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Using Alternative Assessment Models to Empower Youth-directed Learning 

Below is an article by Barry Joseph originally posted on the Breakthrough Learning In a Digital Age site entitled "Using Alternative Assessment Models to Empower Youth-directed Learning." It focuses around several assessment models used in our programs, along with example outcomes from one of our youth. It also announces our newly created, MacArthur Foundation funded, Global Kids Edge Project.

Read more below or the full entry and comments here.

Tashawna is a high school senior in Brooklyn, NY. In the morning she leaves home for school listening to her MP3s, texting her friends about meeting up after school at Global Kids, where she participates in a theater program, or FIERCE, the community center for LGBT youth. On the weekend she'll go to church and, on any given day, visit MySpace and Facebook as often as she can. While she misses television and movies, she says she just can't find the time.

[staff] Using Alternative Assessment Models to Empower Youth-directed Learning 

Tashawna is a high school senior in Brooklyn, NY. In the morning she leaves home for school listening to her MP3s, texting her friends about meeting up after school at Global Kids, where she participates in a theater program, or FIERCE, the community center for LGBT youth. On the weekend she'll go to church and, on any given day, visit MySpace and Facebook as often as she can. While she misses television and movies, she says she just can't find the time.

This describes what we can call Tashawna's distributed learning network, the most important places in her life where learning occurs. Not just at home, school and church but also through digital media, like MP3s, SMS and social networks, and at youth-serving institutions, like Global Kids and FIERCE. Some are places that require her presence, like school, while others are opt-in, like MySpace. But the learning she gathers across the nodes in her network are preparing her to succeed in the classrooms, workplaces, and civic arenas of the 21st Century.

If you will be in the Philadelphia area on November 18th, make sure to register for the following event. Global Kids will also be simulcasting this event online and into Second Life for those not able to attend in person, to be able to participate. Stay tuned for more information on this. Event details and registration link below.

[conf] Bringing Youth Voices to Breakthrough Learning Forum 

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Next week, Global Kids will be leading a team of youth leaders to a landmark event in the world of digital learning. The event, titled Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age, is being organized by the Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, Common Sense Media and Google and will be held at the GooglePlex on October 27th and 28th. It's aimed at bringing attention to new forms of learning facilitated by technology, and will be attended by policymakers, industry leaders, education practitioners and researchers, and, of course, by digital youth. The youth team will consist of kids from Global Kids, the Bay Area Video Coalition and MOUSE, and will aim to bring in a youth voice to the forum in a variety of ways. We're really excited that the organizers put a priority on making sure actual teens were a part of this important conversation, as so often they aren't.

This afternoon I had the opportunity to speak to around 70 program officers from a wide variety of foundations at the Grantmakers in the Arts pre-conference entitled "New Media and the Arts: A Force for Change." I had fifteen minutes to present on the "new tools" panel, using GK's own work as case studies.

Most would choose one or two and go deep. But if you know me, no way. I took on gaming, virtual worlds AND social media - how can I help it? - giving examples from each.

The presentation is below:

[In the Media] Navigating the Fluidity of Identity 

In a recent Spotlight on MacArthur's Digital Media and Learning blog, entitled "Navigating Identity—Reimagining Oneself Online", the idea is discussed of online identity being a fluid thing that youth and others, must learn to manage and navigate through their digital world.

They cite our own Rik Panganiban, on the DIDI program and one of the youth ventures that took place with incarcerated youth.

“It was an ‘aha’ moment for us,” Panganiban says, a coordinator for RezEd, a hub for researchers and practitioners. RezEd is a project of Global Kids funded by MacArthur. “Those young people who have restrictions in their real lives saw the virtual world as liberating. They saw they had something to offer other kids because of their own experiences. Instead of feeling like second-class citizens, they realized they could use that experience to help other kids and say, ‘This is a choice you don’t want to make.’”

“In the virtual world, they were not kids in jail,” Panganiban says.

Instead, they could create powerful avatars for themselves, such as robots, that gave them the gravitas to “explore ideas about how to help others not get into their situation,” he says.

[In the Media] Digital Media and Learning 

Digital Media and Learning, a video featuring Global Kids teen Lucky was featured recently on the MacArthur Foundations Spotlight blog.

From the video description:

Digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life, and these changes have profound implications for learning. Researchers and practitioners supported through MacArthur's digital media and learning initiative are exploring how digital media can help extend the classroom to more informal and unconventional spaces, such as libraries, museums and even online communities.

Visit digitallearning.macfound.org.

[RezEd] Visit the SmallWorlds RezEd Educator's Zone 

Earlier this month, the social networking platform Ning announced it's Apps Platform program and among the initial batch of featured Ning Apps listed in it was the virtual world SmallWorlds.

Well, if you haven't checked this out yet, RezEd.org, set up it's own embedded SmallWorlds members lounge for members of RezEd to be able to interact and chat in 3D while logged in to the RezEd network. Look's like we were even the first to add it to our Ning network page as reported by Virtual Worlds News:

Ning Network Creators can now add the SmallWorlds app to their network. For SmallWorlds, this means instant increased visibility should any of the Ning groups choose to add the app to their landing page. According to SmallWorlds, educator network GlobalKids was the first to add SmallWorlds to its Ning page.

You can visit the RezEd Educator's Zone here.

[media] The Digital Generation on Edutopia 

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Within the June/July edition of the Edutopia magazine, one of GK's Youth Leaders was highlighted as an example of how much youth can learn by creating and personalizing their own avatars.

In this edition, the article "Beauty and the Avatar" takes an in-depth look at how personalizing an avatar, can help youth deal with stereotypes that surround "beauty".

Discussing an eighth grade health class, the article begins with the following discussion: "Who looks gross? Who wants a makeover? Most teachers would ban this kind of digital discussion, but not health teacher Diane Whiting. She encourages it, because what students say online often reveals concerns that would otherwise go unspoken."

Global Kids Professional Development Trainings Starting Soon 

Jay leading Boston MassIMpact training
Starting on September 22, Global Kids will begin offering at our Center for Global Leadership a series of professional development trainings for individuals interested in learning from our innovative approaches to global issue education, youth development, and civic engagement. The training schedule is as follows:

  • Service Learning Strategies - Tuesday, September 22, 2009 or Saturday, October 24, 2009
  • Linking Curriculum and Service - Friday, September 25, 2009 or Saturday, November 7, 2009
  • Creating a Safe Space I - Conflict Resolution - Friday, October 2, 2009
  • Developing Global Citizens - Wednesday, October 7, 2009
  • Tech Tools for Teachers and Trainers - Saturday, October 17, 2009 or Friday, October 23, 2009
  • Incorporating Digital Media into Your Curriculum - Saturday, November 14, 2009 or Tuesday, January 12, 2010
  • Interactive Teaching Strategies - Wednesday, November 18, 2009
  • Games Based Education - Friday, December 4, 2009
  • Creating a Safe Space II - Cultural Diversity - Thursday, December 10, 2009
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