An Interview with Roya Klingner: Underachieving Gifted - Prof. Shaughnessy

An Interview with Roya Klingner: An On Line Camp for Gifted Kids? What will they think of next?

Written By: Michael F. Shaughnessy Senior Columnist

Posted by Michael Shaughnessy EducationViews Senior Columnist on June 27, 2011 

Michael F. Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico

1) Roya, I understand that you are going to do a virtual program for gifted kids. When will this start?


Yes, we are going to start an online program for gifted children from around the World, which we have planned for some time now. The World of Begabungs is a virtual summer camp for gifted kids and will start on July 1st 2011.

2) Now, what activities are going to be involved?


All activities are based on the interests of the children. We believe that if they can decide on their own, they are more motivated and will have more fun. Project oriented learning environment, mentoring and enrichment are planned. In addition we are going to teach kids about scripting, building, 3D modeling, texturing and more.

3) Are you going to have any guest speakers (like me)?


It is not planned to have guest speakers for this time but maybe in the future if the kids want to.

4) What will the main language be and what ages is this geared for?


The main language will be English. The participants are from 12 to 16, which we have selected through an application process. They are from different countries like USA, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark.

5) Will these kids have to have an avatar?


Yes. We will be together as avatars in the World of Begabungs.

6) Will they get T-shirts like most summer camps?


We designed virtual and real world T-shirt. But kids will be able to design or create their own virtual T-shirts or outfits too.

7) How long will it last?


Three months

8) Okay, now the details- the web site, when will it start and how long will it last?


The web site is and it will be for 3 months from July 1st to September 30th 2011.

9) What have I neglected to ask?


The program we are using is called OpenSim, an open source version of Secondlife but I believe this is the first time a project like this has been created for gifted kids around the world. Networking and experiencing imagination and creativity are additional goals of the project.


Thank you for this interview and your kindly support!


An Interview with Roya Klingner: Meet me in Second Life 

Written By: Michael F. Shaughnessy Senior Columnist

Yes, of course. 

9.3.10 - Michael F. Shaughnessy - First of all I would like to thank you for this interview. On August 28th 2010 the first Global Virtual Meeting for Gifted Education took place in Secondlife. Participants from Australia, USA, Ireland, UK and Germany attended this event with their avatars.


Michael F. Shaughnessy

Eastern New Mexico University

Portales, New Mexico


1) Roya, you have just had your first global virtual meeting in second life. What was the meeting about?

First of all I would like to thank you for this interview. On August 28th 2010 the first Global Virtual Meeting for Gifted Education took place in Secondlife. Participants from Australia, USA, Ireland, UK and Germany attended this event with their avatars.

 This was not just a meeting it was sharing experiences, information with people around the world from your home. Learning with fun and compared to real world it is cheaper and much easier.

 Avatar-based virtual world education is highly interactive, providing the same convenience of not having to travel while providing a richer, more effective and more enjoyable experience.

 2) What were some of the topics discussed?

This time I presented my presentation about solution oriented therapy for Gifted Children, which I presented at the ECHA conference in Paris.

After my presentation the audience started to discus and ask questions about underachievers, solution oriented therapy,...

3) Are you planning another one?

 The purpose of the conference is to cultivate a global virtual meeting, sharing knowledge and experience about gifted education for students, educators, teachers and parents. I am planning our next meeting for Oct.

2.2010 at 9pm CEST.

 4) Do you have a web site where people can get more information?


Yes, all information will be on our website of the Bavarian Center for Gifted and Talented Children.

 5) Why do you think this kind of meeting is important?

 As I created my avatar at Nov. first 2003 I was thinking about sharing experiences, knowledge in second life with other people and I have done it. But after all these years I still believe that there are a lot of possibilities in this kind of meeting to work globally for all kind of education and why not for gifted education. We live in the 21^st century and we have to work together, solve problems together and share knowledge with each other. Secondlife is a virtual world, where we can do this.

 6) Were there key speakers or central individuals?

We are also planning to get some good keynote speaker for our future events, as soon as they are interested to support gifted education, gifted children in this way. Additional lectures by different presenters are planned. This event is actually free of charge.

 7) What have I neglected to ask?

 What do people need to join this kind of meeting?

 All you need is a computer, an avatar in secondlife, a headset and curiosity.

 About secondlife:

 Quick Start Guide:


An Interview with Roya Klingner: Reflecting on Gifted Education
Written By: Michael F. Shaughnessy Senior Columnist

1) Thirty years ago, you were involved with gifted students. Tell us about those years.

The first president of World Council for Gifted and Talented children, Dr.
Iraj Broomand, started a program for gifted children in Iran about 30
years ago. The kindergarten teacher recommended that my mother should
send an application for me to join that school. In order to join that
school, it was necessary for me to take a test. I passed this test with
flying colors and joined that school. All that happened a few years
before the Iranian revolution. I did not really know anything about
high ability, but I knew, I was different. That made me curious.

2) Who were your mentors and how did they influence you?

I did not really have a certain person as mentor when I tried to find out
about who I am and giftedness. I bought and read a lot of books by many
different authors in different languages. Everybody I asked told me
that I was gifted but nobody really told me what giftedness really was
about. I did not want applause, I just wanted a logical answer.
Later on, I was influenced by the theories of Howard Gardner and Franz Mönks.

3) What kinds of changes have you seen in gifted education over the past 30 years?

The main things that have changed are:

* Definition of giftedness
* Grading of intelligent
* Social relationship with the topic of giftedness

4) What are you currently working on?

It was always my goal to help and support gifted children and
their parents. Now, I´m working freelance on it. I am also working on a
book to explain high ability to children.

5) What are some of the mental health issues of the gifted that need to be explored and examined?

There are still a lot of mental health issues of the gifted that need to be explored and these are some of them:

* sensitivity
* emotional stability
* social competence
* spiritual needs

6) What do you see as the main parenting issues?

* The handling of the situation that the child is gifted. Quite often parents are stressed with this.
* Teaching their children to handle normality.
* To know that high ability does not equal high performance.

7) How receptive are the schools to
gifted children? Are there nations in the world that seem to be more
eager to work with gifted pupils?

Unfortunately the situation in Germany for gifted children is far from optimal.

- Of course, a lot of nations are very eager to work with
gifted pupils like: USA, United Kingdom, Singapore, Iran,... However,
their goal seems more to be to make high performers than happy, well
adjusted gifted children.

8) What kinds of training do you think teachers need to work with gifted kids?

Teachers are taught more about learning deficiencies than high
ability. It is imperative that the education of teachers includes more
about giftedness theories and ways to support gifted children without
overstraining them or causing them even greater stress.

9) What kind of research are you currently engaged in?

At the moment I am working on a program for solution oriented
training for gifted children, mainly underachievers ( from de Shazer)
and together with my husband, we also are exploring
virtual-environments for possibilities of training gifted children

10) What question have I neglected to ask?

What do I wish for the future of gifted and talented children?

I wish more understanding and acceptance for this topic and happiness for those children around the world.