Why Global Kids Matters 

Why Global Kids Matters
When I joined Global Kids in 2011, I knew that it was an organization with impactful programs, providing a range of in-school, afterschool and summer programs, with a youth driven learning model that taps into students’ curiosity and prepares them with the skills and tools they need to make an impact. By integrating global awareness, digital media learning, peer-education, academic skill building, and college and career preparation, Global Kids enables underserved youth to explore critical issues facing the world and learn how these issues are relevant to their own lives. I had come to see a talk at Global Kids on the use of Open Sims to teach kids about human rights, and I immediately thought that it was a place that I wanted to keep in my radar. It became clear to me that it was a special organization, when I came for an interview for a Program Associate position and they told me that the students were part of their staff selection process. As part of that selection process, I came to do a workshop using Scratch and after the workshop, the students asked questions about my professional career, my goals as an educator, and why I wanted to be part of their lives. It was an impressive display of young people taking charge of selecting who they wanted to be part of their learning process.  Now, I really wanted the job. And I got it!
Global Kids, was highly collaborative, energetic, and placed the young people it served at the center of their work. I traveled to several sites around the city, getting to know a complex system of partnerships with schools and other cultural institutions, including the Hive Learning Network.
Later on, as I took on the role of the Associate Director of OLP, my goal was to continue creating programs that aligned with the mission of Global Kids, and develop projects that used technology and digital media in meaningful ways to a group of a diverse middle and high school students who come primarily from a Hispanic and African American background. It was not an easy task. I was always thinking about sustaining programs that were successful, but also creating new ones that would bring a new and interesting focus to the organization. I started using little bits for a workshop about natural disasters, and created the Hive Youth Meetups to bring youth from different organizations across the Hive NYC Learning Network to increase their awareness about the possibilities of collaborations and programs available to them. I was also interested in expanding programs to other networks, and worked with Hofstra University and Educational Development Center on the iDesign program, to bring game design, culturally relevant pedagogy, and developing computational thinking to after-school programs for middle schools in Long Island and New York City. 
During my time at Global Kids, I had the opportunity to work with an impressive group of people, like Sara Vogel, Joliz Cedeño, and Ryan Waingortin, part of the OLP team. We worked to brainstorm and develop workshops that were innovative and well designed. Through the  grants and professional development of Hive NYC Learning Network I also worked with people like Dixie Ching (NYU) and Rafi Santo (Indiana University) of Hive Research Lab, Erica Kermani (Eyebeam), Vee Bravo (Tribeca Film Institute), Marisa Jahn (Rev Studio), Zac Rudge, Ana Campos (Parks and Recreation), Rob DiRenzo (Digital Ready), Brian Cohen (Beam Center), etc. All of them professionals working with youth that were always thinking about how to innovate, inspire and create substantive programs. Of course, working with Leah Gilliam, Chris Lawrence, Lainie DeCoursy and Julia Vallera—all from the Mozilla/Hive Networks team— was also a highlight during my time at Global Kids. There were so many great, inspiring colleagues that I designed and collaborated with over the years that the list is too long to complete! If I miss you, it was an oversight, nothing else. 
I learned a lot from Barry Joseph (American Museum of Natural History) and Jack Martin (Providence Public Library), who were at the helm of OLP before me. 
As many of you know, I am moving out of New York City and join the Seattle Public Library as their Digital Media and Learning Manager. As anyone in our profession knows, when an opportunity comes along that is both personally and professionally attractive you have to rise to the occasion, so is the case for me with the position in Seattle. However, none of my professional development would be possible without the support I received here at Global Kids, especially from its Executive Director, Evie Hantzopoulos. I will always bring a little of GK with me. The work that they do in the fields of youth development, service learning, and international affairs education is not only important for the more than 1,300 youth reached in the after-school and in-school programs but also for professionals like me who find a calling to serve youth and communities around the world. It is for that reason and for many more that I ask you to continue supporting Global Kids, please take the time to make a donation at http://donate.globalkids.org
Keep reaching out to them and forming the strong collaborations that make them unique and special. For questions regarding programs or other matters, please email evie (at) globalkids.org.
GK All Day! 

