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.

Global Kids (GK) gave a great presentation on new media literacies (Henry Jenkins) and applying them to activities in Teen Second Life. One example they cited was an outdated textbook on dinosaurs that was used to teach facts that in the long run probably didn’t help youth to understand dinosaurs any better. They compared that to an activity called I Dig Tanzania! where they partnered with the Field Museum in Chicago and field workers in Tanzania to give kids a chance to be virtual paleontologists.

GK also released over 160 lessons, on their site Rezed, for teachers, educators, librarians, etc. The lessons teach basic Second Life skills and then how to apply them to literature, history, science and more. You can view the lessons. If Second Life is out of the question for your library or school, the lessons are still applicable when using digital media. Think about ways that they might apply to your situation.

In case you can’t make it to Tampa this weekend, a conference is happening inworld-in Second Life. Sign up for a free account and listen in and interact. Live streaming of the Tampa sessions are also occurring inworld.

By the way, if you want to learn more about Second Life, ISTE and AASL have organized a series of workshops starting this month, especially created for librarians. The first one is on Tuesday, Sept. 9. For more information visit the Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries and Information Services post. Workshops will take place in Second Life on ALA’s island.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

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