“Can I have more time on the computer?” “Just ten more minutes please?!” This question is frequently asked at my library in regards to using the virtual world of Teen Second Life. Teens themselves are the ones that marketed this technology to each other in the library. It started off with one teen using the program to teach peers around the world how to speak Spanish.

The point I want to make about telling this is not about TSL in particular. But, I want to makea point about introducing technology and supporting the access of it so that the teens who probably would not have picked up on it otherwise, because the places they come in contact with might not have it available, know that it exists.

What other technologies have we as libraries been able to support in ways that other places haven’t? What skills are teens learning by allowing teens to use various technologies? How can we as organizations support the power of viral marketing, from our patrons, to grow a program?

It’s great to watch interest unfold and discover the lessons of introducing skills and programs that originally might have seemed impossible to start.

On Tuesday, August 5, at approximately 11am EST, Marc Aronson is going to participate in a live stream to talk about his book Race: A History Beyond Black and White and about how and why he is bringing it into a virtual world. Participants can watch, hear, and interact, via text chat, with Marc and Kevin Jarrett, faculty in the Graduate School of Education at Walden University. You do not need an account to watch and listen but you will need to sign up for a free one if you want your teens to be able to participate in the chat. The session will also be recorded so that it can be accessed at a later date.

Millennials have a high rate of volunteerism and are said to contribute to their communities in ways that help the greater good. That’s why the Dream It Do It (DIDI) project might be a great opportunity for libraries to connect with teens. Global Kids, an organization in New York City that works with youth in a variety of ways including exploring digital media, have a partnership with Youth Venture and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to work in Teen Second Life with teens to launch a venture and be changemakers in their communities. Read More →

Many librarians are probably familiar with designing programs that build developmental assets. We help build youth assets like leadership, helping others, and succeeding in school so that there is less of a chance that teens will make destructive choices such as vandalism and drugs.

You may even have heard of asset building in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMORPGs) and Multi User Virtual Environments (MUVEs) such as World of Warcraft, Entropia Universe, Teen Second Life and more. This article in the May Harvard Business Review, Leadership’s Online Labs, talks about how real world transference can occur as a result of game play – from being leaders in online games to being leaders in the work world. Read More →

Well, Its been a while since myself or Kelly Czarnecki blogged for YALSA about Eye4You Alliance. Over the last few weeks, Teen Second Life Resident Bubby Boucher has been hosting short interviews with Zombie Pye the FurNation Teen Grid (TG) founder and other TG Residents. Eye4You Alliance provides the land to The Epic Report and helps with the publishing. The shows where filmed and edited by the Teen Second Life Approved Adult and Eye4You Alliance educator Majenna Jewel. We have three episodes online and are waiting to do more. The shows are around 3-5 minutes long and are available on Blip.tv and iTunes.

Show Links:

Please leave feedback and check our blog for more all the up to date news on Eye4You Alliance Island – http://eye4youalliance.info/

Posted By Storm Basiat

When I read in the New York Times about the survey that “Finds Teenagers Ignorant of Basic History and Literature Questions,” I couldn’t help but think what their knowledge would be like if they learned about those subjects while in an immersive environment. In January 2008, the Land of Lincoln island on Teen Second Life came into existence as a result of a vision from the Alliance Library System. Even though the title is about Lincoln, the focus is a bit broader, covering the 1850’s and 1860’s. Right now it is a wild west theme. Teens are designing structures such as a gold mine and bank, objects including horses and soon clothes from the time period. It’s not simply the fact that being in an immersive environment might make information stick, it’s because of the way knowledge can be shared and collaborations take place. Teens that build might rely on another teen to do the research, add the computer programming language to make the horse move, design a sign for the stable. All of those things engage the teens because they are working on this together-sharing their previously formed knowledge and learning new information as a result of working together.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki