Digital Media Labs: The YOUMedia Experiment

I thought that my inaugural post should be on something near and dear to my heart, and my library.  The Chicago Public Library’s YOUMedia Lab is now the model that libraries the world over will follow.  The MacArthur Foundation and the IMLS will be funding 30 more labs similar to YOUMedia.  This is what YOUMedia looks like:

The YOUMedia design is based on the research conducted by Mizuko Ito and others.  The research was published in Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. A version is also available for free from the MacArthur Foundation.  It is titled Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project. Either one of these resources is a must read for anyone interested in digital media labs or transliteracy.

The research indicates three zones that teens, and likely others, live in.

Hanging out is primarily participatory and social.  It is marked by the desire to use new media to fit-in and belong.

Messing around is a more intense use of new media and technology.  This zone is marked by the desire to explore our vast world, to interact an play with that world.

Geeking out is the final zone.  Geeking out is the most intense form of participation with and through technology.  Geeking out is where identity is formed.

Libraries are adapting to these zones.  Some of us are positioned for the 21st Century.  This is our future.

Comcast and One Economy’s Digital Connectors Program Teaches 21st Century Skills

One of my favorite quotes about the program

I was struck by a comment from one of our Comcast Digital Connectors during a graduation. He said he’d always been the student, but he loved Comcast Digital Connectors because the community service component of the program gave him the opportunity to be the teacher. The curriculum requires 56 hours of community outreach, offering ample opportunity to spread digital knowledge. This young man said he was able to teach how broadband can make people’s lives better. What a beautiful gift to give to his community. – Comcast Digital Connectors: Year One

Some background on the program

One Economy was created to help low-income communities understand the benefits of using broadband, and making it part of their lives (what’s known as “broadband adoption”). The Comcast Digital Connectors program, our partnership with One Economy, takes that mission a step further. We’ll make it possible for hundreds of young adults ages 14 to 21 to develop their skills in using computers, applications and the Internet, and then take what they’ve learned out into their communities to make a difference.

The Digital Connectors train two to three times per week at their local school, community center or affordable housing development to hone their technical skills. The curriculum also provides them with life skills that inspire educational advancement and workforce preparation. Each Connectors team has the opportunity to see where their hard work can lead, as they interact with Comcast employees from around the country who serve as role models by lending their leadership and expertise to local programs.

Digital Connectors commit to provide several hours a month volunteering at community-based organizations, senior centers, churches, local schools, and even reaching out to their own families and friends, to make everyone aware of how broadband can change their lives and helping them to get connected.

The program has been around since 2003

The national Digital Connectors program has had many accomplishments since its inception in 2003:

  • Over 5,000 youth engaged to date
  • 56,000+ hours of community service
  • 15,000 families trained by youth on the Beehive & software
  • Partnerships with national youth organizations, Broadband Opportunity Coalition, and media leaders like Comcast and CTIA
  • Programs in housing developments, community centers, libraries, park districts, rural and urban communities & schools
  • By 2011, 167 Connectors programs and 9, 352 hours service by end of FY11, with support of the federal Broadband Technology Program

Not only does the program teach teens the 21st Century literacy skills they need it requires them to pass them on to their communities. You can get involved by volunteering

Transliteracy and Participatory Librarianship

Check out this talk Buffy Hamilton created for an event involving the Hall County School District (a sister school district here in Georgia) and Dell, Inc.  on transliteracy and librarianship

Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010

Cathy Michael, who writes the Communications & Legal Studies blog, posts a link to the text of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. She quotes Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on the importance of the act:

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act is the most significant disability law in two decades.  The law’s provisions were endorsed in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.  They will bring communication laws into the 21st Century, providing people with disabilities access to new broadband technologies and promoting new opportunities for innovation.

More pertinent quotes from Chairman Genachowski can be found at the Communications & Legal Studies blog and the full text of the act can be found here.

Please Welcome Our Newest Contributor – Anthony Molaro.

I’m happy to announce the addition of our newest contributor Anthony Molaro. I discovered Anthony via his blog when he published the conclusion to a paper he work about transliteracy.

