Digital Media Youth Advisory

[staff] Prensky on bringing youth into the educational design process 

I was recently forwarded an article by Marc Prensky, a writer in the EdTech field famous (or to some, infamous) for coining the term "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants". Regardless of the helpfulness of this dichotomy, Prensky has views that often challenge educators to question their assumptions and was writing about things like games-based learning back in 2001, when there were far fewer voices on a subject that has now caught on.

In the article, titled "Young Minds, Fast Times", Prensky talks about the importance of bringing youth into the room when discussions about educational reform are happening. He makes very good points about both youth empowerment and how to create relevant educational design, but at the same time, I think his piece misses a lot about how youth voice really works when it comes to education.

[dmya] Pew Report on Gaming and Civic Engagement Released 

Pew Internet: Teens, Video Games and Civics

About a year ago, I wrote about GK teens assisting the Pew Internet and American Life Project in developing a survey about the effects of game play in young peoples' lives. On Monday, I got an email from Amanda Lenhart of Pew letting me know that the results of the survey, the first comprehensive study on teen gaming habits and their relationship to civic life, has just been released.

From the report, which can be downloaded here [pdf]:

The first national survey of its kind finds that virtually all American teens play computer, console, or cell phone games and that the gaming experience is rich and varied, with a significant amount of social interaction and potential for civic engagement.

For our final meeting of the year, we had the opportunity to spend time with John and Andrea from Harvard's GoodPlay Project, which works on looking into the ethical issues that arise as a result of young people's relationships to digital media. The GoodPlay team, headed up by Howard Gardner, has visited us before, at a point when they were first conceptualizing a lot of the questions and issues that were pertinent to their research. Since then, they've come out with some great research papers, including a fantastic one that outlines an initial set of core ethical challenges and opportunities, titled Young People, Ethics, and the New Digital Media [pdf].

[dmya/teen] Last DMYA! 

Hi guys! I haven't really blogged under the Digital Media Youth Advisory, but I thought I should blog at least once for the last session. First of all, it's pretty difficult to come to the understanding that it has already been one year! Anyway, I just wanted to say that it has been an awesome year, and I really look forward to maybe coming back one day next year just to sit in on the Digital Media Youth Advisory since I will be going away to college. It's really awesome. Plus, we got our super-awesome stipends today, which is the flip camera.

So yeah, thank you Global Kids and Rafi for coming up with the cool idea. It's totally appreciated and its a pretty fitting stipend since we were the DIGITAL MEDIA Youth Advisory. So yeah, the George Lucas Foundation filmed part of the last lesson and I'd like to thank them as well. But yeah, instead of writing a long blog, I decided that a video blog was more appropriate, especially on this occasion. So here goes; please pardon my messy appearance, it's late and I'm tired. But here it is anyway:

[dmya] Distance Assistance for Puget Sound Off 

DMYA gives feedback from a distance

Each month, our Digital Media Youth Advisory meets with people that are doing work in the field of digital media and learning, and this month was no exception. What was different this meeting though, was that the person they met with, Deen Freelon of the Puget Sound Off project, was about 3,000 miles away. Pictured above, Deen joined us from Seattle via Skype video.

Puget Sound Off is a project out of the University of Washington that aims to create youth engagement around local civic issues in their community, from education to technology to animal rights. It's part of a larger initiative to study how youth civic engagement is changing as a result of the digital media. The members of the DMYA spent about an hour and change with the site, testing out everything from building profiles to uploading pictures to leaving comments on blogs. Hopefully their feedback will be helpful to the project, and all the DMYA members wish it luck as it gets ready to launch!

[dmya] Youth Advisory maps their digital lives 

This month in the DMYA, we had a visit from videographers and producers that are putting together a documentary on the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Initiative. It was a great opportunity for the youth in the advisory to both have their voices heard about what they're actually doing online, as well as to display their skill in speaking and thinking critically about their relationship to digital media.

[staff] Coming full circle at Global Kids 

MacArthur DML Volumes

On January 9th, I hit my two year mark here at Global Kids. To some, I know this sounds like a short amount of time, but to me, it's an age. To begin with, working in GK's Online Leadership Program means that we're in a field that's moving at breakneck speed. The contours of the new media landscape are shifting beneath our feet. Every month feels like six. We've been both nimble and (definitely) fortunate enough to ride this proverbial wave, and so our team has grown and projects shifted an enormous amount as well in the short time that I've been with GK.

[dmya] Advisory meets with Project NML team from MIT 

DMYA meets with MIT's Project NML
Project NML and the DMYA

This past meeting the Digital Media Youth Advisory got to meet with our friends and co-grantees under MacArthur's Digital Media and Learning Initiative, Project New Media Literacy. Project NML is part of MIT's Comparative Media Studies program, which put out an incredible white paper (pdf) about participatory culture and media education.

We spent about two hours with them talking specifically about the skill of networking, which is defined as "the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information". As Project NML puts together its new website and works to integrate online activities that could be done to build specific skills, a lot of what they're considering is not only how to teach those skills, but also how to do so in a way that's accessible and interesting to teens.

[dmya] DMYA begins process on designing Digital Media workshop for teens 

This past Friday we had our monthly meeting of the youth advisory, during which we really delved into the process we started last month of creating a series of teen focused workshops on issues related to digital media. The driving question behind the development of these workshops: What do teens need to know about digital media usage that they do not?

Over the past half-dozen or so years, Global Kids staff, most of which work on the ground in New York City public high schools, have come across all sorts of new challenges in regards to our students' use of the internet, cell phones and games. From figuring out ways to circumvent blocks that schools put up for certain web sites to socializing in what often seemed like imprudent ways on sites like MySpace, it was clear that some discussion and education, for both staff and teens, needed to happen. And while the Online Leadership Program conducts educational programs that use digital media and often (though not always) have teens actively reflecting on many of the social issues surrounding digital media usage, this is only a fraction of the teens we work with on the ground.

[dmya] 07-08 Digital Media Youth Advisory off to a strong start 


We've officially begun our third year of the Global Kids Digital Media Youth Advisory, one of the more unique programs we offer in our Online Leadership Program. Whereas other GK programs aim to educate and activate young people, this program is actually looking for young people to inform and advise us and the MacArthur Foundation in regards to its $50 million Digital Media Initiative which it launched last year.

This year, we started on a number of projects. The first was having the DMYA help develop a survey that all Online Leadership Program students will take at the beginning and end of this year to help GK assess how their skills are changing as a result of being in an OLP program. See some pics below of DMYA teens testing out a draft which they later gave feedback on:

Jurrell evaluating his digital literacies
Jurrel evaluating his digital literacies