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New Report of Global Kids' Badging System in Atlanta 

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In the Spring of 2011, Global Kids began working with the Epstein School in Atlanta, introducing them to the power, potential and perils of digital badging systems. Epstein identified nine subject areas to badge, and together we developed a strategy for running the badging system and rolling it out to the school in August, 2011.

Below is the mid-year report we delivered this past January to the funder, the Covenant Foundation. With the permission of both the school and Foundation, we share it below in the hopes of advancing our collective knowledge about the use of badging systems to support lifelong learning skills, both inside and outside formal educational settings.

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To learn more about other badging programs at GK, please explore the links below:
Below are a number of resources which highlights Global Kids’ educational use of badges over the past three years:

P4K Focused on Promoting Peace 

Yesterday, the youth leaders in Playing For Keeps finally decided on the topic for their first AMD Social Impact Game Design Challenge, which we are producing with E-Line Media on their Gamestar Mechanic platform.

After debating the importance and game-potential of a variety of topics, the youth finally decided on ending war. But what does that mean, exactly? And how do you clearly describe that to others? Below are some of the sheets they produced as they worked through the process to determine the content for and name for their first challenge: Playing for Peace:

defining the goals

Brainstorming the reasons for war

Criteria for winning the game

Brainstorming goals and winning criteria

NYC Haunts at MS 391 - Exploring Belmont 

Global Kids Leaders from MS 391 explored the neighborhood of Belmont, the Little Italy of the Bronx. With camera and iPads in hand they walked through the streets and talked with local vendors learning about how the neighborhood has changed in the last century. They sampled breadsticks from the local bakery and found that the residents were friendly and open to sharing their love for their community. Nilda Lopez and Danielle Youmeni of the Belmont Branch of the New York Public Library pulled books and videos for students to browse through and learn more about the area. They were fascinated that the library was once a movie theater and that cinema itself had a rich history there. After exploring students dined on local cuisine at Mario's, a restaurant on Arthur Avenue that had been there for over a century. The meal was followed by a stroll through the Arthur Avenue Retail Market. The young people came away from the trip inspired and ready to share with their peers what they learned and could be beneficial to the game they will be creating.

Check out some of the photos from the trip!

NYC Haunts at Hamilton Grange - Exploring Neighborhood History 

Youth at the Hamilton Grange Library Branch have a rich history to pull from. Their neighborhood boasts the former residencies of such notable people as Alexander Hamilton, George Gershwin, Thurgood Marshall, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. DuBois, James Anthony Bailey and many more. The first four sessions of the program have consisted of students learning what Aris is, what makes good storytelling, researching the historical figures in their neighborhood and beginning to set the scene for the game they are intending on creating. Thus far the youth have toyed with the idea of giving our detective special powers such as possession of a live body. As far as the plot for the game that will showcase the history of Hamilton Grange, students have decided to go against the missing persons trend the other sites have developed and create a bank robbery scenario that needs to be solved. While the story is still in its infancy, we are excited to see how the students develop this tale.

NYC Haunts at MS 391 - Learning How To Research 


Stephanie Duena of the Museum of the City of New York

Global Kids Leaders at MS 391 were treated to a special guest today when Stephanie Duena of the Museum of the City of New York paid a visit. She guided the students through a workshop on learning how to research a neighborhood through photo archives. The youth were able to see images over a century old depicting life in their neighborhood at the time.

Emoti-Con! Youth Action Team Launches 

IMG_0345.JPGLast Friday we kicked off our first meeting for this year’s Emoti-Con! planning committee, called the Youth Action Team or A-Team.

Emoti-Con! is an annual youth digital media and technology challenge, now in its third year. On June 2, 2012, over 150 New York City youth from programs throughout the five boroughs will gather to showcase digital media and technology projects designed for the betterment of the world, be inspired by their peers, and meet professionals in the field. Youth will compete for awards in multiple categories, including most innovative and best potential for social impact.

The A-Team is comprised of a group of high school students who will be helping to plan Emoti-Con! Some of their tasks leading up to the event will include: setting the agenda, choosing guest speakers, promotion and outreach, and designing a youth-led workshop.

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.