Printalution Island launched in Second Life by the Education Summit
BOSTON—January 27, 2009—The Education Summit for Graphic Communication has launched Printalution, an island in the virtual world Second Life, created for the Graphic Communication community to connect, educate and reach out to anyone interested in understanding the print and graphic arts industry. It is a tour location that can be explored by Second Life 'residents', as well as a location high school teachers can take students to learn more about the printing industry. The Printalution project was announced at the 3rd Education Summit meeting at Graph Expo in Chicago.
Printalution Island was developed in efforts initiated by the Education Summit, a group coordinated to develop a cohesive effort and message to youth, the public and the educational system about the needs of our industry. It is also supported by efforts from The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF). The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation administers scholarships for the Printing Industries of America and its affiliates, litho clubs, organizations, companies and individuals. Currently over 230 students attending 84 schools receive financial assistance through PGSF. PGSF manages more than $8.5 million in endowments for its donors.
Printalution Island in Second Life
Printalution Island was created to reach Generation Y prospects in places where they congregate. In doing so, they have added classes for teachers, community events, reach-out programs, a tour of all the stages of printing and a "print is green" exhibit.
Within the site is:
• A facility that accommodates 144 people for large demonstrations and presentations.
• An area where educators can meet and discuss curriculum and direction with industry leaders, and communicate with other speakers in the print industry.
• An 'introduction to printing tour' of all the phases of printing.
Typically, registration to Second Life itself includes a somewhat tedious member orientation. To make the introduction to the print community as easy as possible, visitors to the Printalution web site (www.printalution.com), can register, create their own account avatars, download the Second Life software, start off on Printalution Island and complete the orientation there. There are also weekly classes available to help people learn about Second Life, from basic orientation to how to build things and basic programming.
"Printalution Island is much 'greener' than an educational conference. People can visit Printalution 'virtually', and yet still interact with everyone," explains Brian Regan, Semper International president, Education Summit member, and primary developer of the new location. "We hope to create a community of educators and students for discussion groups to explore the attractiveness of careers in the print industry."
The Education Summit has ambitious plans for the future of Printalution. The next phase of the project will be refining the information found on the tour. As discussion groups grow, technical training where visitors could learn how to use the interface for running a press, for example, or receive 'Print 101' training for equipment at a printing plant, or help to understand a workflow, will be explored. There are also plans for an area that teaches green processes a printer may use, based on the Sustainable Green Partnership, the 'green' certification from the Printing Industries of America, and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) initiative. Industry vendors are also encouraged to build their own, non-commercial 'exhibits' at the site.
Graphic Communications Network
Printalution Island is just one piece of the education process. An effort has already begun to market Printalution Island to the industry and educators, and to develop user groups.
To that end, The Education Summit has created the Graphic Communications Network (GCNet) at http://graphcommnet.ning.com. GCNet is a social network for parents, teachers, students and print industry leaders to talk about timely topics and share thoughts. Visitors to the site can utilize the group to engage in live discussions, upload relevant pictures and videos, or find valuable links to industry associations.
There is also a print industry Facebook account at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=17399152853.
"The Education Summit has been pioneering activites in Second Life - a practice we have pursued for a while," comments Regan. "We have learned how to create working exhibits, presentations, and live discussion groups that are not only logistically successful, but strategically as well. We're happy to extend this knowledge to help attract new members to the print industry - as well as to help promote the value of print. We look forward to working with the Education Summit and PGSF to build a successful presence in Web 2.0."
About the Education Summit for Graphic Communication
The Education Summit for Graphic Communication is hosted annually at Graph Expo by the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF). More than one hundred passionate and interested people attend.
Speakers share their different perspectives on challenges facing the graphic communications workforce, each offering at least two of their ideas on how to combat the problem. It is clear that most young people think printing is staid and dirty, and that can't change until the industry can come together with a common plan.