Libraries and Community Centers Use Games to Inspire Youth to Take Action
Selen Turka, a doctoral student in the Instructional Technology and Media program at Teachers College, Columbia University, recently prepared an independent evaluation of Global Kids' Playing For Keeps Capacity Building Program, which trains educators to combine games and social issues in their work with youth.
Selen Turka, a doctoral student in the Instructional Technology and Media program at Teachers College,
, recently prepared an independent evaluation of Global Kids' Playing For Keeps Capacity Building Program, which trains educators to combine games and social issues in their work with youth. Columbia University
The findings, based on 45 interviews with educators from the New York public libraries and Boston-area housing projects, revealed that Global Kids successfully prepared youth workers to inspire and guide teens to learn and create
game prototypes about social and global issues.
The program gained momentum and support as an invaluable teaching tool. Elaine Charnov, Director of Education, Programs, and Exhibitions at the NY Public Library, enthusiastically praised the effort. "In addition to the rich content ranging from media consolidation to drug trafficking, students gained invaluable experience from the challenge of team learning. The thoughtful design and the dynamic teaching and training methods of Global Kids staff set a high bar for future teen courses." Jeanette Boone, of the Four Corners Community Center,
, reported, "The program showed how I can help kids to think wider and broader and gave me a way to rethink how to keep kids engaged, while being innovative and creative." Boston
Playing For Keeps, one of Global Kids' most successful digital media programs, motivates youth to think critically, explore critical global issues and design their own
games while increasing 21st Century skills, with support from the Surdna Foundation, the Microsoft Corporation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the AMD Foundation. Since its inception three years ago, teams of NYC urban youth have designed online games played millions of times by young people around the world. This year Global Kids expanded the program by training youth educators in branches of the New York Public Library and technology centers in Boston-area housing projects.
The evaluation process included discussions with educators to determine its effectiveness. The interviews disclosed that facilitators were able to increase many students' understanding of game content and game design while becoming more aware of social issues. Game interaction and discussions during workshops provided an engaging context to additionally explore serious global issues.
The program's most important critics are ultimately the students, who overwhelmingly responded by gaining new skills while integrating art and societal concerns in a productive, engaging, innovative and inspiring learning environment. "We wanted to design this because we didn't want anybody else to think we had the wrong idea of what genocide was," said one teen designer in
. "We know what it is; we know how it impacts the world. So we wanted to show it both through our art and through our game." New York City
The article “Libraries and Community Centers Use Games to Inspire Youth to Take Action” was published on November 9th, 2009 in “Benzinga” website. http://www.benzinga.com/press-releases/g38257/libraries-and-community-centers-use-games-to-inspire-youth-to-take-action
Published Monday, Nov. 16, 2009