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tech guide number three

teen tech week 2008

Virtual Worlds

What Are Virtual Worlds?

A virtual world allows opportunities for collaboration, exploration, and role-playing in a simulated environment. They can be used for: · learning · buildingdevelopmentalassets · developingliteracyandleadershipskills · gaming · creativeexpression · networking · integratingsocialnetworkingtools Though they may have different purposes, all virtual worlds have: · Shared space ­ many users may participate simultaneously · A graphic interface ­ either 2D or 3D · Immediacy­interactionstakeplaceinrealtime · Interactivity ­ users may learn, create, do, or build · Persistence ­ the world exists whether the user is logged on · Socialization and community ­ the world allows and encourages the formation of social groups (from: For more information on what are virtual worlds and theirhistory,checkouttheVirtualWorldsTimeline:www. Real Life (RL): Objects and people in the physical world. Social Acronyms: Expressions for longer phrases (lol for laughingoutloud,orafkforawayfromkeyboard).The Internet Slang Dictionary and Translator allows for searching of terms: Formoretermsyoushouldknow,checkout"Avatars andBeyond:BuildingVirtualCommunitieswithTeensin Libraries."Braun,LindaW.(2007,August).e-VOYA. http://

Why Do Librarians Need To Know About Virtual Worlds?

In2007,TheLibraryof Congressannouncedthelarge fundingof aprojectto"exploretheissueof digital preservation of video games and virtual worlds. . . .for the sakeof savingournation'sheritage."Thelibrary'sinterest invirtualworlds,speakstotheimportanceof justhow muchapartof people'scultureitis.( pr/2007/07-156.html) TheHorizonReport,whichlooksatemerging technologies, and is co-published by the New Media Consortium (NMC) ( and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) (, statedin2007;"thatvirtualworldsaregrowinginpopularity becausetheycombinemanyof theelementsthatmakeWeb 2.0reallyexciting:socialnetworking;theabilitytosharerich mediaseamlessly;theabilitytoconnectwithfriends;afeeling of presence;andaconnectiontothecommunity." Buildingcommunitiesthroughsocialnetworkingand exploringculturalobjectssoundsexactlyliketherolemany libraries are already involved in as part of their services. Whilenotallof ourlibraryusersmightbeusingvirtual worlds, it might be important to understand how we can use virtual worlds not only as a resource to build meaningful relationships with this media rather than it just being a place forconsumerismbutalsoworkinmakingtheworldsthatare popular with our users accessible at the library. Virtualworldscanhelpbuilddevelopmentalassets.Most librarians want to encourage positive experiences for youth so that they can grow up as successful and caring adults. The Search Institute ( has developed a list of assets. Creating experiences with virtual worlds for youth, can address many of these assets. For example, youth can be seen as resources when they show their peersandotheradultshowtoperformatasksuchasdesign clothes for their avatar. Virtualworldscanalsohelp buildskillsneededbyemployers such as communication with different formats, negotiation,

Terms You Should Know:

Avatar: Graphical representation of yourself--could be a male, female, animal, robot, or even a plate of spaghetti. Action figures are a precursor of avatars. Friending: Connecting with someone so that you can see when they are online and can instant message (IM) and interact with them. A friend list is a list of people you have opted to connect with. Griefing: A player who harasses another, similar to encounteringabully.Behaviormightincludeblockingapath, hurling insults, or ganging up on another player. MMORPG: Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.Virtualgameworldinwhichusersassumetheroleof fictionalcharactersandworktogetherorseparatelytodevelop their characters and participate in game fantasy-themed play. Examples include: Dungeons and Dragons online (www.ddo. com) or Habbo Hotel ( MUVE: Multi-UserVirtualEnvironmentthatarenot necessarily game specific. Examples include: There (www. or Neverwinter Nights (

