A young friend of mine, Claire (age 16), loves film/movie making has been trying out some new skills on a virtual school site called "skoolabarate".
Me: So, Claire, how does it work?
Claire:the company that make the site is called, "Second Life," and they have created a teen environment for schools called "Skoolabrate." This is a virtual world where you can meet teens from all around the world from other schools and you can work together on projects, such as making movies.
Me:Can you do this at home, or is it only through your school?
Claire:You can go on it (the site) at home, but you have to get involved through the school to make sure you are approved entry.It's secure as any school site, because it is part of school. Only teachers that have been approved are allowed on it- those teaches are the only adults."
Me:So what have you done on this site?
Claire:Lots! For example, I have created machinimas.A machinimas is an online virtual movie, which we make as a team with students from several countries. There are also human rights projects where you learn about human rights, and then create a project on a specific topic. We did one called Tapestry, where you have images of different human rights events and wrote about these events on the back of the Tapestry, which is like a big wall.
Me:What do you get out of doing this virtual school work?
Claire:You get to meet and collaborate with loads of people that normally you would never get to meet. And while making a machinima you can share your experince of what life is like in your country. I met a girl from Chile who was studying English and because I am from England we've been talking and keeping in touch. This has helped her improve her English and I've started learning Spanish from her; and who knows, out of our working together on new techniques and skills we may just have a film to show the world....or at least the other teens connected to 'Second Life'.
If you are interested in the future of global education, check out Claire's favourite site in the link above and see some of the other projects teens are developing today.