Digital media is increasingly present in kids' formal and informal educational settings, becoming as common as pencils and notebooks were to their parents. Yet in many American classrooms and homes, these high-tech tools are severely limited or forbidden. Teachers and parents wonder: What are students doing with these technologies?
Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century addresses this vital question, taking viewers to the frontlines of what is rapidly becoming an education revolution. The film, targeted at parents, teachers, and anyone concerned about education in America, explores how exceptional educators are increasingly using digital media and interactive practices to ignite their students' curiosity and ingenuity, help them become civically engaged, allow them to collaborate with peers worldwide, and empower them to direct their own learning.
Meet some of the country's most noted educational experts and thought leaders in the digital education realm. Nichole Pinkard, founder of the Chicago's Digital Youth Network, connects the dots between digital afterschool programs and their potential relationship to in-school practices. Henry Jenkins, from the Annenberg School for Communication discusses the Internet's role in sparking student political participation. Katie Salen, Professor at Parsons the New School of Design and Founder of the Institute of Play, illuminates how gaming helps kids more effectively explore systems and processes. And the University of California Irvine's Mimi Ito shows parents how new media practices are creating new avenues for kids to interact, collaborate, and learn.
Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century also crisscrosses the nation to highlight real-life examples of how digital media is exploding in educational environments. In Manhattan, the innovative Quest 2 Learn public school employs game design to help students explore both academic subjects and human interaction. A Wisconsin classroom uses mobile devices and place-based learning to model civic activity and teach history. Philadelphia's Franklin Institute sponsors The Science Leadership Academy, a public magnet school integrating digital practices into all curricula. Middle-school campers race around D.C.'s museums on a digital scavenger hunt implemented by the Smithsonian Institute. And students on Chicago's South Side gain media literacy, social networking skills, and self-efficacy in a decade-old pioneering multimedia program.
From classroom to library to museum to mall, students are claiming digital media as a means of connecting, communicating, creating, and learning. Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century explores this burgeoning phenomenon, interpreting its importance and providing a window into 21st-century education.