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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!


Global Kids takes part in littleBits Global Makeathon 




At the Global Kids headquarters this past Saturday September 14th, a group of kids from different parts of New York City and different ages gathered to take part in the littleBits Global Makeathon 2013.  According to the littleBits webiste, the Global Makeathon was "the world's largest physical and virtual littleBits workshop. We are bringing together makers from around the world for one day to bring their own cities to life. Join us, with your Bits, your crafts, and your tools and Make Something that Does Something!" 


Young kids who came to take part on the challenge started the day talking about the things they enjoyed the most about living in New York City. The theme of the makeathon was "Bring Your City to Life" and the kids were excited to start thinking about how they could represent their city in the challenge. After introductions from Ayah Bdeir to the challenge and a google hangout with makers from all around the world, the kids learned the basics of using little bits: that the color blue was for the power bits, pink for input, orange for wire, and green for output.


Ebba's Take - That Could Be Your Sister 

For ten weeks, Global Kids is hosting intern Ebba Minas, an 18-year-old from Stockholm, Sweden on a gap year between secondary school and university. She had the opportunity to participate in That Could Be Your Sister, last week's event co-hosted with Radio Rookies, during which youth designed digital tools to combat sexual cyberbullying. Below, read her impressions of the event and her comparisons between conversations around "slut-shaming" in the US and Sweden.


Photo by Yasmeen Khan of SchoolBook
GK intern Ebba Minas (on the right) prepping for her group's presentation.
Photo by Yasmeen Khan of SchoolBook, see article.


Combating Sexual Cyberbullying with That Could Be Your Sister 

Twenty-five youth from around New York City. A problem to solve through the design of a digital tool. Cash prizes at stake.


That was the set up for yesterday's That Could Be Your Sister Design Challenge, held at the Brooklyn Public Library by Global Kids and WNYC's Radio Rookies. The youth – many of them affiliated with BPL's T4 program and several from GK and Rookies – listened intently as 17-year-old Temitayo Fagbenle played a radio story that she had reported last year about "slut-shaming" on online social networks, or as she and producer Courtney Stein wrote, "using photos and videos to turn a girl's private life inside out." She challenged the group to propose an idea for a digital tool that could be mobilized to support victims, raise awareness or collect data about the issue.


Hive NYC's Julia Vallera presented a menu of digital tools for students to consider integrating into their designs; from apps to text messaging campaigns. "There are no limitations" she said. "Think outside the box." With that, the students were off in their groups -- drawing, writing, and brainstorming their way to digital solutions.



During the presentations, the four judges -- Jess Klein and Atul Varma from Mozilla, Erica Doyle, Assistant Principal at Vanguard High School, and Jasmine Hood from Common Sense Media – were treated to five stellar pitches for new digital tools. One group dreamed up a website that followed a human body metaphor - the mouth would link to a section to help victims speak out, the ear to a section for listening to testimonials, and "tears" collecting at the bottom of the screen would contain words of inspiration and support from the community. Another group decided to place QR codes in locations that teens frequent the most in order to direct them to the campaign website. The “Insert Title Here” group’s proposal included a “choose your own adventure” game that would guide players to make choices in scenarios of sexual cyberbullying. The "Tech Geeks" team won with their idea for an informational website and an app that victims would be able to use to report offensive photos and seek the support of specialists.


5/6 of the members of the winning team, "Tech Geeks."


While everybody couldn’t walk away from the competition with a gift card, the rewards of the program went far beyond. In an email to GK’s Juan Rubio, one student wrote about how he’d love to continue learning Photoshop, something he began to explore during Thursday’s event:


“Gracias por toda su ayuda y aunque no ganamos, ganamos porque aprendimos mucho de cyberbullying y también de tecnología. (Thank you for all of your help, and even though we didn’t win, we won, because we learned a lot about cyberbullying and also about technology).


Thank you to Project:Connect and our panel of judges, Brooklyn Public Library’s Jen Thompson and Jackson Gomes, and WNYC Radio Rookies’ Kaari Pitkin, Courtney Stein and Sanda Htyte.


For more coverage of the event, check out SchoolBook!


Freelance producer Karen Duffin also produced a radio piece about the event, featuring OLP's very own Jack Martin and Juan Rubio!