Online Gaming Programs

Playing 4 Keeps.
Global Kids has established itself as an innovative leader in using online games to promote global awareness and engaged citizenship. Through the Playing 4 Keeps program, Global Kids trains urban youth to develop games about important world issues. This work has been recognized by New York 1, Voice of America, ABC News, Congressional Quarterly, many blogs, and a host of other media venues. This work has been cited as a best practice within Henry Jenkins’s report for the MacArthur Foundation: Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.

Global Kids’ gaming programs are made possible through collaborative relationships with the game design company Gamelab, UNICEF, and TakingITGlobal, among others, and the organization has been asked to present this work at the annual Serious Games Summits; the Games For Change Conferences; the Educational Arcade conference; the University of Wisconsin’s Games, Learning and Society Conference; and at special meetings for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Spencer Foundation.

In addition, Global Kids played a founding role in the creation of the non-profit special interest group Games For Change, which is committed to advancing the field of nonprofits using games to advance their social missions.

Playing for Keeps (P4K): Playing 4 Keeps (P4K) uses online games as a form of youth media informed by international issues. Together with Gamelab, an independent game company, Global Kids developed an innovative curriculum for engaging youth in the design, development and dissemination of high quality games that have the potential to educate their peers around the world. Playing 4 Keeps is supported by Microsoft’s U.S. Partners in Learning Mid-Tier initiative, which funds “pockets of innovation” for increasing digital literacy and career readiness.

During the 2005-2006 school year, Global Kids Youth Leaders in the Playing for Keeps program at South Shore High School gained leadership, research, and game design skills while producing a socially conscious online game, Ayiti: The Cost of Life ( The youth chose to design a game that focuses on the issue of poverty as an obstacle to education and uses the country of Haiti as a case study.

The game and its associated curriculum were released through UNICEF’s Child Alert: Haiti website and TakingITGlobal’s network of over 170,000 educators worldwide. Curriculum material is available for educators to integrate the program into their classrooms and help students think critically about the issues raised in the game.

Since it was released in October 2006, hundreds of thousands of people have played Ayiti. The game and the after school component are being evaluated by the Center for Children and Technology.

In 2006-2007, youth in the program at South Shore High School are gaining hands-on game development experience by continuing to participate in an intensive after school program and by designing games using tools in the virtual world of Teen Second Life.

Playing 4 Keeps Blog