NPC 4/5/13 Featured Presentation: Social Change through Games, Virtual Worlds and Tech Innovation

Below is an edited transcript of the 4/5/13 NonProfit Commons in Second Life meeting, featuring Josephine Dorado (Josephine Junot in SL) talking on her recent work leading TechCamp international workshops and webinars for the US State Department on innovation, digital storytelling and leveraging games and virtual worlds for youth engagement.


Josephine Dorado is a social entrepreneur, strategist, producer, professor and Pilates instructor whose work focuses on innovation in hybrid online spaces. She was a Fulbright scholarship recipient and initiated the Kidz Connect program, which is a virtual cultural exchange program that connects youth internationally through creative collaboration and theatrical performance in virtual worlds. Josephine also received a MacArthur Foundation Award in Digital Media & Learning, and and continues to be involved with the Fulbright community as an officer of the Board of Directors in NY. She currently teaches at The New School and is the live events producer for This Spartan Life, a talk show inside the video game Halo. She balances her work in online spaces with her passion for teaching Pilates, combining a technology-infused life with a physical, embodied way of being.

Most recently, Josephine received the Selma Jeanne Cohen award for scholarly research in dance, recognizing her work using dance frameworks for online collaboration. Commissioned works include interdisciplinary productions for the ISEA and Romaeuropa Festivals as well as speaking engagements at SXSW, IgniteNYC, SIGGRAPH, PICNIC (Amsterdam), and IPZ (Istanbul). Her experience focuses on the convergence of physical with digital, arts with technology, and games with calls to action. She delights in architecting innovative transmedia experiences inspired by the collaborative methodologies behind games and theater. 


          Rhiannon Chatnoir: .. she is also an amazing friend/collaborator – start whenever your ready Josephine πŸ™‚

          Xon Emoto: Welcome Josephine:)

          Zinnia Zauber: Rah Josephine!

          Beth Ghostraven applauds

          Andy Evans: Compliments gratefully accepted


Josephine Junot: Thanks, Rhiannon! πŸ™‚ Thanks, all!

Hi, all! I know some of you here – nice to see you all! Aw thanks for the kind words πŸ™‚

As Rhiannon mentioned in the bio, I’m a social entrepreneur who’s been working with virtual worlds & virtual cultural exchange experiences for awhile now.

I initiated the Kidz Connect program in 2006, which is a virtual cultural exchange program that connected youth internationally through creative collaboration and theatrical performance in virtual worlds. 

We used Teen Second Life in our first rendition of the program. In the virtual world, they created a hybrid virtual city which reflected the real life cities in which they lived (for example, a virtual city with aspects of both New York and Amsterdam), and then they created a story which they performed together in this hybrid virtual city.

Students creatively explore their own histories, and through innovative approaches to identity exploration, such as avatar role-playing and other theater-based activities, students engage in cross-cultural learning and interaction, playing the game of constructing who they are and making a mixed reality performance based on their interactions.

So mixed reality, avatar roleplaying & collaborative performance were at the heart of this program. In our pilot program, participants connected and created with other students in New York and Amsterdam via video streaming and in Teen Second Life.

This is a screenshot of the first meeting in which the New York and Amsterdam students met each other inside Second Life. In this shot, you can see them watching the video stream from NY which is being broadcast into our virtual performance space inside Second Life.


          Frans Charming sees his alterego on the left.


Josephine Junot: heh – yes, Frans & Rhiannon were a big part of it – thx!

We also used other virtual worlds like MetaPlace (when it existed). AT the core of it, were ideals around ‘opening a window’ to another culture.

Lately, I & my collaborator Chris Burke have been working in Halo. We produce a talk show n Halo called This Spartan Life.


          Beth Ghostraven: What is Halo?

          LoriVonne Lustre: cool


Josephine Junot: Halo is a first-person shooter game (video game). 


          Rhiannon Chatnoir: and on the Xbox gaming platform – they would record the show in


Josephine Junot: We don’t use it as a shooter game tho – but as a social space for a talk show.  Yes, we record the show in Halo & post it as a webisode and also produce it as a live mixed reality show for conferences


          Tank Thibedeau (liltank.thibedeau): goes and researches how to record stuff from xbox

          Diantha Petrov: lol


Josephine Junot: Lately, I’ve been doing TechCamps, which are an initiative of the State Dept & Hillary Clinton, to assist civil society organizations worldwide by building their digital capacities

This is a shot from TechCamp Mumbai

They bring in trainers for different topics, and I focused on leveraging v-worlds & games for youth engagement


          Kali Pizzaro: excellent


Josephine Junot: In the shot, my session’s participants are showing off their ‘game plans’

based on Nicole Lazzaro’s game plan strategy – (4 Keys to Fun)

Next shot is of someone’s game plan: you think about what kind of game you want, what audience it’s intended for & what effect /social action you want from it (players, cause, change)


          Beth Ghostraven: sounds like Serious Games


Josephine Junot: yes, same principles

Each TechCamp is different, because you touch base with NGO execs & build a solution around them.

