Professional Development

Digital Media Tools and Strategies for Educators  

New Global Kids Professional Development Training on Election Day!


Digital Media Tools and Strategies for Educators


For over 10 years, Global Kids' Online Leadership Program has been training educators to incorporate participatory media or "Web 2.0" tools into their classrooms. Through this interactive hands-on workshop, educators will examine ways to harness students' interests in digital media production in order to develop analytic skills and increase classroom engagement. The training will introduce available digital media tools alongside strategies for supporting students as they learn to use digital media to express themselves. Educators will also learn from Global Kids' games-based learning curriculum and will receive resources on how to integrate educational games into their lesson plans.


Date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 (Election Day)

Time: 9:00am to 3:00pm

Location: Global Kids' Center for Global Leadership

137 East 25th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10010

Cost: $75 per person. Includes breakfast.

Register: Click here to register online.



Working on Badges in Atlanta 

6727545249_2ac559042d_m.jpgThis week, GK spent a productive day visiting The Epstein Middle School School in Atlanta, where the school has implemented a badging system beginning with their sixth grade. Global Kids, along with staff at Epstein, custom designed a badging system to support the development of independent learning skills amongst the student body, funded by the Covenant Foundation.

The system is based on the recognition that learning in the 21st Century takes place not just in classrooms, but after school and through informal uses of digital media. To develop life-long learning skills, youth need to recognize how they are learning valuable skills across these venues and how to strategically navigate these sites of learning. Badge systems are designed to provide scaffolding, motivation, and recognition.

(Youth who are working on badges at Epstein can receive a power-up to miss certain classes to work on their next badge. They must wear this tag on the right to identify themselves.)

The Epstein Badging System includes a number of elements, including the badges themselves, digital transcripts, a badge management system, a badge submission process, committees, learning rubrics, back-end infrastructure, and digital portfolios.

Report: The Introduction of Badges in a K-5 Jewish Day School 

... download report ...


The follow is a short report by Global Kids to the Covenant Foundation on the Introduction of Badges in a K-5 Jewish Day School. It was originally written November, 2010 then updated, with an addendum, in July, 2011. With the new level of attention to learning badges, ignited in large part from the focus of the fourth Digital Media and Learning Competition on "Badges for Lifelong Learning," we thought it would be useful to share one case study of creating a badging system from scratch within one learning institution. Currently, we are hard at work with a school in Atlanta iterating the process described within the report (and on a much broader scale) and looking at an addition site in Brooklyn as well. (more on all that here)

In short, in January, 2010, the Covenant Foundation introduced Global Kids to Bob Berk, a principal of a K-5 Jewish Day School in the South. Supported by a new grant from the Foundation, together we explored how this K-5 school could use up to 70 hours of Global Kids’ time to enhance and expand its use of digital media for learning. After some initial meetings, the school decided to move forward with an emerging model of alternative assessment, commonly found in today’s widely used video games: badges. This report is a description of the overall project.

Global Kids' Game Design Intensive Covered in Jewish Week 

A participant in Global Kids' recent week-long game design intensive published an article on his experiences, Playing Games With Jewish Education, in the recent Jewish Week.

An excerpt follows:

The educators played out this active, game-making thesis for a week, working together to design a game that explores food policy through a Jewish lens. We divided into groups, learned and shared information, argued over moral values, then put our new technical skills to work to create a game that would actually function, with cogent rules, goals, and rewards. Fear of failure was a constant companion as we tweaked our game and presented it to a blue-ribbon panel of designers.

The game we built may never be played. The more important lesson: in an increasingly technological, multimedia world, the ability of educators to improvise, remix, beta-test and iterate may be the key to future Jewish pedagogical success.

We are happy to announce that Global Kids has partnered with the World Bank Institute (WBI) to produce an innovative professional development training that took place in Singapore last month: a quiz show built in the virtual world of Second Life.

The World Bank Institute is the capacity building, training arm of the World Bank Group that “connects practitioners, networks and institutions to help them find solutions to their development challenges.” The virtual training activity was held in conjunction with a much longer course being offered by the World Bank Institute for about twenty municipal government officials from four different cities in Southeast Asia, gathered at a local university in Singapore. The goal of the Global Kids-produced training was to incorporate a virtual world activity into the course program, in a way that enhanced the learning of the government participants and that developed their virtual world skills for further collaborations and activities later on using these virtual tools.

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.

GK and NYPL jointly published on recent Edge Project collaboration 


Global Kids and the New York Public Library just published an excerpt from our upcoming Worked Example on the Edge Project completed last spring: Digital Expression.

The Journal of Media Literacy Education is an online interdisciplinary journal that supports the development of research, scholarship and the pedagogy of media literacy education. Check out our pieces there on:

How Using Social Media Forced a Library to Work on the Edge in Their Efforts to Move Youth From “Hanging Out” to “Messing Around”

Or click Download file">here to download it. (If you would like to read the completed Worked Example, still in development, please contact us and let us know.)

Below is the abstract we wrote for the entire Worked Example:

wbi_logo.pngGlobal Kids was honored to facilitate a strategy session at the World Bank Institute in DC on using virtual worlds for learning. Barry Joseph and I met with about 15 World Bank Institute staff to talk about the various educational applications of virtual worlds, from immersion and simulation to avatar creation and multimedia engagement.

The World Bank Institute can be considered the knowledge sharing and training arm of the World Bank. As we learned, the World Bank Institute has an impressive history of training development professionals, government officials, World Bank staff, NGOs, parliamentarians and business leaders on a range of subjects, from climate change to foreign language learning. While many of these trainings take place in person in seminars and workshops, the WBI has implemented a number of e-learning solutions already.

Joni Blinderman of the Covenant Foundation penned this piece for eJewish Philanthropy entitled, "Web 2.0: The Promise of our Children, and the Obligation of Philanthropy."

It describes both her philanthropic philosophy (take risks and test local) and describes, in broad strokes, Global Kids' work integrating a digital literacy transcript into this New Orleans Day School's curriculum. We hope to post a report shortly detailing that work. Until then, please check out this piece.

Media multi-tasking defines the world our children inhabit, and educators, philanthropists and communal leaders have the responsibility to guide and encourage integration of the most powerful digital tools with learning.

When they gather at the Jewish Futures Conference on Monday to explore dynamic visions of Jewish education, an emerging model will be within view. Just miles away at the New Orleans Jewish Day School, technological innovation and philanthropic vision are transforming an institution shut down after the devastating rage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. (read more...)


During the Spring and Summer of 2010, Global Kids, Inc. supported the Urban Biodiversity Program (UBN) (a new program launched by the American Museum of Natural History and the Bronx Zoo, with funding from the New Youth City Learning Network) to use a game-like badge system to motivate student learning. Within UBN, young people at both sites used smart-phones to interact with the natural environments around both institutions, collecting data that was later processed online through a proprietary social network. Designed to be as youth-driven as possible, the hope was to use a badge system to scaffold or guide youth’s learning through the system, by both rewarding and motivating desired behavior, and tracking the learning
outcomes. The use of badges was limited, even for a demonstration project, but important lessons were learned throughout the process, suggesting next directions and potential areas for success.

A brief report has just been released. Please check it out here.