New tech initiative to help engage and empower San Jose and Silicon Valley community

Knight Foundation supports bringing Globaloria to region to help teach youth  digital and civic literacy skills

San Jose, Calif.  – July 13, 2011 – An innovative platform that uses gaming to teach kids digital literacy skills is coming to Silicon Valley schools and community centers this fall.

Globaloria, a learning network of the World Wide Workshop, teaches participants how to build game systems, conduct Internet research and use social networking tools in the course of designing games about educational and social problems.  Along the way, it empowers young people, their parents and community leaders with the digital literacies and skills crucial to real-world community participation and engagement.

Silicon Valley will be the fifth community to use the program, thanks to a three-year, $950,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“Technology is our community’s brand, and so it’s important that we help ensure that all San Jose and Silicon Valley residents are digitally literate and connected,” said Judith Kleinberg, San Jose/Silicon Valley program director for Knight Foundation. “The Globaloria Game Design Network has proved a powerful way to do that.”

Kleinberg cited a Pew study that found that 97 percent of all youths 12 to 17 play digital games, and that “youth who have these kinds of civic gaming experiences are more likely to be civically engaged in the offline world.”

“At the core of the new civic-engagement literacy is the knowledge of how to navigate digital networks and make games, not just play them. Bringing Globaloria into Silicon Valley is a unique opportunity to demonstrate how it works to inform, engage and educate community members in a variety of school and non-school settings,” said Dr. Idit Harel Caperton, president and founder of the World Wide Workshop.  “Globaloria presents a powerful technology-driven participation model that is relevant to today's generation. It allows them to conceptualize, design and program their own webgames on important topics, and to engage in civics by 'learning by doing.'”

Over the course of the three-year pilot, more than 5,000 youth in formal schooling and informal learning centers will form teams and create social-issue games using the Globaloria network and digital curriculum; they’ll record their thoughts and chart their progress on personal rich-media blogs, and engage in collaborative learning using open-source Web2.0 and industry-standard programming tools. Educators and facilitators are trained online and onsite to master the competencies needed to effectively engage youth.

The World Wide Workshop is currently forming new partnerships in San Jose and Silicon Valley to support the growth and long-term success of this new Globaloria initiative. The first partner is Silicon Valley Education Foundation. Conversations with additional partners and funders are in progress.

“We are thrilled to bring Globaloria to the Silicon Valley region, the home of the world's largest technology corporations and leading hub for high-tech innovation and development, where we will expand and enhance technology infrastructure and skills in local schools, afterschool programs and youth clubs,” says Idit Harel Caperton. “Knight Foundation’s grant backs the Globaloria mission to be the game changer in the lives of youth, to help them become digitally literate and equipped with the 21st-century skills necessary to actively engaged and transform their communities.”

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (www.knightfoundation.org) supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.

The World Wide Workshop (www.WorldWideWorkshop.org) is a global educational foundation for developing open-source applications of social media technology and game production to enhance learning, innovation, entrepreneurship, and an understanding of the world in economically-disadvantaged and technologically-underserved communities. Committed to improving education opportunities for all youth with Globaloria, we work with forward-thinking leaders, corporations, foundations, school systems, universities, and research centers to enrich existing formal and non-formal education systems with the latest technology and innovative learning opportunities for all.

CONTACTS:
Knight Foundation:
Marc Fest, 305-908-2677, fest@knightfoundation.org

World Wide Workshop: Amber Oliver, 646-895-9167, Amber@WorldWideWorkshop.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.