Playing 4 Keeps

Middle Schoolers Learning Gaming and Web Design 

In our third year at the Angelo Patri Middle School MS 391 in the Bronx, we have introduced two new programs into the curriculum.


On Mondays we began the Global Kids Playing 4 Keeps program in which students are learning the fundementals of game design and will eventually develop a serious game on a global issue. Our first session had students exploring what makes iconic characters by drawing and presenting some of their own favorites. 


GK Leaders Chris and Lexington drawing a character from World of Warcraft.


GK Leaders Collins, Jose and Coby present their drawing from Avatar. 


GK Leaders Jose and JD present their characters from Super Mario. 


Playing for Keeps at Long Island City High School 

Global Kids leaders kicked off the Playing for Keeps program at Long Island City High School last week. They started the program by learning about characters in a game and playing for the first time Gamestar Mechanic.


During this first workshop the participants were introduced to the overall goals of the program: to create games about social issues important to them or their community. They began the program by thinking about the role of characters in a game, and started with an activity where they had to draw their favorite character. Then they played a game in which the rest of the group had to guess the character they drew as the drawing was revealed slowly by the presenting group. This led to a discussion about how characters are used in a game, what makes a good character, and the different types of characters such as protagonist and antagonist. 


They were a very enthusiastic group who share some of their ideas about creating they own games. Eighteen eager high school students that will use games to express their creative ideas and inform others about a social issue. 


Here are some pictures from the first day



P4K at LIC

Playing 4 Keeps and National STEM Video Game Challenge 

Global Kids is incredibly excited to launch this year's Playing 4 Keeps (P4K) game design program in partnership with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and E-Line Media and with support from the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in the New York Community Trust!


This year, GK youth who join P4K have the unique opportunity to both learn game design skills and train other youth around the city who are part of the Hive Learning Network NYC.  GK youth will support Hive youth to develop game design skills and participate in the National STEM Video Game Challenge.  At the same time, Global Kids and E-Line staff will support and train adult staff at Hive organizations to implement game design programs. 


Even more exciting is that this year we have five returning youth from last year's P4K program who will serve as peer mentors!  Tremayne, Jason, Kendell, Ednica, and Jared will help us co-facilitate sessions, support other youth, and of course be part of the student workshops we will be offering to Hive youth.  



P4K meets every Wednesday at GK.  Check the P4K page for blog updates!


Emoti-Con! Recap - Design Challenge and Presentations 

This past June brought us Emoti-Con! 2012 Digital Youth Media Festival. Check out below two short videos showcasing the design challenge and the competition presentations that happened over the course of the day. 




End of Year Reflections from Youth in P4K 

Playing 4 Keeps may have come to an end after a full school year, but as you can see, our youth have still been quite busy with presentations and trips.


At our last session together in June, youth picked the final winner of the "Media and You Challenge" they designed, which is also the sixth AMD Social Impact Challenge.  "Media and Youth" asked youth around the country to make a game about the effects and uses of media in their lives, and to think critically about both the positive and negative influences of media.  We'll be announcing the winner of the challenge very soon!


Youth also spent some time blogging and reflecting on their highlights, lessons learned, and experiences from the program.  Below are links to each youth's reflection and some of their quotes.




Ednica: "My year at Global Kids was the best thing that ever happened, and I'm looking forward to more years at Global Kids."

P4K Youth Leaders talk game design with 28 girls from the Middle East & OMGPOP 

Yesterday was quite a day at Global Kids! Youth from the Playing For Keeps program got to first meet with tech-oriented girls from the Middle East and then travel to the game design studio OMGPOP.


The first visit was with TechGirls, funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  Twenty-five TechGirls participants were selected from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian territories, Tunisia, and Yemen. All were proficient in English and ranged in age from 15-17.  The program exposes them to advanced tools in technology and supports them in potential careers in the tech field.  And of course, through their trip, they were also developing leadership skills and a better understanding of US society and culture, by meeting with organizations like Global Kids!



The girls were facinated to hear about the work the GK youth had done over the year. And as we went around saying our favorite games, if you closed your eyes, you could never have guessed who was from which country. Games were clearly a universal language and source of connection. And it was the first time for most to hear how games could be used to address civic and global issues.


To view more photos from the visit, go here.


Reactions to GK-led Youth Panel on Game Competitions at Games For Change 

Yesterday, three Global Kids youth leaders and 3 other youth from around the country presented at Games For Change, talking about what they learned as winners or creators of national game design competitions.


The youth had taken part in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, The National STEM Video Game Challenge, and the AMD Social Impact Game Design Challenges. Below is the slide we used describing and contrasting the three:


We were originally placed in a room seating 20. This was a problem, no less so than the youth panelists and their chaprerones took up nearly all of the seats. After some coordinating we were moved across the hall and filled the room with over 50 people. Photos can be viewed here and below are some of the twitter posts:



Global Kids Youth Leaders will be out at force at this year's Games For Change festival, co-founded by GK nine years ago.


On Tuesday, three GK Youth Leaders from Playing For Keeps will both co-moderate and present on the panel: "Youth Game Design Competitions for Social & Educational Impact."


My Highlights 

My time at global kids has been enjoyable one but I do have my favorite moments. 


The first highlight of the year was my first trip at P4K. P4K traveled to E-line offices to see how games are developed and created by professionals. The highlight of the trip is meeting the developers of gamestar mechanic because I never met the developers of a website I ENJOYED and played. I could also contact them anytime I needed assistance, and they weren't bothered by it. 


My second highlight is at global kids conference. At the Global Kids conference I had the opportunity of facilitating a workshop. It feels good to give direction and lead people. 



Overall it has been a great year!



My Experience 

My experience in p4k has been very enlightening. I learned alot of information about game designing. I now  know what to expect should I desire to continue a career in game designing. If I do I know they time spent here wil only help me with my resume.


THe trips have been great E-line gave me a chance to see how to meet professional game designers and what what are the aspects of what they have to do. Thanks to this I got a chance to get involved with Emoti-con, which was really fun. That has been my favorite time in P4K