Global Kids presenting at the Digital Media and Learning Conference 

GK panel at DML 2012 Last week, Global Kids and Global Kids' work was presented at the third annual Digital Media and Learning Conference, in San Francisco.

Global Kids organized one panel, which featured three of our staff member, two of our partners (New York Public Library and NYU's Games For Learning Institute), and three of our programs. We co-ran a table for HASTAC at the Mozilla Science Fair, where we spoke about three of our programs. And Myrna Rubel, a middle school principal, spoke on a second panel about our collaboration through a badging system.

Video from Beyond Game Play: Developing Youth Identity as Civic Minded Game Designers:

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

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.

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.


Global Kids staff member Barry Joseph has posted his review of Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media by Mizuko Ito, Becky Herr-Stephenson, Dan Perkel, and Christo Sims. You can check out the review by downloading the file. If you would like to learn more about the Journal of Play feel free to visit this site.

Playing 4 Keeps - Sixth Session  

In today's session of Playing 4 Keeps, youth looked at the game Sleepy Hollow, designed by GK Youth Leader Alex2nice4ya:

After playing the game, everyone contributed comments to it both on Gamestar Mechanic and in a large group discussion. This was the first time that the entire group critiqued a fellow member's game, so it was also a lesson about what makes a good critique (i.e. offering suggestions and helpful feedback) and what makes a bad critique.

Playing 4 Keeps - Fifth Session - IT'S FUNJACATIONAL! 

We did a lot today in Playing For Keeps.

First we discussed games as a form of communication and the responsibilities of game designers towards their players and society.

Then we used Tiltfactor's Grow-A-Game deck to develop some basic game design skills, and specifically skills associated with values-based games.

Finally, everyone learned how to use their new accounts HERE and start blogging their reflections on the program and posting their earliest game designs from Gamestar Mechanic. It was the first time we asked them to reflect on the program, as we enter the second month, and were impressed with both how much they are learning and how clearly they were able to talk about it:

"Games can be used as a tool to change the way people think and interact."

"Playing for Keeps has revolutionized the way I think about gaming as a whole... No longer will a game just be a game, but a transformed piece, an artistic creation, always with a purpose and always with a meaning."

"I was able to learn about decision making and what it takes to make a game worth playing."

"The activities ... cause us to open up and compose our own world which we control."

"This program has opened my eyes to another part of the gaming world, and I'm eager to learn more."

Playing 4 Keeps - Fourth Session  

We began today's Playing For Keeps program playing Get and Kill, a game by P4K youth leader hrishat.

Then we pretended to be playtesters, demoing a new game in development. The project goals were to make a fast-paced and challenging game that is still accessible to less experienced players. The programmers have provided a few variations on a game and we need to decide which version to develop further: Block, Frag or Points.

Making Games in Gamestar Mechanic

Later on we used the following game to explore ideas about game design:
Look Before You Leap

Finally, the youth went into Gamestar Mechanic to design their first games.

Playing 4 Keeps - Third Session  

This week in our third meeting of the Playing 4 Keeps program, Global Kids youth leaders spent time on Gamestar Mechanic completing the quest games. Several participants who have logged on from home have advanced and even started designing some of their own games! Afterwards, we focused on two game design concepts: games vs. play and emergence.

I chose a volunteer to create a simple game on Gamestar and as a group, we discussed the difference between “games” and “play”. We concluded that “play” is simply about doing something entertaining and fun, but a “game” has elements like goals, obstacles, and rules. However, just because a game has all of those elements does not make it a fun game.

We then discussed the concept of “emergence”, which is that complex systems develop out of a smaller set of simpler interactions. Youth brought up examples of games like Pac-Man, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, Tetris, and chess to talk about emergence. They mentioned that those games all have simple rules or actions, but when they interact with each other, they become difficult, complex, and interesting games that are also incredibly addictive.

Playing For Keeps Program - 2nd Session Update 

Yesterday we held our second meeting of the Playing For Keeps program, in which Global Kids youth leaders from around the city are learning about serious game design & Gamestar Mechanic and will collaborate with E-Line media (the folks who run Gamestar Mechanic) to create social issue game competitions.

This week - held on election day - the youth went into Gamestar for the first time, with the mission to complete the first "chapter" within the game. The teacher tools for tracking students were excellent, as we were able to project on the board youth's progress as an impromptu leader board. (I can also see now, less than 24 hours later, than three of the students kept playing last night). Many of the youth leaders looked as equally shocked as surprised when we said they were allow to continue playing Gamestar at home, between our sessions.