Playing 4 Keeps

With early support from the Surdna Foundation, followed by the Microsoft Corporation and AMD, Global Kids established itself as an innovative leader in using online games to promote global awareness and engaged citizenship. Through the Playing 4 Keeps program, Global Kids trains urban youth to think critically about game design and develop games about important world issues using online games as a form of youth media. Through the Playing 4 Keeps Capacity Building Program, Global Kids trains other organizations, like libraries in New York City and computer labs in Boston-based public housing, to implement their own version of the program. In addition, youth in Global Kids programs often consult other organizations in their development of Games For Change, a term coined by the organization of the same name co-founded by Global Kids to promote the use of games by non-profits. Currently, Playing For Keeps is focused on supporting youth-led game design competitions, such as the National STEM Video Game Challenge and AMD Social Impact Challenge with E-Line Media and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center

Youth Game Designers Shine at Emoti-Con 

This weekend, 16 students from 5 programs represented Global Kids at Hive's annual Emoti-Con youth digital media challenge!

 

 

Participants in GK's NYC Haunts program from the School for Human Rights and the High School for Global Citizenship showed off the location-based games they had made about local and global social issues.

 

Lyndon, Shavonne, and Jania of HSGC watch as a playtester at Emoti-Con tries out "Life as a First in the Field," their game about Jackie Robinson's experiences with racism and discrimination.

 

Playing for Keeps students from the Citywide program and at Global Neighborhood Secondary School presented games for change they had made using Scratch and Gamestar Mechanic.

 


Malak and Aya (right) from GNSS present their game to two students who said they could identify with the challenges faced by the player character, a young immigrant.

 

All of our students -- whether they came to present or just to be attentive, curious audience members -- truly shined.

 

Special shout out to Payton (a 6th grader) and Keron (an 8th grader) from School for Human Rights who impressed the judges with their presentations about the location-based game they made with their peers about gun violence, Keep Wingate Safe. They placed in the top 5 and stood on stage in front of over 200 people to talk about their work! They took away badges for Point of View and Most Social Impact.

 

 

We would like to thank all of the Global Kids trainers, the NYC Hive Learning Network, the Emoti-Con Steering Committee, and the judges, and keynotes who made this day possible.

 

Think, Design, Playtest, Change... CELEBRATE! 

By now, many of the middle schoolers at GK's Playing for Keeps program at Global Neighborhood Secondary School in East Harlem know the steps of the game design process: they've brainstormed ideas, drafted game design documents, made paper prototypes and flowcharts, tested out their ideas, and used the program Scratch to code their games or have used Gamestar Mechanic to design them. On June 3, there was one last step: show off!

 

Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade game designers came together to present their games for change to their classmates, teachers, and administrators at the school. As students discussed and discovered throughout the semester, while the video games they most often play are entertaining and fun, games can also convey social messages, demonstrate a point of view, and raise awareness about global and local issues.

 

 

Guests had a chance to check out students' formal presentations, could browse posters the students made about their games, and playtest the finished products (or in some cases, works in progress).

 

 

The Scratch games presented included "Journey of an Immigrant Kid" by seventh graders Malak and Aya, who themselves immigrated from Yemen and Egypt when they were younger. They used the game to explore a local angle on the issue of global migration. Their game stars a 12-year old recent immigrant who must navigate the school cafeteria, avoiding bullies who say negative comments about how she speaks English and the hijab she wears. She can boost her self-esteem by collecting positive comments.

 

 

Their classmate, eighth grader Mark, created a version of the game on Gamestar Mechanic which in many ways shadowed his own experiences arriving from the Philippines at the start of the school year. His game involves talking to intolerant classmates and educating them about immigration and immigrant rights. He included several facts that he had researched.

 

 

Check out Malak and Aya's game on Scratch!

 

 

Other games:

Don't get caught by the bullies by Max and Anthony

Animal Abuse game by Jenaya and Jojo

 

Global Kids is excited to continue our partnership with GNSS in the Fall, and can't wait to see what the students come up with next.

 

GK OLP Partners with Digital Ready Schools 

Since 2002, youth have worked with Global Kids staff and game designers to develop games that address global social issues. This year, we're broadening the reach of our signature Playing for Keeps program, as we partner with the Department of Education's Digital Ready initiative to use social impact game design to equip students at collaborating schools with the digital literacy and communication skills they need for college and careers.

 


Sean, of Hudson High School for Learning Technologies presents the user-persona he and his group developed during a recent P4K field trip to meet professional designers at the BrainPOP offices.

 

Students from three Digital Ready high schools -- Satellite Academy, Hudson High School for Learning Technologies, and Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School -- attend weekly workshops where they put game design vocabulary and concepts into practice using tools such as Gamestar Mechanic and Scratch. Students also conduct research on a topic they care about. As they create their games about global social issues, youth integrate STEM concepts they learn in the classroom into the iterative design process, learn to work as part of a team, and facilitate their own workshops.

 


Another group of P4K youth (including 2013 alum, and former BrainPOP intern, Kendell, and Satellite HS student, Garai) prep their presentation at the BrainPOP offices.

 

As part of the initiative, Global Kids is working with educators at the three schools to align Playing for Keeps curriculum to state learning standards; possibly allowing the 15 participating students to receive academic credit for creating their games and teaching others about game design back at their schools and at other venues. 

 


Students from Digital Ready schools take the game design engine, Scratch for a test drive.

Game Design Expo at GNSS 

As 2013 wound down, students at Global Neighborhood Secondary School in GK's Playing for Keeps program were anything but checked out for the holidays. They had spent weeks developing, prototyping, playtesting, and iterating video games using the platform Gamestar Mechanic, and were ready to show off the fruits of their labor.

