[staff] Program design through implementation and iteration 

One of the ideas that's been on my mind recently is the importance of developing educational programs through a process of implementation and iteration. This is a somewhat intuitive concept, but has been raised for me recently as I engage in program and curriculum design in the Media Masters program, and as I watch as we begin training New York Public Library educators to implement our Playing 4 Keeps gaming program, the first online program at GK that we're scaling.

With Media Masters, an experimental pilot program that we're partnering with MIT's Project New Media Literacies to conduct, every piece of curriculum and the entire program design is brand new. In each project we engage in, we're taking guesses (educated, of course, but still guesses) as to whether something will work. Will students be interested in creating a wikipedia pages themselves? How long should a process like that take? How do we motivate participants to work collaboratively? And then we try it out, see what happens, circle back around and talk about how it worked. That implementation informs the way that we design and put into practice new projects that work off of similar principles.

[p4k] Videos and photos from 1st day of NYC training 

Today ended a fantastic training in our new Playing For Keeps Capacity Building Program. It was led for librarians from three branches in NYC and one in North Carolina. This is the first of what we hope will be many trainings for a variety of informal learning institutions.

Below is a quick video we threw together, while photos can be viewed here.

NYPL Game Design Worksheet1 -P4K Training

[p4k] And so it begins... 

It just a few minutes ten librarians from New York City, and one from North Carolina, will enter the Global Kids offices to begin our first training in GK's new Playing For Keeps Capacity Building Program, supporting them to take a new scalable version of our gaming literacy program to libraries. This program builds on our work these past six years treating games as a form of youth media.

Can I say I am just a little excited? More to follow...

[P4K] Playing for Keeps program heads to local libraries and community centers 


Starting next month, Global Kids will be scaling up it's Playing for Keeps (P4K) program into local libraries and community centers in New York and Massachusetts. The first of these workshops is already listed up on the New York Plublic Libary's web site.

Playing For Keeps

Date: Wednesday & Thursday, March 18 & 19 Time: 3:00 PM
Audience: young adults

Description: Play games and check out awesome resources like "Gamestar Mechanic" and the Grow A Game card deck. Learn the process of game design: from mastering core mechanics to creating a design document. Work with Global Kids-trained staff and your peers to develop plans for your own games to address a social issue and then compete to present it to a panel of experts.

All materials will be provided. For ages 12 to 18. This program is being offered through a partnership with Global Kids, Inc., with support from the Microsoft Corporations US Partners in Learning.

Check it out here.

[staff] No Respect: Devaluing the Consequentiality of Online Communities 

Global Kids’ recently featured interview in the RezEd podcast series on education and virtual worlds, focused on the results of the most significant study to date on youth and online safety. The results of the study, and how they were rejected by the very players who called for the study, provided me with some valuable insights regarding the challenges to using online communities for education and civic engagement.

First, some background from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, who directed the Task Force:

“The Internet Safety Technical Task Force (ISTTF) is a group of Internet businesses, non-profit organizations, academics, and technology companies that have joined together to identify effective tools and technologies to create a safer environment on the Internet for youth. It was created in February 2008 in accordance with the Joint Statement on Key Principles of Social Networking Safety announced by the Attorneys General Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking and MySpace in January 2008.”

[vvp] VVP's first 30 secs. machinimas in TSL! 

Last week in VVP, we held our very first parents night. Shawna and I met the parents of a few participants, and together as a team, we screened their very first 30-secs machinimas with the parents and friends attending. Each person was asked to share a little about their experience on making their first machinima on their own, and take questions from the audience.

The group this year did very well in Second Life and iMovie. Everyone was pleased with how their movie came out and we had not expect them to do so well in very little time. We look forward to what this group will come up with for their final group project.


[P4K] Games as Youth Media: a Six Year Review 

If you didn't get a chance to attend last year's Games for Change conference and see Barry's presentation, which was a review of how games used as youth media have evolved over the last six years, it is now up on YouTube.

[SL] Coverage of Metanomics show featuring Barry 

Barry Joseph, along with David Klevan of the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum, were guests on the January 26th episode of the show Metanomics. They both spoke on education in virtual worlds including Teen Second Life. Video highlights from Barry's comments, including further thoughts on the importance of a Teen only virtual space within Second Life, are below along with links to the full video and transcripts.

[staff] OLP January Staff Reflections 

Welcoming in both the new year and the snow –woot! – to New York, OLP’s staff reflections for January are finally up!

A quick overview of what OLP thought about for this month: Rafi takes a look at an article written by Marc Prensky about including youth voices in educational reform, Tabitha and Shawna discuss their youth’s 30-second machinima and the lessons they learned from their students, Barry talks about the recently much-discussed Teen Second Life merger, Krista takes a glance at how connectivity matters and Rik gives his take on the importance of preparing our youth today for a different, ever-changing tomorrow.

[P4K] More thoughts on Games for Change's amazing toolkit 

We mentioned in a recent post the launch of the toolkit from Games For Change (G4C) entitled "Let the Games Begin, A Toolkit 4 Making Social Issues Games." We wanted to write a longer review of it, because there is just so much to say about it.

The toolkit itself is laid out in a neat, interactive flash interface that highlights some of the best moments from the past Game for Change conference along with other resources written and compiled for the toolkit. The entire toolkit is also available to download and view offline.

Among the collection of resources, three of the included documents have never before been made available - they are the design documents made by Gamelab in the course of creating our Playing for Keeps (P4K) game Ayiti. There is also an excellent case study document which was created from Barry Joseph's talk at G4C.