Global Kids’s Digital Learning & Leadership is a profiled program in the Plugging In Report.
Who is served: Undeserved K–12 students throughout New York City
Number of participants: Roughly 2000
Location: In school/after school: Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists, Bronxdale High School, Careers in Sports High School, Curtis High School, High School for Global Citizenship, High School for Medical Professions, High School for Public Service, High School of Art and Design, International High School at Union Square, John Adams High School, Manhattan East School for Arts & Academics, Renaissance Charter School, P.S./I.S.109, P.S. 96, School for Human Rights, Transit Tech Career and Technical Education High School, The 30th Avenue School (Q300), Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS), William Cullen Bryant High School
Frequency/Duration: 1 to 2 sessions per week throughout the school year
Curriculum: The culturally inclusive curriculum draws on the CS4All Blueprint, and centers on building 21st-century skills, particularly leadership. Students may work on game or graphic design, audio or video production, 3D technologies, or virtual reality, always with a connection to a global issue and often with local relevance. Because Global Kids staff are embedded in schools, they can adjust the DLL curriculum to meet each school’s unique needs, whether that means introducing new skills or supplementing ongoing coursework.
Outcomes: Students leave with both hard and soft skills. “We’re not exclusively talking about tech skills. We’re talking about how you use and produce digital media; how you engage in public speaking and participate in policy advocacy using those skills as well,” said Elizabeth Bishop, director of curriculum & outcomes evaluation and supervisor of DLL.
Because of GK’s involvement with The Hive, a consortium of STEM program providers in New York City, it can guide students toward other nonprofit providers of STEM programs and internships.
Partnerships: DOE, The Hive
Sources of funding: Mixed
What makes the program stand out? The organization’s focus on cultivating global citizenship results in unique project-based work that allows participants to learn tech skills while addressing problems or questions in their own communities. Through a partnership with LinkNYC, for example, students used graphic design software to create murals about STEM innovators who were women of color from New York City, which were projected on LinkNYC screens for Women’s History Month. Through an upcoming partnership with ICCROM, an international cultural heritage preservation organization, students at William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City will use Tinkercad (3D design software) to research destroyed UNESCO World Heritage Sites and then identify sites around New York City that they feel are worthy of similar preservation and care.
What do participants need to succeed? Bridges to maintain their engagement in digital skills and STEM during the transitions between middle and high school, high school and post-secondary, and into careers.
What does the organization need? DLL could be more effective if all schools had consistent access to high-speed Internet. Other challenges include figuring out how best to introduce soft skills to very young students, and how to broker opportunities for young people when they’re changing schools or transitioning to middle or high school. The organization also needs more investment from the city and consistent funding, as well as better connections within the STEM ecosystem.