Anthony Molaro is the Head of Technical Services and Automation for the Messenger Public Library of North Aurora. Anthony is currently a PhD student at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science where he holds an MLIS.  Anthony is also an adjunct instructor and usually teaches cataloging and classification .   He is also an information activist, and advocates for the removal of barriers between people and information.  Anthony is one of the co-founders of the Chicago Deskset.

Anthony is currently scheduled to deliver the Keynote Address at the 2010 Arizona Library Association Conference.  He also writes and presents on a variety of topics.  His interests include technology and libraries, eBooks and eReaders, organization of information, digital media, the digital divide, information activism and social justice, and transliteracy.

You can also find on him:

Wired: 7 Essential Skills You Didn’t Learn in College

Although partly tongue in cheek, Wired’s article on the “7 Essential Skills You Didn’t Learn in College” provides some thought-provoking insights into the changing nature of information and interactions with technology. The description of the purpose of the site is not far afield from our discussions of transliteracy:

It’s the 21st century. Knowing how to read a novel, craft an essay, and derive the slope of a tangent isn’t enough anymore. You need to know how to swim through the data deluge, optimize your prose for Twitter, and expose statistics that lie. In the following pages, you’ll find our updated core curriculum, which fills in the gaps of your 20th-century education with the tools you need now. Call it the neoliberal arts: higher learning for highly evolved humans.

The seven skills and the brief descriptions from the site are:

  1. Statistical Literacy: Making sense of today’s data-driven world.
  2. Post-State Diplomacy: Power and politics, sans government.
  3. Remix Culture: Samples, mashups, and mixes.
  4. Applied Cognition: The neuroscience you need.
  5. Writing for New Forms: Self-expression in 140 characters.
  6. Waste Studies: Understanding end-to-end economics.
  7. Domestic Tech: How to use the world as your lab.

Slate Wants to Know – How Would You Modernize America’s Schoolrooms?

From the article (emphasis mine)

Very little about the American classroom has changed since Laura Ingalls sat in one more than a century ago. In her school, children sat in a rectangular room at rows of desks, a teacher up front. At most American schools, they still do.

Slate wants to change that, and we need your help. Today Slate launches a crowdsourcing project on the 21st-century classroom. In this “Hive,” we’re seeking to collect your best ideas for transforming the American school. We’re asking you to describe or even design the classroom for today, a fifth-grade classroom that takes advantage of all that we have learned since Laura Ingalls’ day about teaching, learning, and technology–and what you think we have yet to learn. We will publish all your ideas onSlate; your fellow readers will vote and comment on their favorites; expert judges will select the ideas they like best, and, in about a month, we will pick a winner. That top design may be built as a model classroom in a new charter school. We know from our previous Hive projects that Slate’s millions of readers—some of you architects or educators or designers, most of you amateurs—have amazing ideas, and we’re confident that you’ll come up with exciting new ways to reconceive the most important space for American children. Speaking of children: We encourage you to have them enter ideas too. See the bottom of the article for more details about how to submit your proposal. “

You can submit your ideas up until October 29th.

Your entries can be shovel-ready or fanciful. All entries must have a written description, and we strongly encourage submitting a sketch or a plan, so fellow readers can help visualize your ideas. Your proposal can emphasize the shape of the room, the furniture in it, the technology available, the materials—whatever you believe will make a real difference for students. You may submit actual designs you have proposed to school boards. (You may even submit an already built classroom you designed, though you must indicate in your submission that it has been built, so voters and judges can take that into account.) We ask that you send us the design for one room only, though that room may represent a comprehensive rethinking of school, which we encourage you to explain. You don’t have to consider budget; you should, however, consider how you think students should be taught and motivated. Effective school design, after all, “isn’t about making pretty,” says Ronald Bogle, the president of the American Architectural Foundation, although pretty is welcome. “It’s about the space performing very particular functions.”

Don’t have an idea? That’s ok, head over and vote on the ideas submitted by others.

You can vote and comment on the ideas below. In early November, our expert judges and readers will choose a dozen finalists, and we’ll select a winner in mid-November. Read our terms and conditions, then please enter your great idea below.

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