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February 2009
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April 2009

Do Something Good: Show Support for Indie Music Artists!

Christopher Dallman, an artist who has been featured on The Highway (aka @thehighwaygirl), has a special offer that I thought I'd pass along.

In an effort to raise money to produce and launch his next album, you can purchase Christopher’s first album, Race the Light, for only $5! But here's the catch: this deal is only available for one week! So hurry!

I'm a big fan of Christopher's music. He is a master at writing thought provoking lyrics and aligning them with beautiful melodies. And then there's that voice.....

Show your support for indie musicians like Christopher and take advantage of this special offer today! If you already have his amazing album, you can still help Christopher fund his new music by clicking here.

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MediaSnackers Interview with Youth Guru Josh Shipp

After my post about youth advice guru Josh Shipp, the fine folks over at MediaSnackers alerted me to a podcast they did with Josh. This is a great interview.

In this podcast Josh talks about the issues facing kids today and how he uses social media as way to reach out to help them work through their problems.

He also talks about the pros and cons of using different social platforms, digital strategy and social marketing. Thanks to MediaSnackers for making me aware of this excellent interview with Josh.

Time Stamps

0.00—0.18 Intro
0.19—1.49 Background
1.50—3.49 HeyJosh! and main issues youth are facing
3.50—6.36 Why Josh uses Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube etc
6.37—9.04 Facebook competition (winning group)
9.05—12.20 Changing issues for youth and HeyJosh! strategy
12.20—12.29 Thanks and outro

On a side note, Josh will be keynoting at the 2009 YPulse Youth Marketing Mashup in San Francisco. This is an excellent conference as well as a great way to stay current on youth trends and marketing---so register today! See you there!

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Hey Josh! Wants to Know: What's Your Story?

Josh Shipp has a pretty amazing story and really great advice on, well --just about everything! MTV calls "Hey! Josh" the Dear Abby for teens.

So go ahead, ask him a question, connect on MySpace or let Josh teach you how to create a budget. He can even hook you up with some crazy good laundry management skills or how to get along better with your parents.

Yep, he's cool like that.

Q: “Hey Josh, My relationship with my parents is awful. What can I do about it?”

I get this question a lot. It’s tough because your parents are supposed to be like these child-rearing wizards, right? But sometimes they aren’t. Nobody is perfect. So no parent is perfect.

Your relationship with your parents will be the longest lasting relationship in your life. You can deal with the problems now, or the problems will deal with you later. And remember, the relationship doesn’t have to be perfect but it can always be better.

Behold, my next installment of knowledge. Enjoy & Forward it to whoever you think needs to hear this message.

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NASA is Developing MMO in Effort to Boost STEM Education

When it comes to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), American kids are falling behind other kids in countries. There are lots of organizations--from ExxonMobil to the National Science Digital Library (NSDL)--are working hard to reverse this trend and get more kids into a science education track.

For example, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has a STEM education initiative for teachers and they provide an array of professional development resources (many for free) for teachers over on their online Learning Center.

STEM education--for both students and teachers--is at the core of President Obama's educational reform package. These are all great programs and let's face it, when it comes to STEM education programs, the more the merrier.

View more presentations from ashwinl.

NASA, who has a vested interest in having a steady flow of qualified people to develop our national space programs, is ready to embark on a new and bold plan to get America's youth--from elementary school to higher education--interested in space exploration.

Their secret weapon? A virtual world build around a mission to Mars.

In an effort to encourage more kids to pursue science careers, NASA has created a Learning Technologies Project Office (LPTO) and partnered with three video game producers to create, Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond.

According to NASA:

The game will enable participants to learn and be tested on real skills through single-player and team-based missions based on real NASA technologies, such as the Hubble Space Telescope.

In addition, players will interact with NASA digital assets, such as hyper-realistic digital renderings of Mars rovers and telescope images taken of and from space.

The level at which users participate in these missions will depend on age and education, among other factors. So, while the game promises to have a big impact on higher education, it will also be geared toward students as young as 13 who can participate at a level suited to their experience."

Today's kids are savvy and have lots of choices when it comes to virtual worlds. If the Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond doesn't feel authentic, they won't use it. So it's really great to see that NASA had the foresight to consult and collaborate with experts from the MMO/virtual world community to develop this project.

Given how much Gen Y love video games and virtual worlds, this type of hands-on, project based learning activity might just be the thing to get more kids interested in science.

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Education Scholarships, Grants & Financial Aid Resources

Hispanic students:

African American students:

Educational Administrators:

Education doctoral students:

Prospective teachers:

MFT students:

Psychology students:

Scholarship search websites:

The College Board

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UK Students May Be Required to Master Twitter, Wikipedia & Podcasting

According to a story in today's Guardian, a UK school curriculum reform commission has proposed that primary students should be required to become proficient in web-based and digital tools like Twitter, Wikipedia, blogging and podcasting.

Here's more on the proposed curriculum changes:

"Children will no longer have to study the Victorians or the second world war under proposals to overhaul the primary school curriculum, the Guardian has learned.

