Looking for volunteers

John Voiklis jv37 at columbia.edu
Fri Apr 19 17:37:08 UTC 2002


I am writing on behalf of Red Figure, a new non-profit organization whose
mission, to quote our website, is:

To provide "a marketing-free zone for young people [9-13 year-olds] to use
their creativity as they collaborate on arts and sciences projects. We offer
free use of our online toolkit [read, Project Swiki], allowing young people
to create and publish multimedia content, as well as discuss, plan, and
share knowledge about non-digital projects." (I append our extended mission
statement below the signature).

While we encourage young people to come up with their own activities, we
have initiated (or will initiate) a few specific yet open-ended projects of
our own. These include swikis where one can:

- create and publish multimedia books
- create and publish news stories for web-based news service
- create and produce cultural programs for web-based radio

The first two projects are relatively straight forward. The third, too,
could be easy enough to implement, except that we do not have the typical
production equipment of a brick-and-mortar organization, nor can we be sure
that our users have access to any multimedia tools beyond a web browser, our
project swiki, and the Squeak plugin. Given Squeak's text-to-speech and midi
capabilities, these three tools--possibly combined with a third-party
streaming server (I'm thinking Icecast)--would prove more than adequate if
either my Squeak skills (negligible at best) or my organizations ability to
pay a Squeak developer (hahaha) were adequate to the task. I am looking for
developers who believe that Red Figure's work is worth volunteering their
time and expertise.

I can see this working several different ways: you could volunteer as a
programmer; you could volunteer as a tutor, guiding me through the process;
or, if you are in NYC, I could volunteer on one of your projects, with you
tutoring over my shoulder.

Thank you,


John Voiklis
Executive Director
At Red Figure, we research and develop programs and technologies that
advance arts and sciences learning for those young people isolated from or
underserved by educational institutions, specifically the home-schooled and
any rural and urban youths who wish to connect with their peers and pursue
project-based learning experiences they may not find in traditional
classrooms. We will establish parameters by which these young people and
their mentors can organize small learning cooperatives for conducting these
projects; Red Figure will begin this process by organizing youths in New
York City. To further enable communication and collaboration, both within
and between cooperatives, we will develop a flexible and user-programmable
network application through which young people can collaboratively create
and manipulate multimedia content, as well as discuss, plan, and share
knowledge about non-digital projects. Most importantly, we will assure
access to these opportunities and tools regardless of financial means.

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