Teaching digital literacy through game design

This Wednesday marks the first-ever Digital Learning Day, a nationwide celebration of innovative teaching and learning through digital media and technology.

World Wide Workshop, a Knight supported project, is partnering with the day’s organizers, Alliance for Excellent Education, to celebrate innovative teaching practices that make learning more engaging for students.

Middle school students create original games around civic-related issues as they develop science, technology, engineering and math knowledge, and digital literacy skills. 

Specifically, World Wide Workshop’s Globaloria Learning Platform is the first and largest social learning network for developing digital literacy, science, technology, engineering, and math knowledge (known as “STEM” learning) and global citizenship skills through game design.

Over 2,000 youth in 60 schools in the national Globaloria network will mark Digital Learning Day by virtually and physically opening its game design classes to parents, friends, educators, policy makers and more. Visitors to Globaloria’s website will experience first-hand the innovative, hands-on “game design studio” that these classes engage in daily. They will also see students collaborate with peers and their teachers, use a digital curriculum and receive support through an online learning network. Knight currently supports Globaloria’s efforts to advance new and successful ways of teaching digital literacy and community engagement to students and young adults through game design in the San Jose/Silicon Valley community. With funding from Knight, Globaloria launched in San Jose/Silicon Valley in Sept. 2011 with two schools and two community centers. The project is also funded by the Entertainment Software Association Foundation, Google, and is in partnership with Silicon Valley Education Foundation. It is poised to reach 3000 youth by 2014 and become integral to the Silicon Valley education culture. In explaining Knight’s support for the program and its potential to impact community, Judith Kleinberg, program director/San Jose/Silicon Valley at Knight Foundation, says:

“Globaloria’s game design is a terrific way to develop digital literacy in today’s young people by teaching them to effectively use digital information and tools. As they participate, they will gain valuable information about their communities. Whether they become workers, parents, employers or voters, young people need the critical thinking and communication skills of the digital age to be fully informed and engaged in the 21st century.”

In addition to supporting Globaloria’s work in San Jose/Silicon Valley, Knight also supports its efforts in West Virginia. In 2011-12, Globaloria is in its fifth operational year and is active in 50 West Virginia schools. There, what started as a pilot project to test teaching news literacy alongside civics through game making is getting ready to be scaled into a state-supported program. “We are committed to cultivating the next generation of innovators, and want to give everyone everywhere a fair chance at discovering their potential,” says World Wide Workshop President Dr. Idit Harel Caperton. “Coding and game design is the new manufacturing of the digital economy. With Globaloria projects like those in Silicon Valley and in West Virginia we are giving young citizens a voice, and also equipping them, their families and teachers with the new basic capabilities for establishing a healthy, informed and productive digital citizenship and leadership in the digital global economy.”

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