eye4You Alliance and teleport to the theatre to listen. (If you can’t find the theatre, you can hear the stream over the whole island). To hear the audio, make sure the volume is up on your computer, go to the top of your screen, click ‘edit’ and ‘preferences’ and make sure ‘play streaming music when available’ is checked. Global Kids Island, will be showing their machinima inspired by Ishmael before the audio stream. Your teens can watch that too by visiting Global Kids Island.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Banned Books Week

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usShare your celebrations for the freedom to read! On Eye4You Alliance Island in Teen Second Life, we have a pirate ship and are going to have a ‘Dress (your avatar) as Your Favorite Banned Book Character’ (thanks to librarian Jami Schwarzwalder for the idea). Librarians, teens, and educators will be on the ship throughout the week and we are working on creating book covers and information about bbw. See the press release from ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. Please share your celebrations and add them to the ilovelibraries interactive map: http://ilovelibraries.org/news/bbw/findevents.cfm!

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Avatars and Aborigines

Recently, I read the book, Mutant Message Down Under: Message From Forever by Marlo Morgan (Cliff Street Books 1998). which was the story of a woman who walked with the aboriginals in Australia and learned the wisdom of the tribes. Beatrice learns about names from her aborigninal friend.

“You can be called by any name you want. Your name is how you want the world to address you. It reminds you of any specific issue you are giving attention to on this portion of your spiritual path. My name, for instance, Benalal, meaning brown duck, was chosen because I have been too serious most of my life. There must be a balance between lessons and play. I admire the duck’s ability just to float for the fun of it…”

It reminds me of when teens have avatars. Whether it’s through Habbo Hotel, Whyville, or SecondLife, rather than facing a crisis of who their ‘real’ vs. ‘not real’ self is, I think they are creating a self based on their developmental stage. It’s a self that is about a specific issue they are giving attention to. When I read articles about teens who have avatars and that they must be identifying with something more fake then real, it makes me ask the question, what is real? who is defining what is real? Creating an avatar is a safe way to explore what issue teens are giving attention to at this moment.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki