galaward January 4, 2008

One acquaintence on another list suggests that there are at least eight shades of green ... (light green, business green, state green, concerned citizen green, radical citizen green, centre-left green, far left green and deep green ...) Although the following suggestion would amount to adding "virtual green" to this list of shades, the popularity of virtual worlds could become a very useful educational tool ... provided someone could come up with a sufficiently green Webkinz. Anybody out there with contacts in Ganz? That company could easily do an endangered species line or tie in sustainability skills games with their polar bears, seals ... Build-A-Bear Workshop has an endangered leopard cub that involves a WWF donation ... Although concern of this kind might more aptly fall into the "light green" category, it could be harnessed as a means for a deeper education. There is the chance that kids who learn to recycle in a virtual world might retain that skill for crossover to real life. There are enough gifted people out there who could build a truly beautiful virtual model ... to inspire even adults.

>Kiddie Virtual World Is Exploding
The New York Times

"Get ready for a total inundation" of kiddie-oriented virtual worlds, says eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson. Webkinz, Club Penguin and the like have been a smashing success where adult-oriented counterparts Second Life and There.com have not. According to comScore, Disney-owned Club Penguin attracts seven times the traffic of Second Life. Webkinz, a site where children create and care for virtual stuffed animals, has seen its traffic soar 342 percent in the last year. In all, eMarketer estimates that 20 million children will be part of a virtual world by 2011, up from 8.2 million today. Disney, for example, plans to follow Club Penguin's success with virtual worlds for "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Cars."