Kids Suggest To Adults What To Do For A Change!
KidCast For Peace; Solutions for a Better World, is harnessing the Internet for Social Change through classroom to classroom teleconferencing and creativity.
by Peter H. Rosen
"KidCast For Peace," a project of Creativity CafeȘ, is an opportunity for kids around the world to meet in real and virtual space to share and discuss solutions to personal and planetary problems [http://creativity.net/KidCast]. Both KidCast and Creativity Caf are projects of Hawaii Non profit Visionary Artists Resources Including Other Unique Services (V.A.R.I.O.U.S. Media, 501c3).
Our first "KidCast For Peace" multicast videoconference was conceived for a Creativity Caf installation at the "Children's World Peace Festival" on June 24, 1995. In 1998, KidCast For Peace was featured as a week-long community outreach project in the SigKids area of the SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Convention in Orlando, Florida; which took place July 22-29. The project is ongoing (14 broadcasts to date). The project has won several awards and involved classrooms from Hawaii, San Francisco, New York to Tokyo.
We invite teachers to discuss with kids the personal and planetary ills of our time, helping them to see from another's point of view, while sensitizing them to peaceful conflict resolution and exploration of other cultures' beliefs. This serves as preparation for a series of video-conferences, that invite kids (of all ages) around the world to gather and share their ideas and feelings for how to make this a happier, healthier, and more peaceful world? Communication modalities include spoken word, art creation, poetry writing, website construction, musical performances, online chats and more.
The KidCast for Peace concept was devised to stimulate creative thinking, problem solving and art creation across a wide variety of economically, geographically and/or physically challenged children and youth -- as well as those who are lucky enough to have access to computer technology at home, in school, or in other neighborhood Internet sites such as cyber cafes and Edutainment centers.
This reflection is based on KidCast For Peace originating from the week-long SIGGRAPH (1998), a prestigious computer graphics conference (Special Interest Group on GRAPHics, a subset of the Association for Computing Machinery; ACM), and two previous events. KidCast For Peace gives future leaders a loud voice in shaping the world they will inherit by connecting kids in the U.S.A., with their counterparts from Croatia to Saipan.
Time zone differences demanded kids in Saipan be on camera at 5 o'clock in the morning. Saipan's KidCast coordinator is to be commended, along with generous sponsors, organizations and a single teacher who was inspired to transport his school's entire computer lab to SIGGRAPH, roll up his sleeves and help host our trade show booth! These demonstrations of "pronoia" (http://creativity.net/pronoia.html) perfectly illustrate our cooperative theme. KidCasting overcame barriers of diverse geography, cultural beliefs and political agendas. A growing and passionate KidCast team is developing to evolve this new idea for school programming and global community enjoyment/upliftment.
A three month lead time is needed to find allies and complete necessary preparations in time for our Earth Day video conferences. Testing is KEY to success. Our suggestion to those who desired to participate is to duplicate the actual "broadcast" environment as much as possible ahead of time: A Maui class prepared with natural musical instruments was never heard; the public venue had not joined in testing. This made healing technology the focus, rather than kids gathering to heal us. Intelligibility improves by keeping the number and size of the video-chat windows small, speaking slowly and clearly. Full duplex transmission is needed to facilitate interactive music making.
Moderation was successfully handed off to coordinators at other KidCast nodes. Children shared smiles and peace signs; instantly overcoming language barriers! The excitement of meeting new global friends made focusing on our theme difficult for the uninitiated. Artwork held up in low light to poor resolution cameras proved the importance of pre-producing KidCast websites. Teachers did an excellent job preparing kids and facilitating their "solutions." Documentation by participants will finish the process and an official awards ceremony for "Best of KidCast" called the Arts for Social Chnage Awards is envisioned.
Our unprepared SIGGRAPH audience needed special handling. KidCast Tour Guides enrolled passers-by-on-the-fly; assisting them to understand the concept and participate by making art work or comments. Steep learning curves suggested a need for constrained software tool kits, demo sessions, and printed instruction booklets.
Making art and websites at any time is helpful. We request participants post art and documentation on a KidCast for Peace page they set up on a local server. During the broadcast, we refer to the posted artwork, as the creator holds up the original in front of the camera and discusses its meaning with those gathered in the video conference. Use KidCast Central Documentation (http://creativity.net/KidCast/kc12/press) to support local fundraising.
A fifty plus item production agenda was taxing for me. KidCast for Peace was spawned by a single email message in 1995, KidCasting now requires a staff of at least eight for preproduction alone. Unfortunately, I am those (twenty) eight people! While I'm delighted my labor of love has grown, it's beyond my desire to continue producing excellence without assistance! I will orchestrate this again no doubt. I will be very happy when a budget and permanent KidCast "staff" coalesce. Consider this a call for interested organizations and individuals to step forward with funding and management expertise to insure continued expansion for this evolutionary global community forum. We hope you will participate in future KidCasts for Peace? Please contact V.A.R.I.O.U.S. Media any time for more information, or contact project coordinator and founder Peter Rosen directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: a version of this story is published in the Sigtel Collection. The Special Interest Group for Telecommunications (SIG/Tel) of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). My project won honorable mention in their sponsored annual contest - the Online Learning Awards - to recognize educators who have created innovative telecomputing activities.