teen tech week 2008 andleadership.Helpingtheseskillsusedinvirtualworldsto translate to real life, might be a great role for librarians to play inworkingwithteens. skillstodesignweaponryorfurniture,andcontributeand develop fan sites. Google Earth ( Ages: All. System requirements: Download required. A model of the planet from satellite photos that you can add onto such as creating more buildings, through Google SketchUp.SchoolLibraryJournal(2007,April)publisheda great article on ways to integrate Google Earth with learning : Habbo Hotel ( of Service: required."Thisbusysiteusesahotelmetaphorasitstheme completewitha"lobby"gatewayandprivate`guestrooms.'" In terms of the amount of users per month, this site has over 7.5millionwhichindicatesthisisverypopular.SingerJordin SparksandJesseHartaretwoof manycelebritiesthathave beentoHabbo.Residentsof Habbocanaskthemquestions inrealtime-goodskillstopracticeforaninterview.Frequent room design competitions might resonate with those that personalizetheirMySpacepages.Whatagreatwaytoreward self-expression!Whatmighttheirownlibraryspacelooklike? Forums board: The River City Project ( rivercityproject).Grades:6-9.TermsofService:http://tinyurl. com/2fxey3. System requirements: Installrequired."AMulti-UserVirtualEnvironmentfor LearningScientificInquiryand21stCenturySkills."Students workwitheachotherbyinterviewingandreadingdocuments including newspapers and photographs to find a cure for a diseasethathitthis19thcenturytown.Possiblyapartnership with a librarian and school to engage students. Virtual MTV ( of Service: System requirements: theprograms.UserscaninteractwithMTVshowstarsand create content such as music, movies, and fashion design relatedtotheshow'scharacters.Workingwithyouthtotell stories by creating movies and other content is an important communicationandpresentationskilltohave.

How Librarians Are Using Virtual Worlds with Teens

Libraries all over the world are providing access to virtual worlds via their Internet connections such as Gaia Online (, There (,Whyville ( and RuneScape ( These are just a small example. ActiveWorlds ( In the American Library Association, Smart Libraries Newsletter(June2007),Tom Petersarticle,"Pre-TeenAvatarsonaLibraryQuest"talked abouttheVirginiaBeachPublicLibrarystartingaprojectwith ActiveWorlds,spearheadedbylibrarianCindyHart. Runescape ( Hutchinson Public Library inKansasorganizedaRunescapenightin2006.(www. Library Runescape teams were started by Chris Rippel with theCentralKansasLibrarySystemin2006.(www.ckls. org/~crippel/runescape/teams.html) Teen Second Life (TSL) ( Suffern MiddleSchoolinNewYork,ownsspaceonTSLcalled islands or sims ( Their entire eighth grade has various classes on the islands. The venture is led by their school media specialist. TheTopekaandShawneeCountyPublicLibraryin Kansas partnered with Hope Street Charter School to use their island as a platform to teach science classes and more with students ( ThePublicLibraryof Charlotte&MecklenburgCounty in Charlotte, North Carolina, (http://eye4youalliance. owns an island where they partner with educators and teens from around the world to create educational experiences such as a college fair. Hundreds of librariansareinvolvedinSecondLife(18andolder)andmany of thosevolunteersserveyouthintheir`reallives'. Whyville (,the AllianceLibrarySystemgaveabookdiscussiontotweensand teens of Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader to residents. World of Warcraft (WoW) ( The BloomingtonPublicLibraryinIllinoisformeda`libraryguild' withteens.Theyworkedtogetherasateaminbattleand talkedaboutlibraryservices.

Safety and Virtual Worlds

Whilethisisn'tacomprehensivelist,it'sastartingpointwhen workingwithteensandoradultsforhelpingteensstaysaferin virtual worlds. · · · · Whatistheminimumageneededtobeableto becomeamemberof thevirtualworld? Whatkindof personalinformationisbeingaskedto give when signing up and what is being done with this info.bythecompany? Whatisthecompany'sTermof Service(TOS)that youareagreeingtowhensigningup? Are photos, text chat, and forums moderated and to whatextent?

