Home Twenty 9th Graders from Georgia Take On Google

Twenty 9th Graders from Georgia Take On Google

The Digiteen Dream Team, a group of passionate ninth graders who have been using Google’s Lively as part of the Digiteen Project, are planning to protest this Wednesday against Google’s decision to close down its virtual world environment, Lively, at the end of this year.

In their shutdown announcement, Google suggested Lively users capture their work by taking videos and screenshots, and thanked their users adding: “We’ve learned a lot about how users interact in rich social environments.” Is this all Lively was about? An experiment in user behavior?

Soon after Google’s announcement, here at ReadWriteWeb we speculated that the reason for the kill was that Lively didn’t offer Google any relevant data. Today, we have to question why any company would discontinue a service without providing alternatives to their customers – paying or not.

Image: Digiteen Action Project

Teacher Vicki Davis, in a blog post on the Dream Team site said that the class had contacted Livelyzens (other Lively users) and found that there are classrooms around the world using the tool. “On a Skype call between my class and some Livelyzen’s yesterday, we learned that one Livelyzen has built a translator for multiple languages to allow avatars to communicate and speak in their native language! So cool!”

The American Education System Needs Your Help

In an attempt to have their voices heard, the Digiteen Dream Team created a blog where they have been listing their goals, along with suggestions on how Google could turn Lively around. You have to commend them on their efforts.

The student led protest is planned for this Wednesday 2.15 – 3.00 p.m. (EST). These are the ways you can help:

  1. Create an account on Lively
  2. Create a room and host a protest. Let the Dream Team know, and they’ll post about it
  3. Visit the protest room on Wednesday and show your support
  4. Sign the Lively petition
  5. Write a letter to Google about the use of Lively in education
  6. Pass the word on; promote the protest

With students around the world counting on virtual worlds, the economy in the sorry state it is in, and schools across the United States working on minimal funding, we need to find a way to provide a safe online environment for students to work in.

“My students have a dream to create 3D worlds for teaching digital citizenship – they are going to pursue this dream and I’m going to help them. We will not stop – but if we have to start over we want it to be the right place that is accessible to as many students as possible,” Davis said recently on her post.

With the holiday season fast approaching, let’s hope Santa has a few goodies in his bag – or at the very least, a trick up his sleeve.

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