This shot is from a TechCamp Ukraine webinar we held in Google Hangout.


          Diantha Petrov: I love Google Hangout… such a useful tool


Josephine Junot: me too!

I had been to a previous TechCamp Ukraine in Kyiv, Donetsk, and Kharkiv and then we followed up with participants’ action plans thru the Google Hangout webinar

I think we’re coming up on time, aren’t we? So l’ll wrap up.

The idea is to inspire ideas & action plans at the TechCamps, then follow-up with participants through these virtual platforms.

ok, so I’ll pause here for questions.


          Sister (sister.abeyante): Question- did your TechCamps have a prerequisite skill level for participants? In other words, did participants have to be tech savvy before they could participate?


Josephine Junot: Nope, they are meant for NGO teams, teachers, social workers, etc of all skill levels. We give presentations first – on different topics like mapping, facebook, games, multi-platform journalism etc & then we hold sessions with the particpants to get an idea of how we can tailor solutions around them


          Tab Scott: How would you compare SL and then using Halo for your work?


Josephine Junot: Halo is quite different. It’s really about “re-purposing” Halo to make it a social talk show space. Not as customizable as SL, but the gain is that you attract gamers that are a totally different audience.


          Sister (sister.abeyante): And, another question related to capacity- where/how did you get hardware capable of doing this? Was it already onsite where you went?


Josephine Junot: @Sister – on capacity – since TechCamps are run by the State Dept they handle all of the sponsorship (there’s sponsorship from many orgs).


          Andy Evans: Do the tech camps have goals? e.g. to generate marketable products or services


Josephine Junot: @Andy – the main goals for TechCamps are to teach people about different technologies & to help them to build action plans & solutions that further their missions


          Andy Evans: Very good, thanks


Josephine Junot: Often times, since the TechCamps are usually held in emergent/developing cities, you’re also dealing with shifting perceptions, i.e., in Ukraine, we held a session ion integrating educational games into the Ukrainian school system – and the first step was getting the teachers to think entrepreneurially


          Kali Pizzaro: how was the Internet access did that pose any challenges in Mumbai or was that not an issue


Josephine Junot: Internet access was excellent in Ukraine & ok in the conference hotel in Mumbai but outside of that was challenging (there was a bombing i Hyderabad the week before & I think they shut down a lot of public wifi nodes)


          Kali Pizzaro: thanks


Josephine Junot: They’ve held TechCamps in places like Kazakhstan, Moldova, Fiji, Throughout Africa, etc too


          Kali Pizzaro: sure so not insurmountable

          Sister (sister.abeyante) wishes there was a similar effort in the challenged urban areas of the USA…

          LoriVonne Lustre: thinking the same thing Sister

          Eyem Beck: agree with Sister and would add very rural areas….

          Dancers Yao: yes..great need in US urban and rural areas.


Josephine Junot: @Sister – yes good pt


          Rhiannon Chatnoir: and you can always resort to pen/paper prototyping of ideas/games would think … though poses questions on implementation of ideas for the NGOs if their access or tech skills might be limited

          Sister (sister.abeyante): @ Rhiannon- exactly what I was thinking… the digital divide rears its head…

          Rhiannon Chatnoir: there are some interesting orgs in the US that do work on youth engagement through games, media, etc.. check out Global Kids in NYC


Josephine Junot: totally agree on the thoughts around rural outreach. TechCamps tho were specifically around int’l outreach


          Kali Pizzaro: Did you find a change to the students confidence before and after and how did you measure it


Josephine Junot: Yes, well – have run out of time but rest of slide deck shows some of the slides that I usually show – including more deets on the strategy/4 keys to fun & some examples


          Rhiannon Chatnoir:  thank you Josephine – I unlocked the presentation for those that want to peruse and if you can share online we will link to. Let’s thank Josephine for presenting today.


Josephine Junot: thanks, all!


          Veri Oddfellow: /applause

          LoriVonne Lustre: Thanks so much!

          Andy Evans: Great presentation!

          Sister (sister.abeyante): Great and thought provoking presentation!

          Beth Ghostraven: Thank you!!

          Veri Oddfellow: Great stuff … your passport must look like a where’s where!

          Xon Emoto: THANK YOU :))) Great Talk!

          Gaius Primmius (vanettda.lassard): thanks!

          Kali Pizzaro: excellent work

          Tab Scott: Thank you Josephine! clap clap clap

          Eyem Beck: Thank you all.

          jacmacaire Humby: Bravo!!

          Dancers Yao: Thank you

          Kali Pizzaro: πŸ™‚

          Frans Charming applauds

          Em Ellsmere: applauds!

          Diantha Petrov: thank you, Josephine! so inspiring

          Andy Evans: Sound of virtual hands clapping

          Serene Jewell: Great projects!

          Kali Pizzaro: do you have any papers? links?


Josephine Junot: My pleasure! yes, here’s my site (tho techcamp stuff is not yet on it – need to update! πŸ™‚   

josephine AT & @funksoup on Twitter.

Feel free to ping me for any further thoughts – must run – thank you!



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Written by: Rhiannon Chatnoir