Our Approach


Global Kids’ serious gaming programs use games as a form of youth media, engaging youth in addressing critical world issues. Our early programs paired Global Kids youth leaders with game development companies to produce award-winning web-based games like Ayiti: The Cost of Life and Hurricane Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City. In recent works, Global Kids has diversified into location-specific gaming, such as the NYC Haunts partnership with the New York Public Library, geocaching with the Brooklyn Public Library, and youth-led game design competitions, such as the AMD Social Impact Challenge with E-Line Media. Building on this work, Global Kids has worked to support civic and cultural institutions to run similar programs through the Playing For Keeps Capacity Building Program and through co-founding the organization Games For Change.

Social Media

Global Kids believes that youth should be not merely critical consumers but active producers of digital media. The development of participatory media has increased the opportunities for Global Kids to develop programs which utilize web 2.0 media production tools to support youth to broadcast their voices on critical issues. Participants use web tools to map, remix, blog, create multimedia presentations and slideshows, do graphic design and create data visualizations in order to gain critical social skills and cultural competencies that will be critical to their participation in civic life.

Digital Badging

Digital badging systems offer a new way to credential informal and interest-driven learning. Since 2008, Global Kids has developed and implemented digital badging systems in after school programs, informal learning settings, and schools around the country.

Virtual Worlds

Immersive 3D virtual worlds offer tremendous opportunities for youth to experience learning in a new way. Since 2005, Global Kids has been an innovator in the use of virtual worlds in a wide-variety of ways: supporting a science class, assisting the U.S. Holocaust Museum, streaming speakers like Kofi Annan and Henry Jenkins to youth audiences, creating animated movies about critical global issues, providing funds to youth-led social ventures, producing a science-themed virtual talk show, enabling the World Bank to offer distance trainings, and more. Global Kids also produced the largest web-based community of educators using virtual worlds for learning, RezEd.org.

The Edge Projects

This program is part of Global Kids support from the MacArthur Foundation to expand the capacity of civic and cultural institutions to use new media as innovative educational platforms that engage youth in learning and promote youth civic participation. More specifically, the Edge Project is interested in civic and cultural institutions bringing cutting edge digital media into their youth educational programs. The first phase of the program, from 2008 to 2010, worked with a wide range of museums and libraries; a final report is forthcoming.