Great video of NYC HS students playing 'Ayiti' and sharing their thoughts 


On the one year anniversary of the 2009 earthquake in Haiti, NYC school teacher Paul Allison used Global Kids' Ayiti to teach his 10th graders about both gaming and the country. This remarkable video interviews all of the students about their views on the game, on using games for education, and models how a teacher can use a game to challenge students to think critically.

Make sure to stay to the end when the students grab the camera and turn it back on their teacher!

View Paul's original blog post here

‘Newsgames’ Turns Current Events Into Games

By Charles Q. Choi, TechNewsDaily Contributor, 07 February 2011 11:09 AM ET

Online “newsgames” that borrow from real-life events are helping to educate players about current events in novel ways.

Newsgames essentially transform the news into playable experiences. Just like news, they focus on real people, events and places, and they seek to explain complicated topics in clear ways. Many newsgames are online, requiring only a web browser and an Internet connection to play.

"With newsgames, people are more than just reading the news, they're actively interacting with it," said one newsgame developer, Nicholas Diakopoulos, a computer scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

"They're not going to replace traditional reporting or text or images or video or other forms of media, but they can get readers to engage with information in a different way, and that could make the news more persuasive, or enable learning and insight about news information in a new way."

Global Kids Youth Leaders in the NYC Haunts program took a trip this week to the Bronx Library Center. They are exploring local history and global issues to build a geolocative game using SCVNGR. The video clips below were filmed by the students on iPad 2 which they had receive just minutes earlier. They received an extensive tour of the library and its resources after talking a walk on the Grand Concourse. As they saw the remains of the fifth largest movies theater in the country, a supermarket which bore the marks of the Synagogue before it, and more, we challenged them to think about how the Bronx was important to both their families and past residents of note, like Edgar Allan Poe.

NYC Haunts: Global Kids collaborates with The New York Public Library 

Global Kids has formed a partnership with The New York Public Library to start the NYC Haunts program. NYC Haunts is a pilot program in which middle school students from the Bronx will design and create a location based game using mobile technology and the online platform SCVNGR. Sarah, my colleague, and I went to kick off the program this past Wednesday at MS 391 in the Bronx.

GK youth leaders playtest UNICEF game from Korea 

Today six Global Kids interns had the exciting experience of testing a new game being developed for UNICEF by game designer Peter Lee to teach about providing humanitarian relief.

It was educational, engaging AND complex. Afterwards, the youth provided feedback. We talked about both the game and the content within the game, addressing recent disasters like the current situation in Japan.

Peter, in town from Korea, will be play-testing it with some other youth in NYC and then return to move the game development forward. Peter and his international crew had developed this game during a youth summer camp, using not just the board, but cellphones, QR codes and more.

Everyone at Global Kids looks forward to watching how the game develops and wish the development team luck along the way.

A 6-Year-Olds Perspective on Playing Ayiti... 

Even years after its launch, we are still delighted to see, week after week, examples of how people find Ayiti: The Cost of Life useful for developing a broader awareness of global issues. The following, however, is most unusual, as it describes the experience of a 6 year old! Thank you to Ching-fu Lan for sending it over.

You can read the original post on Columbia University's EdLab blog, or below:

Ayiti: The Cost of Life Sent Appreciations on Thanksgiving 

The Jay Is Games web gaming review site named Global Kids Ayiti: The Cost of Life as one of "the greatest games of yesteryear."

This life sim game is just as relevant now as it was in 2006. However, since this game is about grinding poverty in Haiti, that's not necessarily a good thing. Reading news articles about the cholera outbreak, I couldn't help but think of playing game after game of Ayiti. One game, I'd manage to eke out a pretty nice existence for the family; the next game, I'd watch helplessly as family members succumbed one by one to cholera, tuberculosis, and overwork, then died either from the illness itself or because with no one working, there was no one to buy food. And yet, the game never succumbs to cynicism, clinging indomitably to hope. The message I came away with is to open your eyes and really take a look around you at all the opportunities you've taken for granted, and to think about how to help people who haven't had the same opportunities. I can't think of a better message for the Thanksgiving holiday.

virtual mine launch today

Today at 5pm PST I am honored to be participating in the launch of a new educational game about sustainable energy called "Virtual Mine." 

The Virtual Mine is an innovative multi-player game inspired by the documentary "Deep Down" and built in the world’s most popular virtual world, Second Life, by developers at Sand Castle Studios. The Virtual Mine is a recreated town and power production system with a working mountaintop removal coal mine, power plant, and an emerging power crisis that players must solve through the game.  The project includes videos, an unfolding story, and curriculum for teachers to use in the classroom.

I will be speaking at the launch event along with Second Life journalist Bernhard Drax (Draxtor Depres), filmmakers Jen Gilomen (Girl Tenk) and Sally Rubin (Tracks Elcano), Wendy Levy of the Bay Area Video Coalition (Shayna Capalini), and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth's Beth Rosdatter (Frederica Lexenstar).

Review of IBM's CityOne Game on Sustainable City Planning 

Cityone centricity screenshotWe received the news that IBM has launched the "CityOne" online game, designed to teach the public "how to better cope with complex modern problems by showing them the forest of solutions that have to be brought to bear, ranging from technological wizardry like smart grids, to better IT, to smart environmental policy."

Unfortunately, the game, while content-rich, fails to provide an engaging and entertaining user-experience.

The game trailer has graphics and an action-y feel that are pretty deceptive, compared to the real game experience. The idea of combining ecological awareness with city planning is a pretty killer concept that I think could have worked with the right developer.

GK Supports High School Teachers to Incorporate Games-Based Learning 

"This project has pushed me off the diving board straight into the pool. Fortunately, the pool was not shark-infested. It was full of eager 7th graders who are non-judgmental of a teacher who tells them that we will be working on game design for the entire semester but teacher dearest does not like to play games, has not played many games in her lifetime, and really does not plan on playing games much. How this was going to work was a mystery to me. I was anxious to have workshops with Global Kids because I knew I was out of my element."

Read more about what happened when six New York City high school teachers, coordinated by the National Writing Project, sought assistance from Global Kids to bring their own designs for games-based learning into their classrooms.

Paul Allison, technology liaison at the New York City Writing Project, coordinated this demonstration project and wrote the following overview, which we are delighted to now be able to share with you.