Globaloria: Social Media Networks for Learning Through Game Production With a Social Purpose

Idit Caperton · Lee Kraus · Shannon Sullivan · Rebecca Reynolds

The World Wide Workshop is a global non-profit educational organization developing applications of social media technology to enhance learning, creativity, entrepreneurship and understanding of the world among children and youth in developing communities worldwide.

Its newest program “Globaloria” is aiming at teaching young people from underserved communities (economically and technologically) how to design web-games with an educational orientation, through participating in social networks that are filled with open and customizable course materials and resources about game design and production.

In this presentation, we will present our platforms and technology strategy, and share our pilot research results from our first-of-its-kind state-wide implementation of Globaloria in West Virginia during the 2007–08 academic year.

During this year, in a rather complex learning process, participants (students and educators) learned to take control over their new-media world, gain Web 2.0 competencies, program digital artifacts with MediaWiki and Flash, develop subject-matter knowledge, while also growing their innovative game design, contemporary technology knowledge, and programming abilities.

The Globaloria program is delivered through thematically-focused social networks (e.g., and — both in beta version) comprised of programmable websites with simple administrative tools, community wikis, and blogs — specifically oriented to help bridge the “digital participation gap”. These networks are designed to be open and flexible, demonstrating creative ways in which social networks that are focused on educational game production and tinkering can achieve 21st-century project-based education as well as result-oriented innovative learning in a collaborative virtual space.