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Nichole Pinkard is the founder of Digital Youth Network and co-creator of Remix World, a social learning platform that connects youth’s learning opportunities in school, home and beyond. Read more »
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When today’s sixth graders graduate from college in 2020 and enter the workforce, what will it mean to be literate? What media will they use to communicate with colleagues, families and friends? While none of us knows the exact answer to this question, we do know that the reduced cost and size of technology, the increased availability of Internet connectivity, and the shrinking of the world through globalization will continue to increase the importance of raising children who can critically consume and produce media
I believe that by 2020, a student will routinely be judged not only by her ability to write a five-paragraph essay but her ability to represent her ideas via a five-minute podcast, five-minute movie and to progress in an educational game.
In essence, literate in 2020 will mean being multi-literate: the ability to critically consume and produce media such as print, video, sound and screen. Of course this idea is not new. Many technologists, educators and policy makers support it. However, the blueprint for getting there is still on the drafting table. If we are to prepare our sixth graders of today for the world they will face tomorrow, we must rethink our definitions of literacy and the ways in which we help our children reach that goal.
How can we do this? At Digital Youth Network (DYN), with funding from the MacArthur Foundation and Gates Foundation, we challenge kids to rethink the messages in the media they consume, own the messages in the media they create, and discover the power of expressing their knowledge and perspective across media. But what many people don’t realize is that to create a digital media product, students must use traditional literacy skills such as writing, reading and editing text. For example, a group of five students spent the summer creating a film with real actors that focused on the question of “Why do students, attending diverse schools, sit with their own race in classrooms?” The final 25-page script went through 20 rounds of edits that were fueled by students reading the script and debating each line to come to consensus.
How can this become the norm? We take an organic approach to developing multi-literate youth by developing programming that spans the spaces where kids spend their day: school, after-school and home. This involves:
How does this all sound to you?
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