NOTE#2: There have been serveral video programs produced about this project that have aired on Maui Public Access. These programs will be made available for other outlets on Archive.org . Inquiries are welcome. Please see extensive audio and video documentation at: http://creativity.net/KidCast/ in our Gallery of Solutions.
This is for your information:
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Date: Wed, 29 Apr 1998 To: "R.W. 'Buddy' Burniske" <email@example.com>
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Creativity Cafe)
Subject: 1998 SIG/Tel Awards- ROSEN's Submission; KidCast For Peace
*** 1998 SIG/Tel Online Learning Awards Submission Form ***
Title of Project: "KidCast For Peace; Solutions For A Better World"
Author's Name: Peter H. Rosen
Name(s) of other contributing author(s):
School/Campus Name: Creativity Cafe; a "New School For the Next Millennium"
School/Campus Address: 2263 Sacrament St., #2, San Francisco, CA 94115 Country: USA
E-mail address: email@example.com
Facsimile #: 808.879.2485
URL for Project website (if applicable): http://creativity.net/kidcast2.html
Telephone Number (School/Campus): 415.776.0821
Telephone Number (Home - optional): 808.573.3943
[Entry limited to 1000 words from here to end of template.]
1. Title of Project: "KidCast For Peace; Solutions For A Better World"
2. Brief Summary of Project: This project is an opportunity for kids of all ages around the world, to meet in real and virtual space to share and discuss solutions to personal and planetary problems. Our first "KidCast For Peace" multicast was conceived for the Creativity Cafe(R) installation at the "Children's World Peace Festival," June 24, 1995. We have just completed our sixth KidCast; April 22, 1998. KidCast For Peace was selected to be featured as a community outreach project in the SigKids area of this Summer's Siggraph Convention in Orlando, Florida; and will take place July 22-23, 1998. The project is ongoing.
We invite teachers to discuss with kids, the personal and planetary ills of our time, problem solving, seeing from another's point of view, self-esteem, conflict resolution and exploration of other cultures' beliefs. This, in preparation for a Internet videoconference inviting kids around the world to gather and share their ideas and feelings for how to make this a happier, healthier, safer and more peaceful world. Communication modalities include spoken word, art creation, poetry and writing, web site and VRML world building, interactive musical performances, chats and more.
The KidCast concept was devised to stimulate creative thinking, problem solving and art creation across a wide variety of economically, geographically and/or physically challenged children and youth, as well as those who are lucky enough to have access to computer technology at home, in school, or in other neighborhood Internet connected sites such as cyber cafes.
3. Objectives: To give children a sense of self esteem. To teach not only how to use traditional and digital art tools to express themselves, but how to make a lasting contribution to the unfoldment of a healthy and peaceful world. They will learn to see through another's eyes, and be exposed to many different cultures. The project will demonstrate kids creativity and make their voices heard; they are the leaders of tomorrow. This project gives them a loud voice; that they may help shape the world they will inherit.
4. Necessary Telecommunications Resources (Hardware/software) : A computer with iVisit videoconferencing software and a Connectix (or other) video camera, at least 28.8 KB modem connection to the Internet.
5. Role of Telecommunications/Telecollaboration in the Project: It is now possible to connect kids everywhere and overcome/erase boundaries of thought, race, color, religion, state and country lines. These artificial barriers to love and friendship are dissolved; providing a clearer and more honest world view and connection between a global community of kids; afforded by the use of today's technology.
6. Curriculum Area(s) Involved: Social studies, fine art, science, physics, computing, peace studies, expressive arts, personal growth, ecology.
7. Grade Levels/Age Groups Targeted: K-12 and youth
8. Planning Requirements & Procedures: A lead time of 3 months is recommended, however as little as a two week notice would enable preparation and participation. Procedures are spelled out online at: http://creativity.net/CUkid.html.
9. Print Materials Needed: none
10. Class Management Strategies/Required Activities: Discussion of KidCast objectives, making fine art and Natural Musical Instruments for display, performance and documentation on a web site the kids construct. Attendance in our videoconference(s).
11. Suggested Class Time & Project Duration (# of weeks) : One month. Participation is dependent upon time zone coordination with other videoconference participants, arranged in advance (with drop-in possible). The KidCast Videoconference occurs at least three times yearly.
12. Method(s) for Evaluating Student Achievement of Objectives: If the class (kid at home, etc.) shows up on the CU-SeeMe reflector and interacts with the project moderator they have succeeded. If they are prepared with art, a web site built from this art, and/or have made and play natural musical instruments in our online gathering, they have also succeeded and are eligible to win software awarded from KidCast sponsors. Documentation grows and lives forever at: http://creativity.net/KidCast/kc6gallery.html, where assessment of each KidCast is also reported (or linked to).