Latest Entries...

NYC Haunts, Now at a GK School Near You! 

What stories does your neighborhood have to tell?


Global Kids is excited to announce that NYC Haunts -- our signature program where youth create a mobile, augmented reality game exploring local history and contemporary issues -- is blasting out to three Global Kids schools this Spring! In a pilot project supported by the Hive Learning Network NYC and the New York Community Trust, students at the School for Human Rights in Brooklyn, the High School for Global Citizenship, and Long Island City High School are creating geo-locative games and helping GK educators experiment with and stretch the NYC Haunts curriculum in advance of a roll out at several Global Kids schools next Fall. 


Hive partner organizations the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Exposure Camp, and The Point will also host Haunts pilots this Summer.



In addition to iterating on past versions of the program conducted in collaboration with the New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries, this year's pilot will test out a new augmented-reality game design engine, TaleBlazer, currently being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Researchers and software developers at MIT are closely supporting the program to help Global Kids learn all of the features of the program and help measure student learning outcomes.


The games, which will follow the footsteps of a ghost detective, will engage both game designers and players. Designers create a digital trek through a neighborhood, dropping in clues such as audio clips, videos, and photos, to help solve the mystery and uncover the neighborhood’s history. Youth research the ghost’s story, the social, environmental, or economic conditions in the city that might have caused its demise, and imagine the steps players can take to help the ghost move on and cease its haunting. In the process, youth learn to research and curate content to help other youth understand the plight of the ghost, explore contemporary issues or a particular moment in neighborhood history and develop their digital media, critical thinking, and communications skills. 


Kylan and Angel, from left, middle schoolers at School for Human Rights, play a location-based game created by Tommy, right, and his classmates at School for International Studies this past summer. Angel and Kylan will create their own game this spring.


We'd also love to share a poem written by Angel (pictured above) after playing a first example location-based game with our NYC Haunts program this January. Enjoy!

Today was another average day at GK.
We made a change and saved the Day.
We used our androids our feet and more
To help a dad and drop the ball
The dad we help lost his dog bacon
When we were done home he was taken
I love location based game
because we move around to get to our aim
meet us next time to learn and see more
and be apart of GK down to the core

- Angel, Age 14

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.


GK at Maker Faire 

This weekend, two intrepid students from Global Kids' In School Youth program took the long subway ride out from the International Arts Business School at the Wingate campus in Flatbush to the New York Hall of Science in Queens to participate in the annual Maker Faire.



They marveled at extravagant Lego creations and robots of all shapes and functions, checked out the life-sized mouse trap and the boxcar derby, and drank fruit smoothies. They also engaged those passing through NYC Hive's section of the Young Makers tent in interactive "choose your own adventure" storytelling using the platform Twine.



Clayderman and Deion began the story:

You wake up on a beach by your home. You see some driftwood and a metal bat. Which do you choose to pick up, the metal bat or the driftwood?

From there, each Maker Faire attendee who stopped by added a passage and a link or two to the story.  By the end of the day, the tale included playing softball with coconuts, talking fish, and snapping turtles. Check it out here. Be prepared: it is very much a rough cut and there are some broken links -- none of the Makers at the event wanted to end the story!


Deion from GK's ISY program helps two Maker Faire attendees add their passage to the interactive story.


Thanks to Hive for inviting us to take part!