Lesson 8 - Create a Sequential Game in Taleblazer 

Students have playtested a geolocative game with TaleBlazer and analyzed how it’s parts interact. This lesson introduces students to the TaleBlazer interface which they will use to create a mini sequential game. Students will build on these skills to design their collaborative game as the program progresses.



Essential Questions:


  • How do the elements of a sequential game interact?
  • How is a game made on TaleBlazer?



Objectives: Introduce the TaleBlazer interface Begin to create a sequential game on TaleBlazer Review of Geo-Locative Games



Begin by asking students, what are geo-locative games?


Elicit: games that are played in a physical space, but at the same time, they are supported by actions and events in a virtual space (computer, devices, internet) that connect all its parts.


In the last workshop, students played a geo-locative game. Ask, what do you remember about it? What did you as the player do to interact with the game (the mechanics)?


·       What was the goal of the game?

·       What were the components of the game that you interacted with?

·       What was the space?

·       What were the mechanics?


Now that there is an understanding of geo-locative games and how they are played in the physical space, students will create their first game on Taleblazer. 


Create a Sequential Game in TaleBlazer


In this activity, students will create a simple game in TaleBlazer in which agents (characters) appear on the map in sequential order. Visiting (bumping) an agent triggers the next agent to appear on the map.


The game should follow these parameters:


1.     There are 3 characters in the game

2.     Only 1 character appears at the beginning of the game

3.     Character 2 appears only after player has seen character 2

4.     Character 3 appears only after player has seen character 3


Following are the steps to take in order to create the game as explained in the video below.


Step 1: Create the map.

a.              Enter address

b.              Click search address

c.              Click: Move Game to Here

d.              Check Lock Map


Step 2: Create the agents.


Step 3: Place agents.


Step 4: Create Scripts

Agent 1 included at start of game

When bump Agent 1 include Agent 2, exclude Agent 1

When bump Agent 2 include Agent 3, exclude Agent 2

When bump Agent 3, exclude Agent 3, say “End of Game.”




·       Students learn the TaleBlazer interface

·       Students collaborate to make a mini-game on TaleBlazer


Design Journal:


·       What did you learn today in TaleBlazer?

·       What would you like to learn?



See the following video for detail instructions on how to create the game: 





See video

September 2014 Maker Party 

Youth between the ages of eleven and seventeen attended the Global Kids Maker Party where they experimented with circuitry using LittleBits modules. Attendees learned the meaning of “input” and “output” circuits through various design challenges given by Maker Party facilitators. These initial challenges built up to a final challenge, in which participants created “gadgets” that would improve a particular room of one’s home. Youth collaborated with their peers over a few slices of pizza and completed brainstorming activities that led to the successful creation of the aforementioned gadgets. Notable creations include a remote control that would program the cable box of a television using light sensors, a garbage disposal mechanism, and a music player for one’s bathroom.


iDesign Summer Camp at Hofstra University 


Students and teachers from the iDesign program are getting ready to start the second year of the project as they participate in a sumer camp at Hofstra University where they have been learning about geo-locative games and the use of the WeDo interface with Scratch. They are also learning basic concepts of game design, and how to create games using the MIT software TaleBlazer. As they explored the campus and started building their games, a group of students have designed a game with interesting mechanics and storytelling that takes the player through a tour of a part of the Hofstra campus.


Global Kids has been partnering with the School of Education at Hofstra University on the iDesign program, a National Science Foundation funded initiative to implement game design with teachers in middle school afterschool programs. With the goal of inspiring kids to pursue STEM careers through computational thinking introduced with game design, the program also teaches kids to create games that are culturally relevant. For more on the iDesign program visit IDesign.hofstra.edu


Online Leadership Program Associate 

Global Kids, Inc. - the premier non-profit educational organization for global learning and youth development - works to ensure that urban youth have the knowledge, skills, experiences and values they need to succeed in school, participate effectively in the democratic process and achieve leadership in their communities and on the global stage.