 

 

Overcoming their nerves and shyness, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders stood up in front of an audience of their classmates and teachers to speak about the elements of their games (space, rules, goals, components, and mechanics) and the process taken to complete them.

 

 

 

Other students got a chance to playtest the games that P4Kers spent a good deal of time developing.

 

 

As we slide into January, students at GNSS have already started to learn the platform Scratch, which they will use to make Games for Change about social issues that are important to them. Looking forward to Emoti-Con!

 

Playing for Keeps Kick Off 

This Fall, dozens of middle and high schoolers are transforming into game designers as Global Kids' signature program, Playing for Keeps, ramps up at schools around the city and at GK headquarters.

 

Students at the School for Human Rights in Flatbush, Global Neighborhood Secondary School in East Harlem, and I.S. 109 in East Flatbush have been taking a deep dive into the core elements of a game -- creating their own games from found objects, hacking classics like Tic-Tac-Toe and Rock Paper Scissors, and designing, iterating and playtesting levels on Gamestar Mechanic software.

 

As part of a Department of Education initiative, Global Kids is working with educators at four "Digital Ready" high schools -- Satellite Academy, Hudson High School for Learning Technologies, Academy of Innovative Technologies, and Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School -- to align Citywide P4K curriculum to state learning standards; possibly allowing the 19 participating students to receive academic credit for creating serious games about global issues and facilitating workshops on game design back at their schools and at other venues.

 

Next steps for these students include creating game design documents to outline how they will integrate a global issue into the core elements of their games.

 

Check out the photos below for the highlights!

 

Sixth graders at GNSS break down the core elements of the game of Tag.

 


Jada presents "Castle Run" a game she and her partners at SHR created out of found objects.

 


A found object game featuring the core mechanic, balancing, presented at SHR.

 

High Schoolers from Digital Ready schools ponder how to add chance to Tic-Tac-Toe.

 

Playing for Keeps' Kick Off 

This Fall, dozens of middle and high schoolers have been transformed into game designers as Global Kids' signature program, Playing for Keeps, ramps up at schools around the city and at GK headquarters.

 

Students at the School for Human Rights in Flatbush, Global Neighborhood Secondary School in East Harlem, and I.S. 109 in East Flatbush have been taking a deep dive into the core elements of a game -- creating their own games from found objects, hacking classics like Tic-Tac-Toe and Rock Paper Scissors, and designing, iterating and playtesting levels on Gamestar Mechanic software.

 

 

As part of a Department of Education initiative, 19 students at four "Digital Ready" high schools -- Satellite Academy, Hudson High School for Learning Technologies, Academy of Innovative Technologies, and Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School --  will be receiving academic credit for creating serious games about global issues with Citywide P4K and facilitating workshops on game design back at their schools and at other venues.

 

Next steps for these students include creating game design documents to outline how they will integrate a global issue into the core elements of their games.

 

Check out the photos below for the highlights!

 

Sixth graders at GNSS break down the core elements of the game of Tag.

 


Jada presents "Castle Run" a game she and her partners at SHR created out of found objects.

 


A found object game featuring the core mechanic, balancing, presented at SHR.

 

High Schoolers from Digital Ready schools ponder how to add chance to Tic-Tac-Toe.

 

Playing for Keeps - Session 2 

The students of the second Playing for Keeps session walked in and sat down quietly. Most of them did not know each other, but all it took was one question - "So, what games do you all play?" - for them to break out into animated chatter.

 

After the great success of the first Playing for Keeps session, we were excited to welcome the students of the second session - and they did not disappoint. The students came in with new ideas, genuine curiosity, and infectious enthusiasm. Using MIT's game design platform Scratch, the students were able to create some truly creative and entertaining games based on important issues that affect us today. 

 

Hard at work on their games!

 

Of course, to design a game, we had to start at the basics. Like Session 1, we began by challenging the students to creating a representation of a movie out of Legos pieces. This activity helped them start thinking creatively about the characters, story, space, and how to deal with limited resources (in this case, Legos pieces and time). They were able to create some amazing things with just Legos pieces - including a surprisingly realistic clownfish from Finding Nemo, and a whole scene from Monsters, Inc., complete with multiple characters. 

 

Playing for Keeps Session 1 

Students at SIS were joined by middle schoolers from around the city to take part in Global Kids' signature "Playing for Keeps" program. They used MIT's open source video game design software, Scratch, to program and design games about environmental issues ranging from pollution ("Pollution's no Illusion" by Jayme, Julisa and Summit) to habitats (Wildlife Takeback by Robert, Gabriel and Patrick). It was an exhilarating week of hands-on activities that exposed students to the elements of a game and content about population density supplied by NASA. All throughout, students kept blogs documenting their learning.

 

Students completing a Lego Challenge where they have to create an immage based on a story that they were assigned.

 

On the first day of the program, after a warm-up that involved representing movie plots with legos, the students learned to name the core elements of a game by identifying those elements in classic games such as Rock, Paper, Scissors and soccer. They chose specific elements of a game that they wanted to change, and noticed how their jams affected game play. They were also introduced to Scratch and learned basic functions using the Scratch Program.

 

Simulating Inequality - P4K Gamers at Hungercraft 2.0 

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What happens when resources are unequally distributed? Do citizens learn to cooperate and trade? Or is violence inevitable?

 

Those were some of the questions pondered by Global Kids’ Playing For Keeps youth leaders at Hungercraft 2.0, an event at the Main Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on Saturday, March 30. Using a special world created by Minecraft Edu inspired by the popular books The Hunger Games, they faced off against the teens in Brooklyn Public Library’s T4 program (Today’s Teens, Tomorrow’s Techies).