Playing 4 Keeps

From August 22-23, U.S. Partners in Learning Mid Tier Grantees (43 leaders representing 11 U.S. non-profit organizations) gathered in Redmond to dive deeper into scaling, evaluation, and sustainability issues at the Mid Tier Working Session II. The goal of U.S. PiL Mid Tier grants is to demonstrate how technology is a powerful tool in scaling education innovations. The day-and-a-half working session took place in Redmond and was facilitated by Allyson Knox, U.S. PiL Academic Program Manager; Dr. Chris Dede, Harvard professor and Mid Tier consultant; and Saul Rockman, president of Rockman et al and Mid Tier evaluation consultant. Grantees participated in thematic panel discussions on topics such as: "Risk Takers - Major Model Shifts to Achieve Scale," "Bringing 21st Century Skills to Life," and "Emerging Technologies to Achieve Scale." The U.S. PiL National Advisory Council members met with the Mid Tier grantees over dinner at the Microsoft Visitor's Center to share best practices, learn more about individual and collective Mid Tier projects, and simply celebrate this vibrant and innovative learning community. One Mid Tier grantee commented, "Many thanks for putting together such a power-packed-and pleasurable-meeting. I found it very valuable as did everyone else I talked with! Bravo!"

[P4K] Theodore's Journal from his Trip to Microsoft 

Theodore’s Travel Journal

Trip with Global Kids’ Playing 4 Keeps to the Microsoft Corporation

8-21-06 - NYC

Today I feel so happy because I am going to Seattle. I am getting kind of scared though because I was never on a plane but I wish I could go through this because I have to face my fears. I did not go to sleep yesterday. I was so excited I left my sweater at my house. That a bummer, isn’t it? But I don’t really need it because I checked the weather and it looks nice. I hope I meet Bill Gates. He is like my cousin. I hope he can give P4K that X-Box 360. I would be so happy.

8-22-06 - Seattle, before meeting

Today I am feeling good. I had a good sleep last night. I felt like a king. I wish we can sleep more but that’s work for you. You can’t expect anything more than waking up early. My goals for today are to call my mom and wish her a happy birthday. Also just to get through today without sleeping in the meeting. Another personal goal is that I should write in my journal so I can be on point.

[P4K] Time Magazine on Ayiti: The Cost of Life 

Time Magazine published the article "Do-Gooder Games," which covered a number of other games which were also visible at the Games For Change conference last June.

The article begins:

    Activist video games--which use whiz-bang formats to address real-world issues--are scoring high with both kids and teachers. Given the success of the U.N.'s aid-relief game Food Force (with more than 4 million downloads in 15 months) and the MTV-affiliated Darfur Is Dying (more than 800,000 players since April), techno do-gooders are proliferating, and gamers are saving the world.

Ayiti was going to be covered but, due to space limitations, was cut the day before printing. But due to a very suportive reporter, the article on the Web site includes the section on Ayiti as it was planned to run. It reads:

[P4K] Newsweek Article Features Socially Conscious Games 

Newsweek Magazine ran an online exclusive declaring that "activist games are starting to get some big-time attention" and they cite Global Kids' game on Haiti as being a prime example.

To read the full article, click here.

[P4K] "The World" Covers the Games for Change Conference 

Technology consultant, Clark Boyd, reporting for Public Radio International's The World radio show, a co-production of BBC, PRI, and WGBH, covered the recent Games for Change conference in New York City.

Within his coverage, he spotlights the Playing 4 Keeps game:

"It was a really interesting exposition of some different games that are out there, some of these serious games, and they range from a group of school kids in New York City who went about creating a game that lets you play a Haitian family, living in Haiti, and trying to not fall into poverty...they also try to keep the games open ended enough that different outcomes can result"

Listen to the full broadcast here.

[P4K] Video Game Designers Tackle Real World Problems 

Adam Phillips, writing for ‘Voice of America - Our World’, reported on the upcoming Global Kids, Playing 4 Keeps game focusing on Haiti, at the Games for Change conference that took place New York City.

An excerpt from his article is below.

The Games 4 Change conference also highlighted ways young people are being empowered to design their own game. At Global Kid's Playing 4 Keeps, an after school program in one New York City high school, students work with professional game designers to create a game based on a global issue of their choice.


Student designers in the afterschool Playing for Keeps program tackled the problems of life for Haiti's poor people in their video game.

[P4K] Business Week Mentions the Playing 4 Keeps Game 

A recent Business Week article mentioned our Playing 4 Keeps game in development, using its earlier title:Four Years in Haiti.

"A tiny handful of activist games are currently sponsored by corporations who recognize that an activist game can be a powerful marketing tool, at a time when social entrepreneurship and corporate philanthropy are making headlines... Microsoft (MSFT) funded another recent activist game, Four Years in Haiti, about poverty-stricken children in the Caribbean country and their struggles to find the resources to go to school. All of these big-brand sponsors benefit from associating themselves with a good cause."

To read the article in full click here.

[P4K] Ayiti in Article Spotlighting Ethical Games 

An article focusing on the development of ethical computer games was posted to the Telegraph.co.uk site and mentioned the P4K game on Haiti. It hightlights games made with 'real life' inspired content that tackle tough but important world issues. New York based, Games for Change, co-founded by Global Kids, was also mentioned within the article.

To read the article in full, click here.

[SL/P4K] Presenting at the Games For Change Conference 

Global Kids had a strong showing at the third annual Games For Change conference, an organization co-founded by Global Kids. Barry, Rafi, Afi, Lori and Zach were all there, as well as two students, Sanji and Theo.

On the first day we didn't step on the podium once but our work was touted on FOUR seperate occassion by other panelists. It was very flattering. At the end of the day, during the game expo, Theo and Sanji did a beautiful job showing off the Alpha of the P4K game and speaking to the press.

On the second day I presented on two panels, about our work in Second Life, the development of the P4K game, and about games and learning. Here is a photo from one of the panels:

[P4K] GK Leader Presents on Prestigious Gaming Panel 

On June 7th, at the Museum of Television and Radio, GK P4K leader DeWayne sat on a panel with noted game and learning theoreticians James Paul Gee (U. of Wisconsin) and Henry Jenkins (M.I.T.).

DeWayne did a beautiful job describing the P4K program, our game Ayiti: the Cost of Life, and how the game is designed to teach a complex message in a fun way.

A transcript of the event is anticipated, so watch this space for more.