Digital Learning Day: A Global Perspective

In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, Celestial McBride, left, 14, and her brother Sevan, 12, work on an online classes
In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, Celestial McBride, left, 14, and her brother Sevan, 12, work on an online classes from the Florida Virtual School from their home in Mims, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

It's ironic that on this second annual Digital Learning Day, the U.S. Postal Service announced that it wants to end mail service on Saturdays. We truly are at tipping point where digital is taking over the print and analog world and today's students will be experiencing even more of this change throughout their lives.

Global Kids, an award-winning in-school and afterschool New York City youth program, is joining millions of U.S. students today participating in activities that spotlight successful instructional technology practice in the classroom.

Our take on this day is how technology and digital learning can open minds to the world beyond our own neighborhoods and cities, as well as engage young people in interest-driven learning, the building of STEM skills, and development of global competency.
Today Global Kids high school students are learning game design skills and exploring global issues using the online platform Gamestar Mechanic. These students will then become mentor experts and lead more workshops in Hive NYC institutions across the city and enroll youth in the National STEM Video Game Design Challenge.

On Friday, Global Kids and The New York Public Library will work together to showcase NYC Haunts, a mobile, alternate reality game that educates youth about New York City history. Youth will be using the mobile application ARIS to track the story of Margaret Corbin, the first woman to fight in the Revolutionary War in a battle in Inwood Hill Park and receive a pension. Sadly, her pension was half of what male soldiers earned for fighting, and the youth will be using her story as an entryway to explore inequity in women's wages.

Throughout this month, 5th graders at PS 85 in Queens will get hands on workshops on game design using Scratch, learning not only how to program, but also create meaningful games that address social and global issues facing our world.

We know the role technology played in sharing news during the Arab Spring. Future leaders will need to be even more aware of how data and information can be easily transferred, regardless of borders. Feeling comfortable with these digital advancements, and understanding their power, are key to the future.