However, the draft plans will require children to master Twitter and Wikipedia and give teachers far more freedom to decide what youngsters should be concentrating on in classes.

The proposed curriculum, which would mark the biggest change to primary schooling in a decade, strips away hundreds of specifications about the scientific, geographical and historical knowledge pupils must accumulate before they are 11 to allow schools greater flexibility in what they teach.

The proposal would require children to leave primary school familiar with blogging, podcasts, Wikipedia and Twitter as sources of information and forms of communication. They must gain "fluency" in handwriting and keyboard skills, and learn how to use a spellchecker alongside how to spell."

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Report: Gen Y Wants TV to Get More Social from Park Associates found that over one-fourth of broadband users ages 18-24 are interested in having social media features integrated on their TV.

The report,
Social Media & User-Generated Content, found that  multiplayer gaming, in-program chat, and “most watched” lists were among the most desired social extensions sought out by Gen Y respondents.

This should come as welcome news to companies like Yahoo!, Microsoft, Intel, Amazon and Netflix--all of who are actively seeking ways to push the web--and presumably our social networks--into our living rooms and television sets.

This research also dovetails with other research finding that Gen Y doesn't watch TV and when they do, they
prefer to watch programming or access content on their own terms and time line. And given their

Other highlights from the Parks Report:

  • Younger consumers appetite for social experiences don’t end on the computer screen, but are enhanced via their access on TVs and mobile phones;
  • This expansion of social media has implications for service providers, advertisers, and CE manufacturers as well as the networking sites;
  • 23% of U.S. broadband households want to view content from sites like YouTube and Flickr on their TVs.
  • Forecasts 95 million social networking users by 2013.

What's next? Facebook or Twitter on your TV? Never say never, eh?

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Nickelodeon Virtual Worlds Group Summer Internships 2009

I ran across this pretty cool internship with the Nickelodeon Kids & Family Virtual Worlds Group. Looks like it's a pretty exciting time to be at Nickelodeon.

This looks like a great opportunity for a college student interested in getting a foot in the door of social media, virtual worlds or youth media & marketing.

Here's the scoop:

Are you into gaming & surfing the web? Do you have an online avatar? Do you have a favorite MMORG? Even if you had to look up that last one, we might be looking for you!

Nickelodeon and MTVN are currently seeking motivated interns looking for hands-on experience in the entertainment and gaming industry!

Click here to learn more about this opportunity.

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Educational Game for Microsoft Surface

UK educational software company RM has released a demo of their game Finguistics. What makes this so interesting is that this educational game is being designed to work on the Microsoft Surface platform. 

As you can see in the video, these kids are actively engaged and probably don't even realize that they have formed a community of practice, started to exchange information and learn from each other.

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Global Youth: U.S. Hispanic and Latin American Youth Trends

  • A 2008 report by the Pew Hispanic Center forecast that "the Latino population, already the nation's largest minority group, will triple in size and will account for most of the nation's population growth from 2005 through 2050. Hispanics will make up 29% of the U.S. population in 2050, compared with 14% in 2005";
  • According to Internet World Stats, Latin America (28%) has the highest rate of Internet penetration. The world average is 23.5%;
  • The most wired Latin American countries are Brazil (67%), Mexico (23%) and Argentina (20%);
  • At the 2008 ad:tech Miami  Conference, Fabia Juliasz of ibope/NetRatings noted that Internet access in Latin America (Brazil 22%, Mexico 22%, Argentina 26%, and Chile 41%) continue to expand at a steady pace;
  • Research conducted by U.S.-based Bromley Communications finds that the Hispanic Latina is quickly replacing Anglo moms as the dominant consumer target from now to 2050;
  • Hispanic trends firm Packaged Facts reports that Gen-Y Hispanics (ages 18-29) Gen-X Hispanics (ages 30-44) are particularly influential, because they control more than 60% of all Hispanic buying power;
  • U.S. Hispanic mobile consumers have a subscriber growth rate two to three times that of the overall U.S. teen market;

  • Hispanic teens aged 12-17 represent 2.5 million subscribers. By the age of 15, penetration of wireless services among US Hispanic teens is 64% - by the age of 17, the penetration rate rises to 78%;

  • According to, 76% of young Hispanic voters preferred Obama, compared to 67% of the overall Hispanic vote. That marks a 14-point rise in young Hispanic support for the Democratic candidate since the previous election, and a 10-point improvement with the Hispanic population overall.

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Tweens Smoking Smarties: Is This a Trend?

I'm not sure if "smoking smarties" is actually a trend, but I've seen and heard quite a bit of media coverage on the subject the last couple of days and earlier today I overheard some jr. high school kids talking about trying it...the best way to describe "smoking smarties" is to take a look at this video.

I think Advertising-Age did a great summation of this "trend":

"In the latest example of a social-media world where any 10-year-old with a half-baked idea, your product and a cheap webcam can seek his or her 15 minutes of online fame, dozens of YouTubers -- mostly junior-high-school kids, it seems -- are posting videos of themselves and their friends crushing up the cellophane-wrapped, pressed-sugar candies, sucking the candy dust out and puffing it into the air in mock-smoking style.

