Globaloria wins Tech Award for its game design learning platform

communities / Article

The Tech Awards 2013 laureate: Globaloria: Invent. Build. Share

Knight Foundation grantee World Wide Workshop received a top honor in Silicon Valley at the Nov. 14 international Tech Awards, which honor global innovators who use technology to benefit humanity.

Globaloria, a project of the New York-based World Wide Workshop, is a blended-learning platform with courses that teach youth how to design and code educational games by using industry tools such as Blogger, JavaScript, MediaWiki and Unity. Since 2006 Globaloria has worked to help kids develop these skills and a digital voice. Knight Foundation initially funded the program in West Virginia. Globaloria has educated more than 10,800 students, teachers and education leaders and is active in five states, reaching more than 3,500 children, educators and facilitators.

In 2011, Knight Foundation awarded Globaloria $950,000 to bring the program to Silicon Valley students and to pilot it outside of schools, such as in Boys and Girls Clubs. Globaloria – which now operates in 12 locations throughout the Valley – was one of two laureates named in The Tech Awards’ Microsoft Education Award category, earning Globaloria a $25,000 prize.

“It’s designed to be something that is really about advancing students’ … skills and knowledge they need to become [an] informed and engaged citizen—[and] making sure they have fun doing it,” Globaloria Vice President Amber Oliver said.

Globaloria opens up the world of game design to students, while addressing civic issues. Some of the games students have designed and published online address topics such as bullying, the environment and teen pregnancy.

Judith Kleinberg, Knight Foundation’s Silicon Valley program director, said the program enables kids to become “digital citizens” who fully participate in their communities.

“Kids learn about the Internet in a constructive way,” she said. “They also learn 21st century tools and platforms that have changed how people interact with one another and institutions. It’s helping create entrepreneurial thinking at an early age and opening doors of opportunity.”

Globaloria also helps build kids’ science, technology, engineering and math skills in an era where those talents are in demand and more important than ever.

“Games themselves have a particular, special component to them that is not just about being a fun hook – it’s not just about the cheese on your broccoli – but it’s also about creating a separate kind of literacy which is the ability to read games and write games,” Oliver said.

The Tech Awards is a program of The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, Calif., and focuses on awarding two laureates each in five categories: environment, education, young innovator, health and economic development. Laureates receive prizes of either $75,000 or $25,000. The Center of Science, Technology and Society at Santa Clara University organizes the panel of judges.

“My team and I are humbled to be among the 2013 recipients of this amazing award,” Globaloria founder and CEO Idit Harel Caperton said in a statement. “Receiving the Tech Awards is an incredible honor for organizations whose ideas are changing the world.”

World Wide Workshop also recently won the Pioneer and Purpose Award from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation for Globaloria’s impact on youth.

Photo credit: Charlotte Fiorito for The Tech Museum of Innovation.

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