NYC Haunts

Global Kids presenting at the Digital Media and Learning Conference 

GK panel at DML 2012 Last week, Global Kids and Global Kids' work was presented at the third annual Digital Media and Learning Conference, in San Francisco.

Global Kids organized one panel, which featured three of our staff member, two of our partners (New York Public Library and NYU's Games For Learning Institute), and three of our programs. We co-ran a table for HASTAC at the Mozilla Science Fair, where we spoke about three of our programs. And Myrna Rubel, a middle school principal, spoke on a second panel about our collaboration through a badging system.

Video from Beyond Game Play: Developing Youth Identity as Civic Minded Game Designers:

NYC Haunts at MS 391 - Exploring Belmont 

Global Kids Leaders from MS 391 explored the neighborhood of Belmont, the Little Italy of the Bronx. With camera and iPads in hand they walked through the streets and talked with local vendors learning about how the neighborhood has changed in the last century. They sampled breadsticks from the local bakery and found that the residents were friendly and open to sharing their love for their community. Nilda Lopez and Danielle Youmeni of the Belmont Branch of the New York Public Library pulled books and videos for students to browse through and learn more about the area. They were fascinated that the library was once a movie theater and that cinema itself had a rich history there. After exploring students dined on local cuisine at Mario's, a restaurant on Arthur Avenue that had been there for over a century. The meal was followed by a stroll through the Arthur Avenue Retail Market. The young people came away from the trip inspired and ready to share with their peers what they learned and could be beneficial to the game they will be creating.

Check out some of the photos from the trip!

NYC Haunts at Hamilton Grange - Exploring Neighborhood History 

Youth at the Hamilton Grange Library Branch have a rich history to pull from. Their neighborhood boasts the former residencies of such notable people as Alexander Hamilton, George Gershwin, Thurgood Marshall, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. DuBois, James Anthony Bailey and many more. The first four sessions of the program have consisted of students learning what Aris is, what makes good storytelling, researching the historical figures in their neighborhood and beginning to set the scene for the game they are intending on creating. Thus far the youth have toyed with the idea of giving our detective special powers such as possession of a live body. As far as the plot for the game that will showcase the history of Hamilton Grange, students have decided to go against the missing persons trend the other sites have developed and create a bank robbery scenario that needs to be solved. While the story is still in its infancy, we are excited to see how the students develop this tale.

NYC Haunts at MS 391 - Learning How To Research 

Stephanie Duena of the Museum of the City of New York

Global Kids Leaders at MS 391 were treated to a special guest today when Stephanie Duena of the Museum of the City of New York paid a visit. She guided the students through a workshop on learning how to research a neighborhood through photo archives. The youth were able to see images over a century old depicting life in their neighborhood at the time.

NYC Haunts at MS 391 - The Great Poe Park Mystery 

Global Kids leaders guiding the Great Poe Park Mystery

The Global Kids Leaders from MS 391 proudly presented the final version of their game "The Great Poe Park Mystery." Five of the dedicated students who devoted time, energy and creativity to make this location based game presented to youth at the Fordham library discussing their process for the game, the local history that inspired them, and the mechanics of how the game will work once they test it. Joshua took charge in giving the group a guided tour beginning at the front of the Fordham library.

The youth were guided throughout the park, learning about its farmland past and the changes it has seen over time in terms of the pollution in the area. During gameplay we discovered a glitch in our programming where due to there being multiple players and only one of an item needed to move to the next goal. After visiting characters and finding clues they were able to discover part of the mystery of their character. The game concluded by asking players to either sign a petition to continue supporting sustainable legislation in the Bronx or create a short video message about actions they would take to combat pollution.

NYC Haunts at Seward Park - The Story Unfolds 


This week the youth continued their research of the neighborhood and built upon the plans that had been formulated the week before. Author Nina Malkin paid a visit to help guide the young leaders in connecting their ideas to a coherent storyline that fit the NYC Haunts canon. Without giving their entire story away, the issues that were highlighted were labor rights and particularly the struggles faced by young immigrant women in search of employment. A much darker tale than its predecessor in the Bronx, we can't wait to see what our Ghost Detective learns about their past in Seward Park!

NYC Haunts at Seward Park Library - Researching the Neighborhood 


Youth at the Seward Park New York Public Library branch agree on one thing - their neighborhood is delicious. The eclectic food options available in the area is in direct correlation to the rich history of immigration to the Lower East Side. While the storyline they will be developing for their game is still in its infancy, they are interested in having players learn about local history while showcasing the diversity of food in their neighborhood. The young leaders spent the session researching historical events that occurred in their neighborhood.

NYC Haunts at MS 391 - Visiting Poe Cottage 

Youth play testing game with Global Kids staff member Juan Rubio and author Nina Malkin

With a preliminary version of the game completed Global Kids Leaders made their way to the local Poe Park to play test the game they've created using the ARIS platform. The game begins with the player being requested to solve a case of a missing child - speaking to various characters which give a glimpse into the history of the area and providing commentary on how the declining air quality has affected the population.


Global Kids Leaders on the porch of Edgar Allan Poe's Cottage

After testing the game, the youth took a tour of the former home of Edgar Allan Poe - the "Father of Detective Stories" as told by guide Angel Hernandez. The cottage is located only a short walk north of the New York Public Library Fordham branch. Since Poe is a central character in the detective game they are creating, youth were able to gain further insight into the man and learn about his time spent in the Bronx.

NYC Haunts at MS 391 - Playing Dow Day 

photo.JPGStudents were introduced to the ARIS Game Dow Day in order for them to see an example of how historical narrative can be integrated into gameplay. Using the iPads they explored the protests at University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1967. Using the game as a base, the students felt they had a better concept of how they could manipulate their own storyline to work within the system. They were most excited to see in action how items and characters remained hidden until the player was done with certain tasks or quests. They are excited to finally get a chance to do their first play test on location next week.

Global Kids NYC Haunts at MS 391 - Building with Aris 


Global Kids Staff Member Juan Rubio and students from MS 391 plotting the game storyline

This week students worked at further developing the storyline for as yet untitled game they have been working on. After working with author Nina Malkin last week they were able to figure out a general story arc and are now focusing on the details of figuring out how to use the game mechanics to showcase it. After walking through the flowchart of the game, the students were finally able to have a hands on experience with the Aris alpha editor. Each one learned how to create an object and place it on the map, debating what would be best to represent aspects of the game. It was great to see them take ownership of the technology and assisting one another without prompting, showcasing the understanding that collaboration is a key element in being able to create the best game possible.