Kids have been hip to the phenomenon for quite some time, apparently. Along with the dozens of how-to videos on YouTube, there are many MySpace mentions, a Facebook support group for "all you who are addicted to smoking Smarties," and countless bulletin boards and chat rooms full of smoking-Smarties confessions.

There is definitely a backlash as well, including comments rife with warnings and criticism about the stupidity of it. ("WTF?" is a very common comment.)"

So, for now, let's just put file this under 'so now you know', keep an eye on it and watch how it all pans out. Deal?

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Trend Watch: Boomers (Heart) the Internet Too

“The perception is that Americans over 50 only dabble on the internet, but we are finding that they are increasingly spending time online becoming involved in robust internet activities, such as online communities. In specific areas, there is often little difference in use of online technology between older users and some of the youngest users.”

-Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School for Communication


Last year a study conducted by the AARP and the Digital Futures Project found that the online behavior of older Americans (50+) is rapidly mirroring, and in some cases exceeding, that of younger Gen Y users.

And while that may be news to you, for David Weigelt and Jonathan Boehman, it's the cornerstone of their business and the focus of their new book Dot Boom: Marketing to the Baby Boomers Through Meaningful Online Engagement.

Weigelt and Boehman are the co-founders of Immersion Active, a marketing agency focused on the senior and baby boomer markets. In their new book, they share their years of experience and explained how marketers can effectively use the web to reach and engage with boomers online.

And despite the conventional wisdom that the internet is a hang out for those (so called) "digital natives," the authors contend that the boomer generation is deeply engaged with everything the Internet has to offer — they email, use search engines, shop, research, download…but when it comes to channels like social media, they can be a bit more reticent to dip their toes in the social web.

But live without the web? No way! Watch and listen to what happened when Immersion Active asked boomers what they would do without the Internet.

So watch out Gen Y--boomers and seniors are web savvy too and before long you might be getting a Facebook friend request from your grandma or grandpa (which might also be a good thing to remember before you share too much info online)!

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Henry Jenkins on Kids, Video Games, Education Reform & Learning

Here’s a clip from SXSW 2009 on YouTube where Henry Jenkins, Professor at MIT (and soon USC) and author of Convergence Culture, is interviewed by The Guardian about learning and video games. Dr. Jenkins further asserts that every game has an online community and it’s there where people start to trade information and learn from each other.

Henry also argues that there is "a learning ecology that takes place outside of the classroom and that schools cut themselves off from this learning by blocking games and YouTube - leaving students disconnected with the best ways of learning. This hinders students from becoming technically literate and be prepared for the future." [via]

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Mozilla, Peer 2 Peer University & Creative Commons Launch OER Program for Educators

The Mozilla Foundation, in collaboration with ccLearn/Creative Commons and the Peer 2 Peer University, launches a practical online seminar on open education.

This six week course is targeted at educators who will gain basic skills in open licensing, open technology, and open pedagogy; work on prototypes of innovative open education projects; and get input from some of the world leading innovators along the way.

The course will kick-off with a web-seminar on Thursday 2 April 2009 and run for 6 weeks.

Weekly web seminars introduce new topics ranging from content licensing to the latest open technologies and peer assessment practices.

The course is targeted at educators who want to help shape the open education future. Participants should have some knowledge of web technologies, or open content licensing, or open pedagogy (or all three), but don't need to be experts.

You can learn more about the course by clicking here.

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Lifecasting: Real or Fiction?

I ran across this video on Current TV the other day and it really got me thinking about the social web. I don't want to give too much away until you've had a chance to watch the video, but I think it drives home an important issue: how do you know what your "friends" are tweeting/blogging/vlogging is actually true?

As I was mulling this over in my noggin, I ran across a great post on David Armano's blog (side note: Dave is one of my fave Tweeps. His Tweet Stream is always full of great insight, observations & links, you can follow him @armano) that did a brilliant job of analyzing and explaining some of the pitfalls of the social web phenomenon.

Here's a snippet from David's post, Do You:

"Imagine someone comes up to you at a cocktail party. And they're wearing a mask—while everyone else isn't. You don't know much about that person because they're not really telling you a great deal about themselves.

How much would you tell them about yourself in return? How much would you trust them? How much do you really know about them?  Yet online, we can be anyone we want to be. A fictional character, a caricature or invented identity. We can be anonymous—say whatever we want about virtually anyone. We're empowered to be whoever we want whenever we want to.

The digital pen is indeed mightier than the sword."

We all know about Lonely Girl 15 and the countless other number of web-based hoaxes. We know that we didn't inherit money from a rich uncle in Nigeria. We know that Bill Gates isn't going to pay us to use his software. And the list goes on and on.

But when it comes to lifecasting, I think we tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. We forget. As more and more people join social networks, and no it's not just kids, this is going to be an increasingly important issue.

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