Other Examples of Virtual Worlds for Teens

Entropia Universe ( older. Terms of Service: System requirements: Install required. Users can participate in activities such as hunting, mining, owning land, a store, designing and selling creations for their avatar, and more. Librarians might want to develop a peer grouptohelpotherteensgetstarted;readingthemap,develop

teen tech week 2008 Canstaff becontactedreadily? If being bullied or griefed in a virtual world, how can onedefendthemselvesandreporttheincident? · Whatkindof ads,if anyarepartof thevirtual experience?Whatcanonedotoignorethem? · Does your username or profile reveal anything about yourself youwouldn'twanteveryonetoknow? · Can you set up a private game or space within the world to control your environment and who is allowedin? Whatarerelatedtoolsandconceptsinvirtualworldsthat librariesmightalreadyoffertoteensasservicesorprograms? · English as a Second Language. There are many opportunities to practice English in a virtual world not only through text communication but voice as well. Virtualreference.Createanavatarandpublicize whenyou'llbeinthevirtualworld.Teensmightfeel more comfortable accessing information through the virtual world rather than in person. Supportingweb2.0technologies.Blogfromwithin the virtual world. Start a conversation on the forums. Supportingthecurriculum.Virtualworldsaregreat placesforsimulationstotakeplace,andconceptsof math, science, and language to be integrated with activities. Film festivals. The art of shooting film within a 3D environmentiscalledmachinima.Teenscanmake theirownmoviesbyrecordingtheactivitythattakes place in the virtual world and creating the material it into a film. Fashion shows. Teens can design digital fashions using Photoshop or Gimp (free) and then organize an online fashion show. Fashion design is a popular past time in some virtual worlds. Gaming. There are many puzzles and games within virtual worlds or the world itself might be a game. · · Bell,Lori,Peters,Tom,andPope,Kitty."EnjoyingYourFirst Life?WhyNotAddaSecond?DevelopingLibraryServicesin SecondLife."(2006).SeriousGamesSource.http://tinyurl. com/r6ruv. Czarnecki,Kelly."TeenSecondLife:LibraryServicesin a3DWorld.SirsiDynixInstitute."(2007,May)www. Hancock,Hugh.Machinima for Dummies.(2007).Wiley. Hawkins,DonaldT.&BarbaraBrynko."Gaming:TheNext HotTechnologyforLibraries?"(2006,June).Information Today, 23(6),1,51. Hinton,Andrew."WeLiveHere:Games,ThirdPlacesand theInformationArchitectureof theFuture."(2006August/ September). asis&t: The Information Society for the Information Age. New Media Consortium (NMC) and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative(ELI),HorizonReportProjectWiki2008.http:// Olsen,Stephanie."WhatKidsLearninVirtualWorlds." (2007,November).Cnet. Perkins,RossandArreguin,Cathy."Real-LifeMigrantson theMUVE:Storiesof VirtualTransitions."(2007,May) Rymaszewski,Michael(2007).Second Life: The Official Guide. SanFrancisco:JohnWiley. Salen,Katie,ed.(2008)."TheEcologyof Games:Connecting Youth,Games,andLearning."MITPressJournal.www. TeenGamingInterestGroupthroughYALSA.http://wikis. Group. Thomas,Angela(2007).Youth Online: Identity and Literacy in the Digital Age. Peter Lang Publishing. VirtualCommunitiesandLibrariesMemberInitiativeGroup through ALA. Recording of the first meeting from ALA Warlick,David.(2005,Mar/Apr)"TheNewLiteracy." [email protected] Magazine. browse/article.jsp?id=263. Documentdraft:January2008. Tocontributeonlinetothisdocument,visittheYALSA wikiat: Worlds:_A_Teen_Tech_Week_Guide


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For More Information

EDUCAUSE."7ThingsYouShouldKnowAboutVirtual Worlds."(June2006) ELI7015.pdf. Abram,Stephen."AtSecondLife,InfoProsWillFind MuchToSee,Do,Learn,PlayWith,TryOut."(April2007). Information Outlook. 11(4),34-36. Barnes,Brooks."WebPlaygroundsof theVeryYoung." (December2007). New York Times.



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