The Edge Project

The Edge Project was an initiative of Global Kids, Inc., funded by the MacArthur Foundation. It aimed to expand the capacity of civic and cultural institutions to use digital media as innovative educational platforms that engage youth in learning and promote youth civic participation.

More specifically, the Edge Project was interested in civic and cultural institutions bringing cutting-edge digital media into their youth educational programs. It was equally interested in where this type of programming can be a disruptive force challenging the educators and/or the institutional cultural to work on the edge of their comfort level.

At the end of the day, we wanted to better understand the following question: How do institutions find their balance working on this edge?

Global Kids' Edge Projects explored this and other questions over two years (2009-2011) through a series of short-term educational programs developed and implemented in partnership with a variety of national civic and cultural institutions that are exemplars within their communities of practice:


  • The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (Charlotte, NC)
  • Dane County Jail (Madison, WI)
  • The Field Museum (Chicago, IL)
  • Jail North (Charlotte, NC)
  • Madison Public Library (Madison, WI)
  • MOUSE (NY, NY)
  • The Museum For African Art (NY, NY)
  • The New York Public Library (NY, NY)
  • The Noguchi Museum (NY, NY)
  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, D.C.)

This report will offer the following:

Today I had the opportunity to speak at the #140edu conference at the 92nd Street Y. It's a great gathering where presenters have 15 minutes to address the intersection of digital media and learning.

I decided to talk about our Edge Projects, as we now come to a close after two years, and do so in dialogue... with an animated character produced in advance.


Here is the video:

Actually, that was a video we produced after the event to correct for some unfortunate audio malfunctions during the presentation. However, if you would like to see Barry actually speaking under and to his avatar, please watch this:

Below you can read some of the live comments sent from the audience via Twitter during the presentation:

Reflecting on the Noguchi Edge Project with Voicethread 

Here's a short multi-media presentation I made about the recent Edge collaboration between Global Kid's and the Noguchi Museum's Teen Advisory Board using a free online tool called Voicethread:

The digital story TAB created with us can be viewed here

Global Kids and the Noguchi Museum staff discuss digital media, open end projects and choice making at the February, 2011 Face to Face Conference on the topic "Who Decides? Students and Choicemaking". A group of educators watch the student's work and ask some questions.

First, watch the video produced by the youth:

Now, watch the presentation ABOUT the video...

Final Session of Passport to Nigeria  


group%20pic_small.jpg Passport to Nigeria, a collaboration between Global Kids and the Museum for African Art, ended last week with a bang. For the past seven weeks, students learned about the history, culture, music, and art of Nigeria through lively discussions, interactive workshops, and guest artists and examined the following themes:

- Art can draw from cultural sources and be a reflection of one’s cultural traditions and values.
- Art and music is a powerful form of expression, especially in times of oppression.
- Art and music can be bridge for understanding other cultures of the world.

Students also learned about different forms of blogging and recorded video blogs after each session. This all culminated in a final celebration that included delicious home-cooked Nigerian food (a lot of it!) and a screening of students’ final videos.

Join the uCreate Working Example AND Worked Example Conversation 

As many of you know, our work on a range of Edge Projects, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, supports civic and cultural institutions to more effectively use digital media for learning (DML). It trains the youth educators to work on the edge or, more to the point, on their edge.

These edges are explored after each project in a new technique called Worked Examples. There are now two sites, still in development, offering examples. One is more focused on the lead up to the final piece and about connecting projects with each other - called Working Examples - while the second is like a final report - Worked Examples. Of course, these Examples are not reports at all - they are more like works in progress to understand a DML intervention from the inside out: pick one programmatic design decision then explore what that decisions can tell us about how digital media can be used for learning. Something like that.

Here is a brief overview of the questions being asked in our first Edge Project Worked Example:

Passport to Nigeria Begins! 

(left) Torso of a king. Wunmonije Compound, Ife. Early-mid-16th century C.E. Copper alloy. © National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria. Photo courtesy Museum for African Art/Fundación Botín. (right) Head with crown. Wunmonije Compound, Ife. 14th-early 15th century C.E. Copper alloy. © National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria. Photo courtesy Museum for African Art/Fundación Botín. (Photos: Karin L. Willis)

Last week was the beginning of “Passport to Nigeria,” a program in partnership with the Museum for African Art that explores the country of Nigeria using the Museum’s exhibition and education-related materials as well as digital media.

New Internship Program for High School Students  

Global Kids and the Museum for African Art are calling New York City high school students to apply for an exciting new internship program called

Passport to Africa: Nigeria

Picture%203.png art.png
(right) El Anatsui, Sacred Moon, 2007. Photo courtesy: Jack Shainman Gallery

Students will:
o Explore the cultures, arts, music, and history of Nigeria
o Learn new digital media skills
o Produce their own videos
o Develop leadership skills
o Be part of an internship program and build their resumes
o Add to their portfolios and get letters of reference
o Meet other teens from around the city

This six-week internship will run on Tuesdays, 4-6pm from January 25th-March 8th, 2011 at Global Kids Offices. Ideal students will have some interest in arts and culture, global studies, museums, and/or digital media.

I Dig Brazil Day 18: Mass Extinction & Capoeira 

Today was a key day for I Dig Brazil: when our teens start to put all the pieces together of their research, conversations with scientists, and virtual world fossil hunting to understand what happened 250 million years ago on earth. In short, why did 70% of all life die out during the Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction?

It was a good test to see how much they had retained from their weeks of work during I Dig Brazil, and how well they worked together as a group to solve the mystery.

In New York, our teens were given all of the data collected to date, in the form of worksheets that they had filled out, background info on the various rocks, plants and animal fossils they discovered, and maps of where they had found them. Their task was to assemble all the data together by period in time, to get a rough sense of what might have happened between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods.

They decided to divide up the investigation by fossil type, with one person taking rocks, another plants and the others animal fossils, and filling in the data on the different time periods. This was pretty efficient, and much of the information was completed by the time we got to the discussion portion of the workshop.