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Global Kids Online Leadership Network

Global Kids Online Leadership Network

Written by Linda Biondi
August 24, 2010

I am always amazed with adolescents and their passion for initiating change through social action. Great educators and organizations such as Global Kids guide students to apply their knowledge of technology to increase civic responsibility.

Based in New York, Global Kids has reached out to more  than 20 public schools in high poverty areas  by giving students a chance to create educational computer-based games, work in virtual worlds, construct machinima (digital movies made using interactive three dimensional environments), and take part in online dialogues. These programs are offered during the school days, after school, and during the summer.

The programs are aimed at connecting leadership development with global issues and civic engagement. Students who are involved in the program develop critical thinking skills, media literacy, and project planning.   The curriculum is intense and based on 1.5-2 hour workshops that are focused on global issues. Students learn leadership skills as they work together, role play, and debate about current issues.  Additional resources such as field trips and speakers add to the students’ base of knowledge. A final project is required and it can be a workshop, conference, social action project.

The success of this program is overwhelming. Ninety-five percent of their participants graduate from high school and ninety percent go onto college. But success is more than just numbers. Students become global citizen and work together to change the world using their own community as the home based.

Examples of programs:

  • Raising funds for the youth in Darfur, Sudan. A Global Kids group hosted an awareness talent show at a local high school to make others aware of the situation in Darfur and how to take action. Acts ranged from a traditional Indian dance to an impersonation of Lady Gaga.
  • Playing For Keeps, a digital media program, teaches adolescents to think critically, explore critical global issues while designing their own games. Another group was so powerfully affected by the concept of sex trafficking, that they worked together to produce a digital film with avatars. They wrote the script, costume the avatars, chose background music and effects, and edited the film. online, and submit it to numerous film festivals to further expose the work. 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.”

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.(Franklin D. Roosevelt)

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