I'm excited to announce that this Saturday, my group Global Kids is participating in the First Annual NYC Digital Youth Media & Technology Festival taking place on June 27 at the New School in NYC. The daylong festival will spotlight the growing movement among teenagers in New York and nationally to design video games, films and other digital tools to advance social causes in a youthful and technologically literate language. There are a boatload of great groups involved in the festival, including MOUSE, the NY Public Library, PetLab, alongside Global Kids.
I love that the official name of the event is "The (o.o) Festival" with "(o.o)" apparently being the emoticon for "curious."
The full press release for the event follows...
For Immediate Release
Gaming for a Better World: Teens Advance Social Causes Using Digital Media
The (o.o) Festival: First Annual NYC Digital Youth Media & Technology Festival at The New School Saturday, June 27, 2009
A daylong festival will spotlight the growing movement among teenagers in New York and nationally to design video games, films and other digital tools to advance social causes in a youthful and technologically literate language.
About 100 teens will kick off The (o.o) Festival,* the first annual NYC Digital Youth Media & Technology Festival, a citywide dialogue about the role of new media and technology in their lives, and how they can use it to advance causes they care about. Teens from The New York Public Library will showcase their designs and conceptualizations for serious video games about subjects like celebrity drug use, media consolidation and genocide. Youth from the Global Kids Virtual Video Project will premiere their animated short film about child sex trafficking into the United States. Students from MOUSE will discuss their efforts to advance technology in New York City public schools by developing open source labs, advocating for the One Laptop Per Child campaign and other efforts. The daylong event is being held at Parsons The New School for Design. Attendance is by invitation.
"It's one thing for youth to reach an audience of thousands through a site like YouTube," said Barry Joseph, Global Kids' online leadership director and festival co-founder. "But it's another thing to watch with their own eyes how an audience of one's peers respond to their work. It's a transformative experience."
A youth project fair will feature a wide variety of digital media, including digital comics, serious game designs, animated movies, assistive technology projects, and do-it-yourself tech support. A design charrette, sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, will explore how learning institutions can collaborate through digital media to serve young people. Other events include a game design competition and a college and career fair featuring 15 professionals from the fields of design, games and gaming, software, film and video, and more.
"Gaming is a great educational medium for teens to explore the issues that are happening around them and the world," said H. Jack Martin, Assistant Director for Young Adult Programs at The New York Public Library. "The (o.o) Festival gives tech-curious teens an opportunity to come together and showcase their work and their ideas."
"The collaboration among these organizations marks an unprecedented commitment to the support of young people as leaders of the digital age," said festival co-founder Marc Lesser, Education Director of MOUSE. "We hope that this festival is the first of many!"
The festival is sponsored by MOUSE, Global Kids, The New York Public Library, Parsons Academy and PetLab, with support from the New School University and the Social Science Research Council, with additional promotional support generously provided by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Microsoft Corporations US Partners in Learning.
*(o.o) is the emoticon for "curious."
About Global Kids
Founded in 1989, Global Kids' mission is to transform urban youth into successful students and global and community leaders by engaging them in socially dynamic, content-rich learning experiences. Through its leadership development and academic enrichment programs, Global Kids educates youth about critical international and domestic issues and promotes their engagement in civic life and the democratic process. Through professional development initiatives, Global Kids provides educators with strategies for integrating experiential learning methods and international issues into urban classrooms. Over 95% percent of the high school seniors who participate in GK's leadership program graduate from high school.
MOUSE empowers students to succeed in today's information society. An innovative youth development program, MOUSE Squad prepares and supports students in establishing and managing leading edge technical support help desks in their schools. MOUSE Squad improves a school's ability to use technology to enhance learning, while also providing a powerful, hands-on 21st century learning experience for students. The MOUSE Squad program extends learning beyond the help desk, providing technical certification, collaborative website and online case tracking. MOUSE offers two additional programs in support of its mission: MOUSE Corps, a career readiness program for high school students, providing professional internships, mentoring and skills building workshops, and MOUSE TechSource, which focuses on research, evaluation and continuous program improvement. Founded in 1997, MOUSE has a visible and positive impact in more than 200 locations in the United States, including New York City, Chicago, California, Texas and Connecticut. In partnership with Microsoft, the MOUSE Help Desk curriculum is accessible in more than 58 countries worldwide.
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Its renowned research collections are located in the The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th Street and Madison Avenue. Eighty-seven branch libraries provide access to circulating collections and a wide range of other services in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. The New York Public Library serves more than 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually; the Library's website,www.nypl.org, receives 25 million visits annually from users in more than 200 countries.
PETlab is a joint project of Games for Change and Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. It is a place for testing prototyping methods and the process of collaborative design with organizations interested in using games as a form of public interest engagement. Through our work, we connect with scholars and designers in the field of digital media, practitioners working in the spheres of education and social issues, and people of all ages at play. In the first year, we are working on a number of gaming platforms including Flash, Xbox XNA, and mobile phones. We are also working with a wide range of partners such as MTV, Microsoft, Boys and Girls Clubs, and New York Public Library. Support for PETLab comes from the John D. Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning initiative.
Contact: Heidi Singer 212.592.7311 or Heidi_Singer@nypl.org.