Global Kids: Recommended Reading…Viewing…Listening

Global Kids’ New York City-based programs address the urgent need for young people to possess leadership skills and an understanding of complex global issues to succeed in the 21st century workplace and participate in the democratic process. Now in its ninth year, Global Kids’ Online Leadership Program (OLP) integrates a youth development approach and international and public policy issues into youth media programs that build digital literacy, foster substantive online dialogues, develop resources for educators, and promote civic participation. To keep the work connected to emerging research and practice, OLP staff feed their voracious appetite reading books, articles, reports and more. Here are some of our current favorites:

The Pew Internet and American Life “Teen Content Creators” (PowerPoint presentation)
This PowerPoint, created for the MacArthur Forum, “The Power of Youth Voice: What Kids Learn When They Create With Digital Media,” compiles recent data from the Pew Research Center examining how teens create and communicate using digital media. This summary is highly significant as it begins to put numbers to the arguments made in recent years, originally by Henry Jenkins, that we do youth a disservice if we focus strictly on the digital divide and ignore the emerging participation gap. For example, the digital divide by race is now minuscule (96% of white teens are online compared with 92% of black teens) while, perhaps of greater significance, the digital divide by income is decreasing as well (97% of youth in familes earning over $75,000 are online compared with 86% of youth in families earning less than $30,000). Now, compare the effect of income on content creation, a critical aspect of substantive online participation: 38% of youth in families earning over $75,000 are creating content online compared with 13% of youth in families earning less than $30,000, creating a 3:1 difference. These numbers help us to back up our arguments that putting youth in front of computers is no longer enough if we want them to be able to fully participate in the workforce, classrooms and civic spaces of our digital age. Get the report here.

Allan Collins and Richard Halverson’s Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America (book)
Half of our staff have read this important book in the past few months. It is easy reading yet imparts a valuable history of education in the United States: the revolution that shifted us to universal education from an apprenticeship model, how and why the system got locked into place and developed powerful means to resist change, and how today’s digital age is creating a new context for the next revolutionary shift, for better or for worse. This book is significant, in part, because it provides historical context for today’s discussions about digital media and learning, does an excellent job impartially laying out the perspectives of both those welcoming and decrying the change, and helps the reader connect the dots between what we see in the current educational landscape to build a coherent picture. Get it here.

Digital Media and Technology in Youth-Serving Organizations (unpublished Whitepaper)
Co-authored by Becky Herr-Stephenson, Diana Rhoten, Dan Perkel, and Christo Sims, this unpublished Whitepaper historicizes education within afterschool programs, museums and libraries, offers frameworks for categorizing current new media practices, and recommends areas for future research. As a youth development professional, we have never seen such a concise history of youth development, how it has affected a variety of informal learning institutions, and potential for supporting it through digital media. It also played an instrumental role outlining areas of potential research and had a strong affect shaping Global Kids’ new Edge Project. To obtain a copy, email Becky Herr-Stephenson at

Frontline: Digital Nation – Life on the Virtual Frontier (documentary)
A documentary set to air Feb. 2 with video clips already online, Digital Nation explores the changes that digital media has brought to a variety of areas of American society, and devotes a full section to learning in the digital age with a variety of expert voices, from educators to policy makers to media theorists. Other segments include an exploration of contemporary understandings of positive and negative societal change brought about by digital media. While some of the content could be considered sensationalized, there are many legitimate points that prove relevant to our work.

FTC Report: “Virtual Worlds and Kids: Mapping the Risks”
The US Federal Trade Commission has recently released a report on sexually and violently explicit content on virtual worlds entitled “Virtual Worlds and Kids: Mapping the Risks.” Most important finding: of the 14 child-oriented virtual worlds studied, all but one contained little to no explicit content.  Download the full report here.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-hop Generation (book)
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop chronicles the colorful history of hip-hop culture — from its multi-national, multi-cultural roots, to efforts by corporate America to commodify it, and its usage for civic activism and economic independence.  A potent force in the lives of many of the youth that Global Kids works with, hip-hop itself has transformed itself in many ways during the digital age.  DJing, MCing, b-boying and graffiti all contain important lessons for our youth as means of expression and empowerment, beyond the anti-social narrative often portrayed by mainstream media.  Global Kids educators have used African and Arab hip-hop music, hip-hop dance, and spoken word in their programs, joining a long tradition of awareness and activism connected to hip-hop culture.