Global Kids Online Leadership Program (OLP) has developed and pioneered cutting-edge practices that integrate digital media, global awareness, and youth leadership for underserved middle and high school students. In addition to youth-facing work, OLP works to build capacity of other youth-serving educators and institutions, and contribute to the field of digital media and learning through speaking engagements and special trainings.


Global Kids is seeking a talented and enthusiastic individual for its Online Leadership Program to run youth programs using digital media. The Online Leadership Program Associate will work collaboratively with other Online Leadership Program staff as well as other Global Kids staff in order to:


  • Coordinate, develop and facilitate interactive, experiential workshops using digital media for in-school and afterschool programs for middle school youth

  • Write curricula and lesson plans that incorporate digital media and global issues

  • Conduct professional development trainings for educators

  • Collaboratively brainstorm ideas for new digital media projects that embrace Global Kids mission

  • Stay up to date on digital media and learning news and research

  • Coordinate and manage multiple projects, both independently and on a team

  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with funders, institutions, and other collaborative partners

  • Contribute writing and ideas to grant proposals and reports

  • Represent GK through blog posts, speaking engagements, and other outreach

  • Perform other duties as assigned



  • Bachelor’s degree required

  • Minimum 2-3 years of related work experience required

  • Experience using interactive experiential learning strategies and youth development or leadership strategies in culturally diverse settings with youth

  • Experience teaching digital media skills and tools to middle school youth strongly preferred (i.e. games-based learning, audio/video production, mobile applications, social media, web design, etc.)

  • Excellent facilitation and interpersonal skills

  • Experience with curriculum development and games-based learning

  • Game design experience plus familiarity with game design platforms such as Scratch and Gamestar Mechanic, etc.

  • Strong project management skills

  • Short learning curve around new digital tools and applications

  • Strong interest in global issues, social activism and youth empowerment

  • Strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and proven ability to prioritize tasks

  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment

  • Strong interpersonal skills

  • Experience working in schools with middle school youth


Salary / Benefits:

Mid to high 30's, depending on experience. Good benefits and possibilities for travel.

We are actively seeking candidates of diverse backgrounds.


To Apply

Please send your resume and cover letter as a PDF to resumes@globalkids.org. Indicate “OLP Associate” in the subject of the email. We are unable to accept any phone, mail, or fax inquiries. Please refer to www.globalkids.org and http://olpglobalkids.org for more information.


Deadline To Apply

Application process will be open until the position is filled with the right person, though we are looking to hire as soon as possible.

Global Kids, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to a policy of equal treatment and opportunity and do not discriminate against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, citizenship, mental or physical handicap or disability, marital status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, military or veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law. We continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity.

Global Kids takes part in littleBits Global Makeathon 




At the Global Kids headquarters this past Saturday September 14th, a group of kids from different parts of New York City and different ages gathered to take part in the littleBits Global Makeathon 2013.  According to the littleBits webiste, the Global Makeathon was "the world's largest physical and virtual littleBits workshop. We are bringing together makers from around the world for one day to bring their own cities to life. Join us, with your Bits, your crafts, and your tools and Make Something that Does Something!" 


Young kids who came to take part on the challenge started the day talking about the things they enjoyed the most about living in New York City. The theme of the makeathon was "Bring Your City to Life" and the kids were excited to start thinking about how they could represent their city in the challenge. After introductions from Ayah Bdeir to the challenge and a google hangout with makers from all around the world, the kids learned the basics of using little bits: that the color blue was for the power bits, pink for input, orange for wire, and green for output.


Combating Sexual Cyberbullying with That Could Be Your Sister 

Twenty-five youth from around New York City. A problem to solve through the design of a digital tool. Cash prizes at stake.


That was the set up for yesterday's That Could Be Your Sister Design Challenge, held at the Brooklyn Public Library by Global Kids and WNYC's Radio Rookies. The youth – many of them affiliated with BPL's T4 program and several from GK and Rookies – listened intently as 17-year-old Temitayo Fagbenle played a radio story that she had reported last year about "slut-shaming" on online social networks, or as she and producer Courtney Stein wrote, "using photos and videos to turn a girl's private life inside out." She challenged the group to propose an idea for a digital tool that could be mobilized to support victims, raise awareness or collect data about the issue.


