This article accompanies the feature "Avatars Teach Teens About Self-Image."
Teen Second Life Resources
In a webinar from the International Society for Technology in Education, instructional-technology specialist Peggy Sheehy describes her Rockland County, New York, school district's innovative uses of Teen Second Life for learning. Sheehy shares more insights from Teen Second Life on her blog Ramapo Islands.
Before escorting students into Teen Second Life, teachers may want to first explore the adult version of Second Life. After signing up for a free account, they can seek help from the growing community of Second Life educators. Resources include the following:
More Online Resources
A growing number of multimedia resources are available to support teaching an interdisciplinary unit about health, beauty, body image, and media literacy. Some resources speak directly to girl audiences, but many are also appropriate for mixed-gender classes.
The Web site for Darryl Roberts's feature-length documentary of the same title about the fashion industry includes a conversation-provoking film preview. Roberts plans to release a DVD of the film for distribution to school audiences, complete with materials for teachers, later in 2009.
The Web site for Dove's global campaign includes a wealth of resources suitable for the classroom. Short videos about beauty are certain to spark conversation. (Teacher Diane Whiting used a brief video called Evolution to set the stage for her body-image project.) An image-manipulation activity challenges users to evaluate whether photos have been digitally manipulated; a short video reinforces the message.
"Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem"
This report, funded by Dove, compiles data to explain why "seven in ten girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way." (Download a PDF of the report.)
This Girl Scouts program, also supported by Dove, is designed to address low self-esteem among adolescent and preadolescent girls. Program materials include age-appropriate activity books for girls ages 8-17 and supporting materials for adults. An interactive site includes a girl-friendly video message from MTV personality SuChin Pak and a tool kit for making your own movie clip about beauty.
The YWCA's Web site provides a downloadable copy of its report "Beauty at Any Cost," along with companion guides for discussion and taking action. Suggestions for community action include hosting mother-daughter book clubs and advocating for healthier media messages.