Working on Badges in Atlanta 

6727545249_2ac559042d_m.jpgThis week, GK spent a productive day visiting The Epstein Middle School School in Atlanta, where the school has implemented a badging system beginning with their sixth grade. Global Kids, along with staff at Epstein, custom designed a badging system to support the development of independent learning skills amongst the student body, funded by the Covenant Foundation.

The system is based on the recognition that learning in the 21st Century takes place not just in classrooms, but after school and through informal uses of digital media. To develop life-long learning skills, youth need to recognize how they are learning valuable skills across these venues and how to strategically navigate these sites of learning. Badge systems are designed to provide scaffolding, motivation, and recognition.

(Youth who are working on badges at Epstein can receive a power-up to miss certain classes to work on their next badge. They must wear this tag on the right to identify themselves.)

The Epstein Badging System includes a number of elements, including the badges themselves, digital transcripts, a badge management system, a badge submission process, committees, learning rubrics, back-end infrastructure, and digital portfolios.

Playing 4 Keeps - 11th Session 

In this week's Playing 4 Keeps, youth blogged about their experience going to E-Line Media to go behind the scenes of Gamestar Mechanic last week. You can read their entries here.

One entry to highlight is Kendell’s, who wrote:
Our trip to E-Line Media taught me a lot about the complex process of creating a chapter for Gamestar Mechanic and also about the many different jobs there are at E-Line. I learned how each member of E-Line contributes something to the finished product, whether it be the dialogue or the expression on the characters’ faces, and that the process involves a great deal of give and take. In the end, the team at E-Line Media will have produced a chapter that along with conveying the right message to the player, is appealing to everyone.

Youth spent the majority of the session designing their own challenge around a serious issue, except they did it entirely with paper and pen, rather than online. One group chose global warming as an issue and another group chose violence prevention. Each group brainstormed a story narrative and then wrote or drew out each step on index cards, including an intro, missions, and outro, in keeping with Gamestar Mechanic’s usual challenge format.

Trip to E-line Media 

Our trip to E-line Media taught me a lot about the complex process of creating a chapter for Gamestar Mechanic and also about the many different jobs there are at E-line. I learned how each member of E-line contributes something to the finished product, whether it be to the dialogue or the expressions on the characters' faces, and that the process involves a great deal of give and take. In the end, the team at E-line Media will have produced a chapter that along with conveying the right message to the player, is appealing to everyone.

Playing For Keeps Visits E-Line Media - 10th Session 

This week, after quite a build up, the Playing For Keeps youth leaders traveled across town to the home of Gamestar Mechanic, the offices of E-Line Media!

The youth met with web designers, graphic designers and programmers, seeing all the "behind the scenes" of Gamestar Mechanic, then met to review the development process used by the professionals.

They were wonderful hosts, enthusiastic to share with us about their work and how the youth leaders can get involved as we move forward in our collaboration with them to create a social impact game design challenge.

To view the rest of the photos, click here.

Let's Talk Sustainability - Upcoming (and final) Shows! 

Let's Talk Sustainability is a youth-run talk show that supports teens to develop expertise regarding sustainability, online broadcasting, and virtual world construction. Global Kids youth in New York City combined this expertise to produce talk shows that will feature interviews with STEM-related professionals, pre-produced videos, and audience activities. Each show is designed to introduce audiences to what they can do to live in a more sustainable world.

Join us as audience members for our last two shows! Everyone is welcome.

Upcoming Shows:
Climate Change - What is the science of climate change? Are there solutions to climate change that we can take action on now, or is it too late?

Electronic Waste - What is e-waste and why is it the United States' biggest export? What are the global consequences of e-waste, particularly for developing countries?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Climate Change: 5:00pm - 5:30pm EST
Electronic Waste: 5:30pm - 6:00pm EST

Second Life Location: New Media Consortium Convention Center http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/NMC%20Conference%20Center/201/29/48

Playing 4 Keeps - Ninth Session  

In our ninth session this week in Playing 4 Keeps, youth completed Gamestar Mechanic’s Custom Background Challenge. Youth who finish the Background Challenge unlock the ability to import custom backgrounds in the games that they design. After mastering the challenge, they designed their own games while keeping in mind what they learned about using backgrounds. For example, youth learned that backgrounds should not be so distracting that they detract from the game itself. They also learned that the best backgrounds relate to the story of the game and make sense aesthetically.

The photo says more about what youth learned from the challenge and also what they noticed about the format of the challenge. For example, the Background Challenge is broken up into four missions and includes comics that teach the player important tips and skills. Eventually, the youth will be designing their own challenge!

Scott and Michael from E-Line Media joined us to add input to youth’s background challenge games and to prepare them for their field trip to E-Line next week, where they will be able to go behind-the-scenes in the making of challenges.

Global Kids Listed on Hive NYC's Top 10 Moments of 2011 

Global Kids is proud to have been featured multiple times on Hive NYC's year end list showcasing the best collaborative moments over the year. To check out the full list click here. Below we've highlighted the projects Global Kids was involved with.

10. Hive youth in both New York City and Chicago got their own column on Huffington Post High School! A new home for all the world to see what our youth are learning and making and thinking. Here are links to the first four stories: Global Kids Leader Sharon Mizrahi, Matthew Byrd, Dominque James, Tonya Ingram.

Change of Place 

In this game "Change of Place", it's all about moving around place to place. I created little cloud structures in mid air so that the player can jump all around the scene. You will be going up and down or jumping constantly all the time to get to the goal you desire. It also adds on a little doubt when falling. Easy, doubt, goal, and control summarizes up my game.

Recommended Resources: Mobile Learning, Digital Activism, Multitasking 

Each month for the DML Central we at Global Kids annotate a list of our favorite finds from the past month in regards to digital media and learning. Below is our latest from December.

Create to Learn: Middle School girls creating games  

Global Kids youth leaders have been participating in the Create to Learn program at Wingate School in Brooklyn. The Create to Learn program started at Wingate in October. In partnership with Games for Learning Institute from NYU, the program has been designed for middle school girls to learn game design, content, and design data collection. A group of 12 girls from the School for Human Rights and School for Democracy and Leadership at the Wingate campus are participating in the program. The program is specifically designed to teach math skills through the use of game design.

The girls began developing ideas for their games, and created a poster showing their design elements. Cooking Mamma is a game in which the player adds ingredients using math equations to feed and keep a baby alive. Nine lives is a 'rescue the princess' game in which a dragon breathes equations the player must solve in order to pass through it and save the princess who has been bewitched by an evil queen. In another of their ideas, The Game of Life, the player must also solve equations in order to move through milestones in life such as getting a job, finding a home, and graduating from school. In another game idea, Mommy Math, the player is a baby-sitter who must solve math problems to keep the baby alive.