Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Celebrating student excellence in learning game design

June 6, 2012, 1:42 p.m., Posted by Idit Harel Caperton and Judith Kleinberg


Knight supports Globaloria, a project of the World Wide Workshop, to advance new and innovative ways of teaching digital literacy and community engagement to students. Here, Idit Harel Caperton, founder and President, World Wide Workshop, and Judith Kleinberg, program director/San Jose/Silicon Valley, Knight Foundation write about the first annual Globey Awards, which celebrated excellence in learning game design. Above: Globey Finalists from The Levin Boys & Girls Club of Silicon Valley.

Yesterday was an exciting day. Globaloria students and educators, their families and community leaders gathered for a special awards ceremony. Teams of students from San Jose’s Oak Grove School District and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley, who have spent hundreds of hours over the course of the school year developing educational video games through the Globaloria curriculum, were recognized for their outstanding original programming and design of video games at the annual Globey Awards.

The Globeys celebrate excellence in learning game design and teamwork. A structured year-long process motivates students to dig deeper into their learning, and develop real-world digital literacy skills. Reflecting the rigorous nature of the program, students are judged on: 1) the technical quality of their game, 2) its educational content, 3) the quality of the original artwork and animations, 4) teamwork, 5) research skills, and 6) overall production.

"The World Wide Workshop has been a fantastic partner this year. Globaloria has propelled students into the most exciting 21st-century world of learning," said Manny Barbara, former superintendent of the Oak Grove School District and currently the Vice President of Advocacy and Leadership at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation. Barbara served as the emcee of this year’s Globeys.

Each of the winning games is published on, enabling visitors and aspiring game designers to learn from students’ original ideas. What’s important is that every student who participates in Globaloria becomes a producer of original multimedia content, connects with civic issues in their community, benefits from the resulting boost in critical competencies—including programming, online research skills and the effective use of Web 2.0 tools —and acquires valuable self-confidence needed to thrive in today’s global digital economy.

How a local news site does community engagement

June 6, 2012, 9:31 a.m., Posted by Jennifer Marley



Charlottesville Tomorrow, a local news website in Virginia, is a Knight Community Information Challenge winner. Its project, supported by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, helped add a community engagement editor to its established news site. Here the editor, Jennifer Marley (pictured above), writes about the site's progress.

As a Community Engagement Coordinator for the hyperlocal news platform Charlottesville Tomorrow, my job is to take the content that my team is producing and deliver it to our community in ways designed to encourage, well…engagement:  engagement with the content and, ultimately, engagement with each other.

To accomplish this, I use a variety of tactics:  I’m very active on social media; I work with leaders in the community to share our content with their groups when appropriate; we hold a range of in-person events; I occasionally even print teasers to our stories on door hangers and paper a neighborhood if we’re writing about a backyard issue.

And, I use surveys.

One of the first things I did when I began working at Charlottesville Tomorrow was to put together a survey to take the general temperature of our readers. As I was new to the position (and city!), I wanted to know:  who is reading us? How are they reading us? What is important to them? Are we sharing our content effectively? I used Survey Gizmo to put together an 11-question survey and sent it out to our mailing list (which at the time was around 2,700 subscribers) and over our social media channels. I had about 475 responses, mostly from our mailing list, and I think that was due largely to the fact that I sent out a personal email introducing myself to our readers and asking them to take the survey as a favor. Never underestimate the power of the personal touch.

That first survey was in October of 2011, and in May of 2012, we did another. All the methods were the same (Survey Gizmo, email list, social media channels), but parts of this survey were designed to measure my progress. Some key takeaways:

University Park Alliance takes steps to improving community

June 5, 2012, 2 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

In Akron, the University Park Alliance is working to bring more services and amenities to a 50-block neighborhood in an effort to meet the needs of future residents and create a sense of place in the community.

A recent move by the alliance illustrates a part of its strategy to shore up the neighborhood by buying up local property. 

The alliance recently purchased 12 homes for $180,000 situated along Excelsior Avenue as part of its efforts to rehabilitate houses and stabilize neighborhoods. It worked with community bank Valley Savings Bank to secure the transaction.  

Univeristy Park Alliance's Executive Director Eric Johnson said the move will ensure keeping people in their homes while also bringing in revenue for the alliance.