Gaming

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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.

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.

P4K Internship Program Begins 

6305693181_0bb5a33716_m.jpg On Tuesday, Global Kids’ Online Leadership Program launched this year’s “Playing 4 Keeps” internship program. 25 high school students were selected from a pool of applicants and will meet once a week on Tuesdays at Global Kids’ office for the entire school year. P4K Interns will play games, design social impact games using Gamestar Mechanic, meet professionals in the game design field, act as judges in a national competition, and develop leadership skills.

Global Kids Youth Leaders met GK staffers, Daria and Barry, as well as staff members Scott and Michael from our partner E-Line Media. E-Line Media is an educational game publishing company that developed Gamestar Mechanic.

In this first session, youth developed their first game using found objects to address social issues. For example, one group used a toy bear, a marble, and two tennis balls to create a game called “Feed the Bear” about animal cruelty and wildlife preservation. Another group created a game about pollution and a third group created a game to address famine. Afterwards, youth created their accounts in Gamestar Mechanic.

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.

"Playing 4 Keeps" Internship Program Accepting Applications 

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Do you play online games? Ever wonder what it would be like to make one? What if that game could teach people about an important social issue, like racism or police profiling? In the P4K internship, teens will work with GK staff to learn about global issues, game design skills, and how game design companies make games.

By year’s end, youth will have played games, designed games for social good, visited game design companies, and developed leadership skills. In addition, they will have designed and launched two online game design challenges to their peers around the country. The program will partner with game publishers E-line Media.

About the Program

Commitment
Each student intern is required to put in a minimum of 2 hours per week at Global Kids’ office in Manhattan, every Tuesday from 4:00pm-6:00pm from November 2011 through June 2012. All absences must be excused in advance or, in the case of emergencies, excused afterwards. Occasionally, students may be asked to come in during school holidays or weekends for field trips or special events.