Hive NYC's Julia Vallera presented a menu of digital tools for students to consider integrating into their designs; from apps to text messaging campaigns. "There are no limitations" she said. "Think outside the box." With that, the students were off in their groups -- drawing, writing, and brainstorming their way to digital solutions.



During the presentations, the four judges -- Jess Klein and Atul Varma from Mozilla, Erica Doyle, Assistant Principal at Vanguard High School, and Jasmine Hood from Common Sense Media – were treated to five stellar pitches for new digital tools. One group dreamed up a website that followed a human body metaphor - the mouth would link to a section to help victims speak out, the ear to a section for listening to testimonials, and "tears" collecting at the bottom of the screen would contain words of inspiration and support from the community. Another group decided to place QR codes in locations that teens frequent the most in order to direct them to the campaign website. The “Insert Title Here” group’s proposal included a “choose your own adventure” game that would guide players to make choices in scenarios of sexual cyberbullying. The "Tech Geeks" team won with their idea for an informational website and an app that victims would be able to use to report offensive photos and seek the support of specialists.


5/6 of the members of the winning team, "Tech Geeks."


While everybody couldn’t walk away from the competition with a gift card, the rewards of the program went far beyond. In an email to GK’s Juan Rubio, one student wrote about how he’d love to continue learning Photoshop, something he began to explore during Thursday’s event:


“Gracias por toda su ayuda y aunque no ganamos, ganamos porque aprendimos mucho de cyberbullying y también de tecnología. (Thank you for all of your help, and even though we didn’t win, we won, because we learned a lot about cyberbullying and also about technology).


Thank you to Project:Connect and our panel of judges, Brooklyn Public Library’s Jen Thompson and Jackson Gomes, and WNYC Radio Rookies’ Kaari Pitkin, Courtney Stein and Sanda Htyte.


For more coverage of the event, check out SchoolBook!


Freelance producer Karen Duffin also produced a radio piece about the event, featuring OLP's very own Jack Martin and Juan Rubio!


Simulating Inequality - P4K Gamers at Hungercraft 2.0 


What happens when resources are unequally distributed? Do citizens learn to cooperate and trade? Or is violence inevitable?


Those were some of the questions pondered by Global Kids’ Playing For Keeps youth leaders at Hungercraft 2.0, an event at the Main Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on Saturday, March 30. Using a special world created by Minecraft Edu inspired by the popular books The Hunger Games, they faced off against the teens in Brooklyn Public Library’s T4 program (Today’s Teens, Tomorrow’s Techies).

Jack Martin Joins Global Kids! 

GK is pleased to introduce a new member of the GK Family! Jack Martin joins us as Associate Director of the Online Leadership Program after many years of directing programs at the New York Public Library. At the Library, he partnered with GK to create NYC Haunts, our geolocative mobile gaming program. Jack also has an extensive background in theatre, the arts, technology, science, and dance. Welcome Jack!


I'm Leaving GK and What You Can Do About It 

After a dozen years at Global Kids, the majority directing our Online Leadership Program, I would like to announce that it is time for me to move on. I am sad to be leaving this incredible organization, the youth we serve, and the staff with whom I have had the privilege of doing such ground-breaking work.


I will be embarking on a new adventure, as the Associate Director for Digital Learning in the Education Department of the American Museum of Natural History.


Because Global Kids has meant so much to me, I would like to ask your help as I plan to transition, in three specific ways:

  • Comment on the 12 key lessons I have learned while working at GK.
  • Help me see that work continue to flourish.
  • Promote the search for my replacement.


Help 1: 12 Lessons After 12 Years

After considerable thought, I think I can summarize 12 key lessons I learned over my time at Global Kids, lessons about digital media in a youth development and global education context. To read explanations of each of the lessons (and respond through the comment section) please visit here.