NYC Haunts

NYC Haunts at MS 391 - The Great Poe Park Mystery 



Global Kids leaders guiding the Great Poe Park Mystery

The Global Kids Leaders from MS 391 proudly presented the final version of their game "The Great Poe Park Mystery." Five of the dedicated students who devoted time, energy and creativity to make this location based game presented to youth at the Fordham library discussing their process for the game, the local history that inspired them, and the mechanics of how the game will work once they test it. Joshua took charge in giving the group a guided tour beginning at the front of the Fordham library.

The youth were guided throughout the park, learning about its farmland past and the changes it has seen over time in terms of the pollution in the area. During gameplay we discovered a glitch in our programming where due to there being multiple players and only one of an item needed to move to the next goal. After visiting characters and finding clues they were able to discover part of the mystery of their character. The game concluded by asking players to either sign a petition to continue supporting sustainable legislation in the Bronx or create a short video message about actions they would take to combat pollution.

NYC Haunts at Seward Park - The Story Unfolds 


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This week the youth continued their research of the neighborhood and built upon the plans that had been formulated the week before. Author Nina Malkin paid a visit to help guide the young leaders in connecting their ideas to a coherent storyline that fit the NYC Haunts canon. Without giving their entire story away, the issues that were highlighted were labor rights and particularly the struggles faced by young immigrant women in search of employment. A much darker tale than its predecessor in the Bronx, we can't wait to see what our Ghost Detective learns about their past in Seward Park!

NYC Haunts at Seward Park Library - Researching the Neighborhood 


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Youth at the Seward Park New York Public Library branch agree on one thing - their neighborhood is delicious. The eclectic food options available in the area is in direct correlation to the rich history of immigration to the Lower East Side. While the storyline they will be developing for their game is still in its infancy, they are interested in having players learn about local history while showcasing the diversity of food in their neighborhood. The young leaders spent the session researching historical events that occurred in their neighborhood.

NYC Haunts at MS 391 - Visiting Poe Cottage 

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Youth play testing game with Global Kids staff member Juan Rubio and author Nina Malkin

With a preliminary version of the game completed Global Kids Leaders made their way to the local Poe Park to play test the game they've created using the ARIS platform. The game begins with the player being requested to solve a case of a missing child - speaking to various characters which give a glimpse into the history of the area and providing commentary on how the declining air quality has affected the population.

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Global Kids Leaders on the porch of Edgar Allan Poe's Cottage

After testing the game, the youth took a tour of the former home of Edgar Allan Poe - the "Father of Detective Stories" as told by guide Angel Hernandez. The cottage is located only a short walk north of the New York Public Library Fordham branch. Since Poe is a central character in the detective game they are creating, youth were able to gain further insight into the man and learn about his time spent in the Bronx.

NYC Haunts at MS 391 - Playing Dow Day 

photo.JPGStudents were introduced to the ARIS Game Dow Day in order for them to see an example of how historical narrative can be integrated into gameplay. Using the iPads they explored the protests at University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1967. Using the game as a base, the students felt they had a better concept of how they could manipulate their own storyline to work within the system. They were most excited to see in action how items and characters remained hidden until the player was done with certain tasks or quests. They are excited to finally get a chance to do their first play test on location next week.

Global Kids NYC Haunts at MS 391 - Building with Aris 

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Global Kids Staff Member Juan Rubio and students from MS 391 plotting the game storyline


This week students worked at further developing the storyline for as yet untitled game they have been working on. After working with author Nina Malkin last week they were able to figure out a general story arc and are now focusing on the details of figuring out how to use the game mechanics to showcase it. After walking through the flowchart of the game, the students were finally able to have a hands on experience with the Aris alpha editor. Each one learned how to create an object and place it on the map, debating what would be best to represent aspects of the game. It was great to see them take ownership of the technology and assisting one another without prompting, showcasing the understanding that collaboration is a key element in being able to create the best game possible.

Global Kids NYC Haunts at Seward Park Library - Day 2 

Students at the Seward Park library began the process of learning game mechanics by testing several types of card and board games. Using Story Cubes and Once Upon A Time, students were able to discuss the importance of a coherent story and more importantly, working collaboratively towards a narrative. It was emphasized that they should begin seeing themselves as working as a team and to allow their ideas to develop and grow with the help of the other students. We then followed up with a game of Clue and discussed the benefits and disadvantages of complex gaming. The prior games depended on the players to create the narrative while Clue had one already built in. Students saw how a storyline works within gameplay and how can clues be effectively used to solve a mystery. We're excited to see how these skills will be applied to the ARIS based mystery game the students will create.

Global Kids NYC Haunts at Seward Park Library - Day 1 

pickle-guys-exterior.jpgIt was an energetic start to the NYC Haunts program at the Seward Park branch of the New York Public Library. A group of 8th grade students from the area came in to learn about the basics of the program and how it has progressed since its premier this past spring. Students were excited to learn they were a part of a growing serialized project and were already excitedly coming up with suggestions and locations to incorporate before even being introduced to the technology. We watched the video created by the New York Public Library of the students from MS 391 testing out their creation which gave the students a bit more context as to how a scavenger hunt using mobile devices would work.

NYC Haunts - visit to the Bronx Library Center and Poe's Cottage 

Global Kids youth leaders from MS 391 who are creating the second installment of NYC Haunts (a geo-locative game using the platform ARIS), went on a trip to the Bronx Library Center and Edgar Allan Poe's cottage in the Bronx this past Tuesday. At the library, they started mapping the game using flowcharts with plot points from research they conducted about Edgar Allan Poe and his time living in the Bronx. Youth leaders were interested in answering questions about Poe such as if he had any children or if he earned a living from writing only.

After the brainstorming session, they went to Poe's park to see the cottage and take pictures of the place that they will later use in the game.

Presenting storyboard for game

The news is out: Funding for City Kids and Teens to Geek Out Anytime, Anywhere: $590,000 for 12 Groups that Help Kids Connect and Learn through Digital Media. These funds are part of an effort from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The New York Community Trust to expand the possibilities for digital learning.

In general, the latest round of grants will help develop and expand projects that use smart phones, iPads, social networks, and programming skills to help students become media makers as well as consumers, connecting the social and academic and making the world a better place.

Global Kids is thrilled to have receive funding from four proposals submitted in the latest round:

Civic Geocaching
This is a spring program in which GK youth will identify a civic issue and educate their peers and their community through a scavenger hunt-style activity called geocaching. It will be developed in partnership with youth and staff at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. A second proposal will support us to work with Mills College to evaluate the program.