Digital Media and Learning Collaborations  

IMG_7151.jpgGlobal Kids was recently invited by the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building for their meeting “Digital Media and Learning Collaborations in Multicultural Contexts: Forging A Strategic Plan”, held in Atlanta, Georgia from January 27-28, 2011. The meeting, in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative, brought together about 30 faculty and researchers affiliated with UNCF member historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges. The purpose was to encourage dialogue among educators and explore digital media and learning initiatives as it relates to the education of K-16 youth from diverse backgrounds, and to suggest recommendations for a strategic plan in a few areas.

The first day included digital media and learning project demonstrations, an overview of the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Initiative, and a keynote presentation by S. Craig Watkins, Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of the book, “The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future.”

Update on Badges for Learning and Global Kids' Reports 

Earlier this week I spent two days at the Digital Media and Learning Badge Workshop in New York City. It was a tremendously stimulating and useful session.

First of all, it was remarkable to hear how much is going on right now around badges as a form of alternative assessment and learning. Carnegie convened a meeting late last year and Gates/MacArthur held one last week (in which top game designers taught top assessment researchers what they knew). The MacArthur learning networks, at the national and local level, is interested in exploring badges, as is a number of government agencies. Things, clearly, are happening.

At the same time, I ended up facilitating a session to map the history of badges and learning, in large part because I know so little about this and wanted to learn more. It became clear that while badge systems have been in use for some time (by the scouts, military, judo practitioners, etc.), research on their educational effects and current examples are hard to find.

Talking about Virtual Worlds for 2011 BAVC Producers Institute  

Producers Institute for New MediaLast Saturday, I had the honor of addressing an audience of about 150 documentary makers and new media experts at the Tribeca Film Center on the subject of virtual worlds and new forms of storytelling.  It was part of the awesome Producers Institute for New Media Technologies, a two-week long crash course for documentary filmmakers on integrating digital media and storytelling, organized by the nice folks at the Bay Area Video Coalition

This Saturday, January 8, I will be presenting at a conference on the intersection of documentary filmmaking and new media as part of the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies. Sponsored by the Bay Area Video Coalition, the Producers Institute brings together up-and-coming documentary filmmakers with specialists in digital media for a two-week intensive camp focused on developing next generation storytelling tools and products.

On January 8, there will be a public Conference Day held at Tribeca Cinemas featuring panel discussions and presentations on emerging tools and platforms that are changing the face of filmmaking and empowering social change movements around the world. I will be speaking in the afternoon on virtual worlds, along with an impressive panel talking about mobile tech, gaming, augmented reality, and many other cool tools for activists and documentarians.

For more details and to register to attend, see the BAVC website.

GKid Teengrid Transfer Open Forum (22)

Here is a report on the Youth Forum on the Teen Grid Merger that Global Kids held yesterday afternoon on Global Kids Island.  It was a fun and insightful conversation with twenty or so excited avatars, most of whom had never been involved in Global Kids programs before, as far as I could tell. 

Come to the Youth Forum on the Teen Grid Merger December 29 

The 3/14/07 teen panel talking about GK programs in SL in the past year

Global Kids invites all Teen Second Life residents to a Youth Forum on the Teen Grid Merger this Wednesday, December 29 from 3-4pm PST. It will take place on Global Kids island on the Teen Grid of Second Life at this teleport link.

Global Kids will be providing a safe and moderated space for teens to make their views known about the Teen Grid merger with the Main Grid, which is taking place in early January 2011.  If your teens can not come at that time, we will have drop boxes on site so they can leave notecards whenever they want. Or they can leave their comments in this post. 

Speaking about Global Kids around the Country: OLP 09-10 Year-end Review 

NOTE: This is the second in a series of year-end reflections on the Online Leadership Program during the 2009-2010 school year.

Here at Global Kids' Online Leadership Program (OLP) we love to talk about our work with Global Kids youth leaders and supporting other institutions to use digital media for learning. Over the past year, the Global Kids Online Leadership Program has had several opportunities to present about our work at several conferences and gatherings around the country. This included events sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the MacArthur Foundation, WebWise, Games for Change, the National Youth Leadership Council and the National Writing Project. Notably, at the first "Digital Media and Learning Conference" in San Diego, California, Global Kids presented on four different panels on our work to other educators, academics and funders. Throughout all of our speaking engagements, we were at over twenty various events and reached about 1,200 people.

game development program offers opportunities youth development 

The UK Based Learning and Teaching focused site, Becta, recently published a best practices case study about Global Kids' Playing 4 Keeps program.

Recognising that games are a form of ‘youth media’ Global Kids recognised game design can be a vehicle for engaging children in addressing critical world issues. As such they have developed a number of programmes, such as Playing For Keeps (P4K), which which pairs Global Kids youth leaders with game developers to produce web-based games. The P4K programme trains urban students to think critically about game design and develop games about important world issues. These games include:

  • Ayiti: The Cost of Life - a role play game which looks at Haitian poverty (
  • Hurricane Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City – a game which looks at the effect of Hurricane Katrina
  • CONSENT! A virtual-world based game within Second Life about the history of medical racism against African American prisoners since WWII.

You can find the full case study on the Becta website.


Roundtable on Virtual Worlds and Nonprofits July 2010
You are cordially invited to "Creating A Better World, " a Global Kids' Roundtable on Virtual Worlds and Nonprofits on Tuesday July 20, 2010. The event will take place from 12-1pm PST at the Plush Nonprofit Commons Amphitheater in the virtual world of Second Life (teleport link). Representatives of six nonprofit organizations will give brief presentations on their initial explorations of Second Life and other virtual worlds, and how they are thinking of integrating these virtual tools into their organizations' respective missions. Afterwards, there will be an open discussion about the applications of virtual worlds for various public good purposes.

The event is open to the public, with a special welcome to nonprofits, activists, educators, and developers.

Meeting of the Minds: Youth, Social Media and Education 

What is really going on with youth and social media? Are there benefits—educational and life-long—to young people's use of social media? Find out in this discussion featuring danah boyd, social media researcher and guru, and a panel of experts, as they discuss how social media, technology, and education interact and enhance learning both in and out of the classroom.

Reactor panel:

  • Barry Joseph, Director Online Leadership Program, Global Kids
  • Jessica Hochman, Assistant Professor, LMS, Coordinator, Pratt School of Library and Information Science
  • Linda W. Braun, Educational Technology Consultant, Adjunct Faculty, Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science
  • Program Facilitator: Jack Martin, Assistant Director of Public Programs / Lifelong Learning, The New York Public Library